Why You Need to Segment Your Donors

In this episode of the Nonprofit Jenni Show podcast, I spoke with the head of Kindful's sales and marketing efforts to learn about the basics of donor segmentation, and how this segmentation can help nonprofits generate more donations. He also told me how segmentation can support volunteer efforts, corporate sponsorships, and overall engagement with your nonprofit.

Please note: I highly encourage you to listen to the You Need to be Segmenting Your Donors podcast episode before reading this blog post! My blog lists some great “action items” for you to take after you listen to the podcast, plus additional resources you can check out if you have further questions. However, my podcast guests give so much additional rich information which isn’t included in the article you’re about the read.

Bradley told me the main reasons nonprofits need to segment their supporters:

  • You don't want to confuse people by sending information to the wrong supporters. For example, if you're sending a "thank you" message to participants from your recent 5k, you don't want to ask everyone to become a donor if some of them already donate to your organization. The message may be confusing, and may also give the impression that you don't appreciate the donations they're already providing.
  • Segmenting helps you form a sales funnel to capture donor leads and encourage them to give more and more over time.
  • Segmenting allows you to send targeted messages to the donors who will care the most. For example, some donors may only be interested in your organization's end-of-year campaign. You don't want to fatigue these donors by sending them tons of messaging about programs they don't care about.
  • Your segmenting system can help you customize your "ask" to each donor. You can see their previous giving habits, types of email stories they like to open, and other information which helps you personalize the next donation ask you make.

Bradley recommends finding about five segments you can send messages to. If you create too many segments, you'll spend too much time creating separate messages. He also says that most messages don't have to be completely rewritten for each segment--you can generally alter one or two phrases or sentences to make the message appropriate for each recipient group.

Be sure you listen to the full podcast episode to hear Bradley's tips on using segmenting to increase your donations and sponsorships!