More than 30 percent of all charitable giving happens in December.
Is your end-of-year appeal as effective as it can be, given how many donors are willing to make gifts in the final month of the year?
If not, the best way to take an existing appeal to the next level is to focus on your donor segmentation strategy.
If you’ve worked in fundraising for more than a month, you know that not every donor is the same. Donor segmentation helps you create customized messages that resonate with specific groups of donors. In this blog, we will discuss how to segment donors and what segmentation strategies can help raise more money for your nonprofit end-of-year giving campaign.
Make Donor Segmentation Part of Your End-of-Year Fundraising Plan
Remember, donor segmentation is only one part of your end-of-year fundraising plan. To get the most out of your end-of-year fundraising campaign take an integrated approach that includes a well-thought-out timeline for communication to donors. This plan should include an effective appeal letter, end-of-year fundraising email, and social media posts that all mirror the theme of the season of giving.
Once you have planned out the timeline for all your communications (hint your appeal letter should arrive in mailboxes around Thanksgiving), it’s time to begin planning your donor segmentation strategy.
Donor Segmentation Examples That Work
Our team has tested donor segmentation strategies across tens of thousands of potential donors, and the two most impactful ways to segment your appeal is through your audience, but also your ask amounts
Segmenting your fundraising letter will help your appeal to resonate with each specific donor prospect, making it more likely that he or she will make a gift.
Segmenting your ask amounts will make sure that when your prospect chooses to give, he or she makes the largest gift possible, within their range of comfort, for some donors, that might be a gift of $25. For others, it might be $5,000.
There is a significant amount of math and psychology that goes into setting personalized ask amounts for each donor, and our team at AskGenius has created a useful tool to help you create the perfect ask strings. For example, the most effective ask strategy for a LYBUNT (Last Year but Unfortunately Not This) or SYBUNT (Some Year but Unfortunately Not This) is not the same as for a first-time donor or frequent giver.
Did you know that the biggest opportunity to increase giving is right after a donor makes his or her first gift to your organization? Our AskGenius tool takes all of these lessons into account and sets the optimal ask amount for every household on your mailing list – based on giving history, wealth research, demographics and behavioral science.
High-impact Donor Segments
When segmenting donors it is important to consider these groups:
- Major donors
- First-time donors
- Donors that consistently give at the end of the year
Once you have determined your donor segments consider how you can personalize the end-of-the-year appeal letter for each group of donors.
For those donors who have made a recent gift, reference what their gift made possible, and for long-time or major donors, include a call-out or Johnson box to thank them for being part of a giving society or for their number of years of giving. Donor segmentation assists not only with asking for support for your mission but also with stewardship of donors after a gift is made.
For LYBUNT or SYBUNT donors consider messaging that lets them know your organization misses them. Make the donor feel special and help them understand what they can make possible. Donors need to be the hero of the story in your nonprofit end-of-year fundraising appeal. A message with the theme of in the spirit of giving can help encourage generosity.
Segment your LYBUNTS and SYBUNTS even further for end-of-year appeals. Check to see which donors normally give at the end of the year and be sure to thank them for their prior giving as a subtle reminder in November.
Use Donor Segments to Personalize Your Pledge Card
Lastly, donor segmentation can be helpful in designing your fundraising pledge card.
In almost all cases, the best strategy is to use a pledge card with personalized ask amounts, arranged in ascending order from left to right.
The only exception to this rule comes when you are approaching major donors. For those donors who have made gifts of $10,000 or more to your organization, you want to present them with an open-ended pledge card instead of suggesting gift amounts. Our research shows that presenting a major donor with an ask string can actually depress giving. So present your major donors with a pledge card that allows them to write in a generous amount for their gift.
Additionally, if you are using a QR code or website link to direct donors to online giving, make sure you create a custom landing page for each donor segment instead of sending everyone to a one-size-fits all donation page.
All the information you need to create a donor segmentation strategy for your end of year giving campaign can be found in your donor database.
Run queries and create lists for each donor segment, such as major donors, LYBUNT, and SYBUNT, that will help your fundraising team create personalized letters, emails, pledge cards, and donation landing pages for each donor segment.
Donor segmentation can help raise more money from your end of year campaign, strengthen your relationship with existing donors, and even help reactivate giving from lybunt and sybunt donors. You know your cause is making an impact and the right donor segmentation strategy can help get the message in front of the right groups of donors.