Optimize Your Reporting and Raise More Money with Stable Segments

January 29, 2021  |  Grace Duginski

For nonprofit development staff, priority #1 is achieving your fundraising goals so that you can advance your mission. Optimizing the way you engage with your supporters can bring you closer to that goal. By analyzing the data you have from previous years, you can better understand audiences to create stable segments.

Define Your Stable Segments

Stable segments are defined criteria for different stages of a donor journey. They allow you to evaluate how donors respond to different asks.

It’s critical that you don’t change the definitions of your stable segments. For example, if you define a small donation as $20 at the beginning of the year, it must remain $20 throughout the year. Changing the definition of a small donation to $50 makes the segment no longer stable.

Here’s an overview for how to create stable segments and leverage them.

  • First start with common, broad segments: donors vs. non-donors, or your one-time vs. sustaining donors.
  • Then, identify more detailed segments that are specific to your organization’s work and audiences: for example, in-state vs. out-of-state donors, age group, gender, education.
  • Last, with your stable segments defined, you can begin to identify their engagement patterns.

Learn How Your Stable Segments are Engaging

Now that you’ve identified your segments, you can look at things like how each segment engaged with last year’s campaigns.

When running multi-touch campaigns, you might learn that one segment was much more motivated to donate by an early ask, whereas another segment was more active in response to later asks.

Target Based on Engagement

This year, you can target each segment more effectively by applying what you learned last year about how your segments like to be engaged.

As you generate more supporters and grow your list, use what you’ve learned from your stable segment to target people with the asks that you know will generate the highest revenue.

What can make your stable segments unstable?

If donor vs. non-donor is a stable segment, but your donor data is in multiple systems, you run the risk of putting someone in the wrong segment. That can not only hurt your fundraising efforts, it can hurt your relationship with that supporter.

Unifying your traditional and online fundraising in one single platform allows you to create truly stable segments. The outcome and impact is an optimized fundraising campaign that fosters meaningful relationships with supporters.