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Why Segmentation = Good Fundraising.

Pawns segmented in circles.

An apple isn’t an orange, and an orange isn’t a kiwi. Your first-time donor isn’t like your retained donor and your retained donor may not be like your major donor.


How are smaller nonprofits with limited capacity and resources supposed to communicate to donors in a personalized way? Have you tried segmentation?

Segmentation is good for fundraising and provides value.

  • Segmenting your donors allows you to better personalize your communications without having to send one off emails to each supporter (and who has time for that?). This leads to a better experience with your organization.

  • Segmenting allows you to create targeted “asks” when doing fundraising campaigns. For example, you can target your “ask” to donors who prefer to support specific program funding.

  • It’s more effective and easier to write compelling messages to specific segments rather than a blanket message to everyone.

Hopefully, you can see there's value in why segmentation = good fundraising.

How should you segment your constituents?

You can segment your constituents until the cows come home. There’s no one way to do this. A few suggestions below to consider:

  • Event or interest: For example, if you have donors that attend your 5K run every year then that would be a segmented group to market the run towards. Or, maybe you have donors that only give to your scholarship program. You would craft messaging about that program and send it to your segmented donors.

  • Size of Gift: This allows nonprofits to steward relationships more efficiently. There is a courtesy and expectation (to some degree) that larger donors receive more personalized communications. Donors that give smaller but consistent gifts are critical to the organization and can lead to larger donations with the right stewardship.

  • Demographics: This is wide open. You can segment by generation (Baby Boomers, Gen X, etc), gender, income level, involvement with your organization (volunteer, board member, staff, etc) and so many other ways. For example, research shows Millennials and Gen Z give and engage differently than older generations. They are more comfortable with crowd funding and tend to respond more readily to real-time digital campaigns. Their giving extends beyond donating to direct involvement in the work.

  • Donation Frequency:

    • Monthly donors show a strong connection to an organization. Communicating with this group regularly and spotlighting how they are making a sustainable difference can go a long way.

    • First-time donors: This is an important group to nurture and extend a generous welcome to your organization. A personal phone call to thank them and learn why they made their first gift to your nonprofit can go a long way.

    • Annual Donors: This group typically gives once a year during a targeted campaign or during the end-of-year. Sending them a friendly reminder to support your cause or a special “thank you” can help retain this group. Sending an annual impact report allows them to see how they are helping fulfill your mission.

    • Returning Donor: This group may give more infrequently but making sure they know their support is appreciated and sharing what’s happening within your nonprofit is key. Providing them with the opportunity to give monthly or more frequently can be helpful.

Donor segmentation is meant to create meaningful engagement with your constituents and be more efficient for your staff. Stay flexible. If you find that a segment does or doesn’t engage much then that’s important information for your organization. Adjust accordingly.

If Dandelion Consulting can help your nonprofit in segmenting your constituents, then let’s talk.


Be well. Do good.


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