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Donor Segmentation for maximum fundraising results

First things first: What is segmentation?

Segmentation is the act of dividing your donors into groups based on specific criteria. It is critical that you are able to segment your donors. A donor database with CRM (customer relationship management) technology will help you do this.
So how should you segment your donors?
There are hundreds of ways you can segment your donors: by zip code, gift size, age, and even (if you’ve kept very careful data) what day of the week they have made a donation.

Here are some of the most useful methods of donor segmentation.


Segment on how your donors are affiliated based on your mission, organizational structure and community involvement. Which programs and causes is this donor interested in? This will tell you what to focus on in your appeal letter to get the best results.


What type of entity is this donor? This type of segmentation is critical in creating a strategic plan and forecasting so you can plan for gifts coming from individuals, corporations, government and foundations.


How is your donor making their gift? You want to make sure you are offering your donors the opportunity to make a gift in the manner that is most convenient for them. Know when to use mail and when to use email or social media


Segmenting by the annual giving level will help you know what gift amount you should be suggesting to your donor. Make sure you are ethical and courteous but you must also be careful not to insult or disrespect the donor’s ability or capacity. Remember it is imperative not to ask for too much or too little


Another important segment to look for is giving status. An appeal to a new donor should have a different focus and message than one to a lapsed donors. Retained donors can be segmented too – ones who have increased gifts, decreased gifts, or stayed the same.

Final thoughts
Segmentation gives you creative, intentional ways to engage your donors. It helps you craft your message in a way that your donor will find appealing and personalized. And we all know that the more your donor feels cared for and connected, the more likely they are to make another donation for your cause!

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JoyOlson Successful Fundraiser of 22 years; Pet owner and lover; triathlete and sportswoman; Gardner; Love to dance; Music a must; Workaholic


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