Did you know that segmentation can increase your campaign’s donation revenue by up to 760%? Besides providing donors with more personalized communications, segmentation can have a significant positive impact on your fundraising results. When donors feel you’re invested in them as individuals, they’re more likely to contribute.

To effectively group your donors and send them relevant information, you need to take a strategic, data-driven approach to donor segmentation. Check out these tips to get started with a segmentation strategy that helps you engage and retain your supporters.

1. Define your segmentation criteria.

Start by determining how you’ll segment your donors. Doing so will provide focus to your data-driven marketing campaigns and help you achieve your organization’s specific goals. For instance, your segmentation approach and criteria may be different depending on whether you’re aiming to increase donation quantity, size, or frequency.

You can segment your donors by:

  • Giving history, such as by creating groups for one-time donors, mid-level donors, and major donors
  • Donor lifecycle stage, with groups for new donors, recurring donors, lapsed donors, and re-engaged donors
  • Engagement level, depending on how often they donate, interact with your content, or attend your events
  • Interests or passions as they relate to your mission, such as environmental conservation, education, or disaster relief
  • Demographics, like age, marital status, and location
  • Communication preferences, such as email, text message, or direct mail

Look through your database to assess the information you currently have on your donors to gauge whether it will be enough to craft highly targeted campaigns that address their interests and needs.

2. Conduct a data append.

If you’re missing crucial data that would help you segment your donors or reach them effectively, consider conducting a data append. Deep Sync defines a data append as “the process of supplementing the information within a brand’s internal database with additional data from external sources.”

Nonprofits commonly append data to add missing supporter contact information, narrow down their target audiences with more specific details, unlock new marketing strategies with contact information they haven’t collected in the past, and learn more about different donor segments so they can better target them.

When you work with a data provider, you can append a variety of different data types to your database, including:

  • Demographic data, such as age and gender
  • Contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses
  • Employment data, such as income and employer
  • Lifestyle information, such as which nonprofits donors have supported in the past

Let’s say you’d like to run a text-to-give campaign with different messaging for donors in different stages of the donor lifecycle. To reach as many supporters as possible, you may append phone numbers for new donors who haven’t submitted theirs yet.

3. Develop your segments.

With fully fleshed-out donor profiles in place, it’s time to create your segments. Your main tool for this process will be your database or constituent relationship management system (CRM), allowing you to create, store, and leverage your new donor segments.

To ensure the segmentation process goes smoothly, your database should be:

  • Secure. First and foremost, it’s important to protect your donors’ data privacy. Keep sensitive information secure by using a platform with data encryption, access controls, multi-factor authentication, and SOC 2 Type II compliance.
  • Easy to use. Your nonprofit staff members in charge of donor data management should be able to quickly and efficiently pull up the information they need and navigate your database.
  • Equipped with segmentation features. Lastly, you’ll need to make sure your database is built for segmentation. Explore your platform’s segmentation features, and familiarize your team with how to use them.

If you’re in the market for a new database, look for a solution that aligns with your organization’s size and donor base. Some platforms may only support a certain number of donor records or be more geared toward small, mid-sized, or large organizations. Ask potential providers who their typical customers are, and check customer testimonials to assess their similarities to your nonprofit.

4. Personalize your communications.

Now that you’ve created your segments, put them to use with personalized campaigns. Use your donor data to fuel communications that get to the heart of donors’ needs, wants, and interests.

Here’s what this may look like for different types of campaigns:

  • Fundraising appeals. Tailor your fundraising appeals based on donors’ past giving history and capacity. For example, you may provide different suggested donation amounts for small, mid-level, and major donors. Or, take it a step further and base your suggestions on donors’ individual donation histories. Either way, these customized ask amounts increase the chances that donors will contribute to your campaign because of their specificity and alignment with their giving capacities.
  • Thank-you emails. Email is one of the most popular digital marketing channels, so it’s important to cut through donors’ cluttered inboxes with thoughtful, personalized thank-you messages. Reference donors’ specific donation amounts and how these contributions will help your nonprofit accomplish its mission. You may also invite donors to participate in upcoming engagement opportunities based on their interests.
  • Event invitations. By syncing your data with your event registration software, you can send individualized event invitations to your donors. For instance, you may only send invitations for in-person events to donors in your nonprofit’s local area. Alternatively, you may send separate messages to returning and potential first-time attendees that acknowledge their past event attendance or build excitement for attending their first event held by your organization.
  • Impact updates. Donors want to know that you’re using their hard-earned funds appropriately. If you know a donor’s specific interest areas or the campaign they contributed to, send them relevant impact updates that let them know you’re putting their gifts to good use.

No matter which type of campaign you’re running, personalizing your messaging shows that you value donors as individuals and will help you build stronger relationships with them.

5. Monitor donor engagement.

Track the success of your segmentation efforts by monitoring donor engagement key performance indicators (KPIs). Double the Donation’s nonprofit data collection guide recommends assessing the following metrics:

  • Donor retention rate
  • Campaign conversions
  • Event attendance
  • Fundraising totals
  • Email open and click rates

Additionally, you can survey donors directly to gather their feedback on your segmentation strategy. You may ask questions such as:

  • What are your thoughts on our most recent campaign?
  • If you could rate our most recent campaign on a scale of 1-10, what would you rate it and why?
  • Did you feel that this campaign spoke to your needs and interests as they relate to our organization? Why or why not?
  • Did this campaign engage you or inspire you to take action? Why or why not?
  • Is there anything we could do better to improve future campaigns?

Set aside time to sit down with your team and analyze donors’ survey responses. Then, implement any reasonable recommendations that will help you craft more successful segmented campaigns in the future.

Segmentation will transform your fundraising and marketing efforts, allowing you to provide a more personalized, engaging experience for donors. Remember to continuously update your database as you collect donor insights to improve your segments as you go.