4 Good Donor Segmentation Methods for Nonprofits


As a nonprofit skilled, you understand how necessary it’s to domesticate deep and significant relationships together with your supporters. It’s much more necessary to work towards these relationships throughout troublesome instances. 

To successfully construct these relationships, instances of social and financial chaos current the right alternative for rising your communications with donors. 

Growing communication, particularly private communication, will present your donors that you simply genuinely care about their connections to your trigger. Ask them how they’re doing. Present them with updates on the way you’re preserving employees, volunteers, and constituents protected. And, above all, don’t cease fundraising. Even with the present financial local weather, donors are astoundingly beneficiant and plenty of will select to provide if you happen to give them the prospect. 

However how will you take advantage of your communication technique? It’s easy: create good donor segments to succeed in out to your supporters. 

What’s segmentation and why does it matter?

Chances are high you most likely already leverage donor segmentation. After an occasion (or digital occasion), you most likely e mail your attendees to say thanks. Or, you might have a welcome e mail sequence to your latest supporters. However simply to verify we’re all on the identical web page, let’s begin from the start by defining segmentation.

Donor segmentation is if you separate supporters into significant teams primarily based on commonalities. This lets you attain out to teams of individuals with customized messages which can be focused towards their pursuits. 

It’s an environment friendly methodology of personalizing your outreach to your nonprofit’s supporters. With the assistance of your nonprofit’s CRM software program, you’ll use the information you’ve saved to create helpful segments that can assist with these communications methods. Total, this helps you develop stronger connections with supporters with the intention to domesticate lasting relationships. 

On this article, we’ll go over a number of the finest donor segmentation methods your nonprofit can use to construct these relationships. The segments we’ll talk about embody: 

  1. Giving Degree
  2. Recency and Frequency 
  3. Communication Platforms
  4. Contribution Kind

Able to dive deeper into these helpful donor segments? Let’s get began. 


1. Phase donors by giving stage. 

Chances are high, the subjects you talk about together with your main donors are fairly totally different from these you discuss together with your low-level donors. Subsequently, sorting donors by giving stage is the place we advocate starting together with your segmentation technique. Remember that if you create these segments, your communications with these audiences will drastically differ from each other.

To completely perceive how your messaging ought to range, let’s discover the segments used for 3 fundamental giving ranges:

  • Small-scale donors. This shall be your largest section. As you attain out to this viewers, your aim will doubtless be to persuade them to contribute once more sooner or later and take into account giving extra. They’ll be invited to organization-wide occasions and will even be requested to volunteer. That is additionally the start line for a lot of mid-tier and main donors, so conduct prospect analysis to find out who is likely to be candidate for larger giving ranges sooner or later. 
  • Mid-tier donors. Many nonprofits have a nasty behavior of neglecting their mid-tier donors. Nevertheless, these supporters have the potential to contribute chunk of your donation income, 40%-50% in keeping with NonProfit PRO. Plus, they’re those who’re most definitely to show into main donors sooner or later. Be sure you section this group so that you simply successfully steward them and categorical the appreciation they deserve.
  • Main donors. Your main donors make up the vast majority of your donation income. It’s additionally your smallest group of supporters. Because of this you’ve gotten the chance to hyper-personalize outreach to this viewers. Be sure you section this viewers and attain out to ask for suggestions in regards to the group and invite them to particular appreciation occasions. 

Every of those teams could also be outlined otherwise by each nonprofit, relying on their measurement and capability. However, as you’ll be able to see, accumulating information about your donors and segmenting them by your outlined giving stage will assist your nonprofit make strategic choices that can positively impression your group’s fundraising targets. It’s all about speaking effectively to satisfy every donor’s finest pursuits, saving your advertising workforce’s time, and successfully reaching out in keeping with your group’s strategic plan.

2. Phase by recency and frequency of giving. 

One other section of supporters that your nonprofit might take into account creating is expounded to their recency and frequency of their donations. This measurement is necessary for figuring out the engagement of your donors. 

In case your donors are totally engaged in your group’s work, they’re a lot extra doubtless to provide extra typically and extra steadily. That is an indicator of a sturdy relationship between the donor and your nonprofit. Extra frequent giving results in the next lifetime donor worth to your nonprofit in addition to larger fundraising income. Additional, latest giving exhibits that the supporter is at peak engagement together with your nonprofit. 

Among the segments it’s possible you’ll take into account throughout the class of “recency and frequency” embody: 

  • Recurring donors. Donors who join your recurring donation program are extremely helpful to your nonprofit as a result of they provide a constant income over time. Phase these supporters so that you could attain out with different engagement alternatives equivalent to occasion registrations and volunteer alternatives. 
  • Lapsed donors. Donors who’ve lapsed or are at risk of lapsing are those that appear to be shedding their engagement together with your group. Be sure you reconnect with these supporters, explaining that you simply worth their help and invite them to have interaction or contribute once more. 
  • New donors. Throughout the first month {that a} new donor offers to your group for the primary time, you must remember to attain out personally to thank them and invite them to turn into concerned additional together with your nonprofit’s actions. Do that whereas the primary reward remains to be contemporary of their minds to catch their consideration early and set up a powerful basis for an enduring relationship.

These segments are particularly necessary to your nonprofit’s engagement and stewardship methods. Briefly, this supplies an summary of the place your supporters are within the relationship-building course of together with your nonprofit. 

3. Phase supporters by communication platform. 

In your nonprofit to totally have interaction your supporters, you’ll want to attain out to them utilizing the platforms they’re most definitely to reply to. Because of this one efficient segmentation technique is to group supporters by most popular communication platform. 

Remember that this doesn’t imply that you must solely attain out utilizing supporters’ most popular platforms. Nevertheless, it does present what the major outreach channel needs to be for supporters. This method will match nicely into your multi-channel fundraising technique

There are two major methods you’ll be able to resolve what communication platform your supporters desire. First, you’ll be able to dig in your CRM to resolve what they’ve responded positively to previously. Second, you’ll be able to merely ask them in a survey. 

When you think about the platforms by which you’re segmenting supporters, remember to take into account the next:

  • E mail. E mail is likely one of the most helpful instruments for nonprofit communication and fundraising. In accordance with DNL OmniMedia’s e mail advertising information, e mail was accountable for 28% of on-line fundraising in 2017. Whereas this can be a nice communication device, a few of your supporters might desire you employ extra customized strategies of communication. 
  • Cellphone name. Cellphone calls are an extremely private method of speaking together with your supporters. It permits for actual one-on-one dialog that will embody fundraising, group suggestions, and extra. Ensure that if you name supporters, you’ve gotten a really particular name to motion and function for the dialog. For instance, it’s possible you’ll ask your supporters to take part in your upcoming advocacy marketing campaign.
  • Textual content message. Textual content messages have an common open fee of 98%. This makes it a really efficient platform for supporters preferring its use. Nevertheless, not everybody needs their telephone to explode with textual content messages from firms and organizations. Due to this, you’ll wish to make sure that you know what supporters desire this platform earlier than utilizing it closely in your outreach technique. 
  • Social media. Lots of your supporters, particularly youthful supporters, doubtless discover the vast majority of your group’s information by way of social media platforms. Those that reply positively to this communication platform will doubtless be those who you wish to acknowledge on these platforms for numerous causes (peer-to-peer campaigns, notable donations, and extra). They’ll be particularly flattered by the reference. 
  • Junk mail. Junk mail isn’t lifeless! Lots of your supporters might desire utilizing this platform for group updates and for fundraising. Nevertheless, unsolicited mail might get costly attributable to printing prices and stamps. By segmenting the supporters preferring this platform, it can save you cash by limiting the unsolicited mail you ship.

As we talked about earlier than, make certain to not solely talk with supporters by way of their favourite communication platform. Preserve it in thoughts as part of your nonprofit’s multi-channel fundraising technique. CharityEngine’s multi-channel fundraising information explains that this technique is used to “attain numerous segments of supporters, ideally, at a number of contact factors.” 

4. Phase supporters by contribution kind. 

Particularly within the age of COVID-19, donors could also be searching for other ways to get entangled together with your group. The financial downturn has made it troublesome for a lot of supporters to provide philanthropically. Nevertheless, they could nonetheless wish to help your group in different methods. 

Retaining observe of the opposite methods your supporters desire to contribute to your group can assist you attain out to the perfect audiences to maintain them engaged throughout this troublesome time. It could possibly information the interactions you’ve gotten with supporters and, particularly, the decision to motion you embody in your advertising supplies. 

Think about creating the next segments primarily based on the kind of contributions supporters have interaction with: 

  • Occasion attendees. Attendees out of your previous occasions usually tend to be those to take part in future ones. Throughout these robust instances, supporters might miss attending your occasions. Subsequently, it’s an incredible alternative to ask previous attendees to a digital occasion! This information supplies superior digital occasion concepts if you happen to’re caught within the strategy planning stage. Phase your occasion attendees in order that you realize who to succeed in out to with particular invites to your digital occasions this 12 months. 
  • Advocates. Advocates contribute to your mission by reaching out to their representatives to make them conscious of your nonprofit’s mission and ask them to help your trigger in laws. Create a section of advocates in your donor database so that you could attain out to them throughout your subsequent advocacy occasion or to thank them for his or her previous help as new laws is handed.
  • Volunteers. Volunteers contribute time slightly than cash. Whereas lots of your volunteering alternatives could also be restricted attributable to social distancing tips, you’ve gotten a chance to get artistic and provide you with digital volunteer alternatives equivalent to workplace transcriptions or social media advertising. Attain out to this section of supporters to ask them to have interaction with this new program.

Whereas many supporters could also be restricted of their monetary functionality of contributing to your nonprofit, do not forget that cash isn’t the one method that they’ll present their help! By segmenting donors by their different most popular contribution sorts, you’ll be able to present a variety of alternatives for them to get entangled so that you could proceed nurturing relationships.

Plus, by creating these segments, your nonprofit has the chance to indicate supporters that any and all contributions are necessary and valued by your nonprofit. Thank them for contributing their time and vitality simply as you’d thank them for donations.


Donor segmentation is a key side of constructing relationships together with your nonprofit’s supporters. By incorporating good segmentation methods, your group can higher have interaction supporters and develop these relationships additional.


Visitor publish courtesy of Leigh Kessler, CharityEngine

Leigh Kessler is VP of Advertising and marketing and Communications at donor administration software program platform CharityEngine and a frequent speaker on branding, fundraising, information and know-how.  He’s a former nationally touring headline comic and has appeared on quite a few TV exhibits together with VH1’s “Greatest Week Ever”, CNN’s “Showbiz Tonight”, Discovery Channel & Sirius Radio.​ He has overseen and knowledgeable analysis and branding methods for a number of the most well-known manufacturers in America. 


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