Segmentation for Year-End Digital Fundraising Success
End-of-year is one of the most critical times for fundraising teams to send the right messages, in the right channels, to the right donors — and that includes in your digital fundraising. You’ve got big goals, but you wouldn’t send the same exact ask to every supporter. Segmenting your donors ensures everyone receives the right digital ask for them, which helps you build long-term relationships with your supporters. Here’s how Rob Winikates, EveryAction’s VP of Digital, recommends approaching your different segments for successful digital fundraising.
Q: How should I segment my donors for efficient, successful digital fundraising at year-end?
A: You really want to think about the donation histories of your email subscribers.
So, if you’re thinking about making the right ask of different supporters at end-of-year, some of the segmentation criteria I like to think about for digital fundraising are:
- Who donated to you as a one-time donor this year?
- Maybe you want to treat your recurring donors a little differently.
- How about folks that were donors last year, but unfortunately not this year (LYBUNTY)?
- And then lastly, this is going to be a large part of your email audience: think about what might convince somebody who’s a non-donor to finally make their first gift.
Those supporter segments are prime targets for you to try to activate, retain, or reactivate with digital fundraising, and here’s why: whether donors are early in their supporter journey with your organization (like a non-donor, or a one-time or LYBUNTY donor,) or they’ve been giving to you on a regular basis (like a monthly sustainer,) year-end is an important time for donor relationship-building.
As we’ve said before, we know that in the past, many nonprofit donors traveled a very linear donor journey that organizations know as the “ladder of engagement.” Donors would start with one gift, gradually increase their generosity through upgrades, and then hopefully make a legacy or estate gift.
That journey looks very different today — donors now tend to cut nonlinear, multidirectional supporter paths with nonprofit organizations. The metaphor changes from a ladder of engagement to what we now call a “jungle gym of engagement,” because donors have many options: they can go forward, they can go laterally, they can spend time in one segment for a while. For most fundraisers, your goal is to help your donors along their preferred paths, which also helps you to develop stronger relationships with them.
The key to developing those stronger relationships with each of your donor segments is to send them the right messages, with the right creative, making the right monetary ask, at the right time, including in your end-of-year digital fundraising. If you make an ask of your donors that’s way too big or way too small, you run the risk of damaging the relationship — and you also miss a valuable opportunity to build their support for your organization. Communicating with each donor in an appropriate way for the segment they’re in every time means you can connect on a deeper level, not just at year-end, but for years to come.