5 Ways to Use Donor Data to Segment your Email List

No two donors are the same.

Whether they live in different areas, donate different amounts at different times, or give in different ways, your donors are not identical. It may be easy to think of them as a mass group, but they’re individuals!

One of the best ways to personalize your correspondence to donors is to segment your existing donor data. By grouping donors into similar groups, you can receive better responses and more donations down the line.

So next time you draft an email, make sure you’re asking yourself these five questions before you hit send!

Top five ways your nonprofit can use donor data to segment your email lists:

To start, you’ll need to get the most valuable donor data you can to help you segment your donors. Do so by performing a prospect screening. Prospect research reveals a goldmine of information about donors, including simple data like names and home addresses to more complex information such as past giving histories and business affiliations.

1. New versus regular donors

You wouldn’t talk to an acquaintance the same way you would converse with an old pal. The same idea is behind segmenting your donor emails into new versus regular donors.

New donors who aren’t very familiar with your organization will need more information about what your mission and overarching goals are, while regular donors might prefer more detailed information about the specific projects that their past donations have helped fund.

When you use prospect research to determine which of your donors are new and which ones have been contributing to your organization regularly, you can personalize your emails accordingly.

2. Annual giving level

Donors who give more money throughout the year aren’t necessarily more important than donors who only give ten dollars every three months.

However, annual giving level should be considered when sending out emails to donors. Donors who contribute more money more often should receive thoughtful emails that make them want to continue to give large donations.

Donors who make smaller donations less frequently should still receive updates about your organization, but you should include information about your nonprofit that might encourage further giving. You might just turn a small gift donor into a major gift contributor.

3. Potential major gift donors

Prospect research can reveal donors’ past giving patterns to your organization, but you can also discover other organizations or political campaigns that have benefited from your donors’ generosity.

When you know that some of your donors regularly donate to organizations and causes similar to yours, you can reach out to them to encourage them to become major gift donors to your nonprofit.

4. Potential matching gift donors

You might be able to double the donations you’re receiving by reaching out to donors whose employers offer matching gift programs. They are donations that companies make after an employee has made a contribution and submitted a request to the HR department.  

Prospect research won’t hand these donors to you on a silver platter. But with a little effort, you can discover which of your donors work for companies that will match their donations. That information can help you include information about matching gifts in your emails to donors to encourage them to look into maximizing their donations.

5. Fundraising event attendees

Whenever your nonprofit plans a fundraising event, you have to create a guest list. While it would be nice to invite all of your donors, that likely isn’t feasible. When emailing out information about your next fundraiser, you’ll want to make sure that you’re communicating with the donors that will help you raise the most amount of money at your event.

Fundraising events are a great way for your nonprofit to raise more money and connect with existing and potential major gift donors. But it’s imperative that your nonprofit communicates with your annual and major gift donors via email before the event so that they know as much as they can about the fundraiser.

When donors know the details of upcoming fundraising events, they are in a better position to talk to their friends, family members, and colleagues about the event. Well-informed donors might even bring your nonprofit new supporters!

Check out these three ways that emails can help your fundraising efforts in general.

Before you hit send on that email campaign, ask yourself if all of your donors should be receiving the same message. They’re all different and each individual has a unique relationship with your organization. Keep that in mind next time you draft an email to your donors, and consider segmenting them into different groups to effectively communicate with each of them.

John Haydon