Segmenting Your Year-End Appeal Audience
August 6, 2021
The objective of all marketing communications is to connect with your audience in a way that feels personal and relevant. That connection is especially important when approaching nonprofit donors with a fundraising appeal.
Separating donors into groups based on specific criteria will help you create different versions of your core message. That way, each donor receives an appeal that connects with them personally and is relevant to their giving patterns.
Criteria for Segmenting Donors
When segmenting an audience for general marketing communications, we typically use demographic criteria such as age, gender and income.
To segment your donor audience for a year-end appeal, you may want to start with giving criteria, like recency/frequency, gift amount and donor type. Then, you can break down those groups further by age and gender, if it makes sense to do so.
Segment by Average Gift Size
Look at your year-end campaign results from the previous three years. What’s the average lowest gift amount, the average median gift amount and the average highest gift amount? Use those numbers to build a range for this year’s audience.
Let’s say the average low gift is $100, the average median gift is $1,500 and the average high gift is $5,000. Your lists could break down by average gift size like this.
- Below $100
- $100 – $500
- $501 – $1,500
- $1,501 – $3,000
- $3,001 – $5,000
- Over $5,000
Segment by Donor Type
Nonprofit organizations rely on their supporters for more than just financial support. Don’t forget to include your in-kind donors in your year-end appeal audience. Your donor type segments might include:
- Individual Financial Supporters
- Corporate Entities
- Foundation Funds
- In-Kind Service Providers (construction, maintenance, technical products, etc.)
- In-Kind Material Donors (clothes, food, personal care supplies, etc.)
- Event Attendees
Segment by Giving History
Segmenting your donors by the date of their last gift will help you tailor your message more effectively. Instead of thanking donors who haven’t given in years, you can tell them about your big plans for the future and invite them to be a part of the excitement. For donors who’ve recently submitted their big annual gifts, you might focus your message on gratitude, how you’ll use the funding and remind them that many companies offer gift matching programs. Your giving history segments could be:
- Ultra-Recent (previous three months)
- Current Year
- Previous Year (last gift date in 2020)
- Recent Lapsed 2017-2019 (last gift date in this range)
- Ultra-Lapsed (more than 5 years since last gift)
Once you’ve mapped your donor segments, you can tailor your core appeal message to each audience and determine how you’ll deliver it.