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10 Ways To Segment Your Donors

10 Ways To Segment Your Donors

Donor segmentation is an effective fundraising strategy that allows you to communicate more effectively with your donors by tailoring your communications to smaller groups. How you choose to segment your donors will depend on your donor base, organization needs, and fundraising goals. Donor segmentation also relies on having complete, accurate, and up-to-date information about your donors, which you can get in part from donor surveys. Software solutions and consultancy services such as the DonorWERX suite make the segmentation process easier and more useful.

Donor Segmentation: The 10 Best Ways

Below are 10 of the possible ways you might segment your donors.

segment your donors

The Basics

  • Gift Size: If you know the size of the donor’s gift, you can know how much to ask for when making an appeal for the next gift. Nonprofits typically divide donors into three tiers of giving: general, mid-level, and major gifts. Ideally, you can move donors to progressively higher levels of giving.
  • How They Were Acquired: Knowing where your donors came from helps you tailor your message and conduct donor outreach. Common acquisition sources include: volunteering, your website, social media, direct mail campaigns, referrals, and in-person solicitations.
  • Recurring Giver or First-Time Donor: First-time donors might receive a welcome packet of materials and require additional support to make their next gift. Your messaging to recurring givers will be different than with first-time givers.
  • Age: Different fundraising techniques are more likely to appeal to different generations. Knowing a demographic such as age is helpful when customizing communications and engagement opportunities geared toward targeting different age groups. For example, younger generations are much more likely to prefer social media and text message communications.

Going In-Depth

  • Communication Preferences: Segment your donors based on their communication preferences to make sure that you are reaching them in a way they are comfortable with. Preferred communication methods include: email, postal mail, telephone, texting, online chat or messaging, and in person.
  • Interests: In the context of segmentation, “interests” refers to your donors’ interests as they relate to involvement with your organization. To better connect donors with their desired interests, find out whether they are interested in: volunteer opportunities, networking with other donors, learning more about various causes, or certain aspects of your mission (such as alleviating hunger, or outreaching to the community).
  • Engagement Level: Segment your donors according to their level of engagement with your organization. This helps you target messaging and outreach efforts designed to help them progress up the donor engagement ladder. Do they engage via social media? Volunteer? Attend events?
  • Demographics: Demographic data such as household income, sex, and location can be useful for targeting your messages and framing your asks, since demographics influence whether donors will give and affect what motivates their giving. Because this data, along with age, tends to be more readily available with less effort, demographic categories commonly are used for segmentation.

More Considerations

  • Donation Frequency: To make sure you send the right messages at the right times, note your donors’ donation frequency. Some donors consider giving only once a year, while others will donate whenever you ask. You would be wasting your time and potentially alienating donors by sending fundraising appeals every month to a donor interested only in annual donations.
  • Other: You can segment your donors according to any category or characteristic that serves your fundraising or communication goals, as long as you have the data available. A possible segment could be their preferred method of donating. Software such as DonorWERX expands your donation options to online giving, texting, and kiosks.

Go Beyond Donor Segmentation

However you segment your donors should be meaningful. This means the segments not only share common characteristics, but these shared characteristics predict certain outcomes. This will help you target more effectively. Whatever segments are selected require you have accurate, accessible data. This must be true about the donors and the results of your fundraising efforts for each segment. Useful segmentation helps you better engage your donors and strengthen their relationship to your organization. This in turn leads to improved fundraising efforts.

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