How to Segment Your Donors for Year-End Fundraising Success

Hi! Here’s Year-End Fundraising Strategy #3 for the third of October.

Looks like I just may be able to  make my goal of 31 days – 31 blog posts on year-end strategies.

Just as a preview, here are some of the topics I’ll discuss in October to help you reach your year-end fundraising goals:

  • how to talk about the economy so it doesn’t backfire;
  • how to prep your donors for the ask;
  • 15 parts of the right appeal letter;
  • a followup strategy that will double your results
  • how to use social media to support/enhance your year-end fundraising;
  • creative ways to ask and receive;
  • lots of roles for board members that will help you raise more money
  • last minute strategies for the end of December;
  • how to make sure your face-to-face asks are successful.

Today, however, we are still in planning mode.

iStock_000001923167XSmallWe have about 10 weeks to zoom in on our year-end fundraising goal and there’s no time to waste.   Let’s start with segmenting your appeal list.

You’ll want to plan different appeals to different sections of donors.

The whole idea of segmenting is to help you personalize your appeal to your dear, wonderful donors.

You divide your donor list into groups with similar characteristics. This allows you to create a more customized appeal that reflects the personality profile of that group of donors.

What are the ways you might want to segment your list?

1.  Former capital campaign donors

Since these folks are major gift donors (and prospects for future major gifts), they should receive a very personal set of communications that acknowledge their partnership with your cause.  You actually might even want to individualize EACH letter if these are really important people.

2. Former board members and advisory board members.

Former board members can’t stand to receive mass appeals. It makes them feel estranged from an organization they still feel very much a part of.  Since this group also contains former, current and future major gift donors, they also should get very special, customized appeals.

3.  Other major donors.

Peel off this group from the general appeal and place them in the “custom appeal” list with our friends above.  Other major donors might include event sponsors and hosts, corporate donors who have not yet given this year, smaller foundations and family foundations, individuals who are giving at least $1k a year, and any religious or civic clubs or organizations who are involved with your cause.

The majority of your annual giving revenue is probably coming from these wonderful people listed above.  Be absolutely sure that you pay enough attention to your major donors during the busy year-end fundraising season.

4. Donors who are giving between $100 and $1000.

This group gets our second tier level appeals. Their communications are not quite as customized as the above groups, but they still get a lot of extra attention.

5.  All other donors who gave last year.

This year, more than ever before, you want to BE SURE you don’t lose any current donors. Once they slip away, it may be hard to get them back.  Do whatever it takes to love them a lot and keep them on your bandwagon.

6.  Lapsed donors.

These unfortunate lapsed folks get a minimal amount of attention compared to all our donors discussed earlier.  Yet don’t ever, ever forget these lapsed donors. It could be that someone meant to write that check to you last year but simply forgot. They are still very much a devoted supporter. 

There’s hidden gold here inside your lapsed donor list.

Sometimes phone calls really work well with this group. By giving them a personal call, you are singling them out for individual attention.  That could be just the key to getting them back on board as a donor.

There are many other ways you may want to segment your donors.

The format I have presented above is just one way you can slice and dice your donor base. I’m sure you can figure out interesting ways to appeal to different types of your own donors.

But above all, remember that one size does NOT fit all when it comes to your year-end appeals.

Tomorrow I”ll start discussing the different ways we can “touch” our donors during this appeal season: email, phone, face to face, and social media.

Previous posts on 09 Year End Fundraising Strategies: