Five End-of-year Segmentation Strategies

End-of-year Segmentation Possibilities

This week, I have been considering the importance of end-of-year segmentation for the next 2+ months of Daily Table solicitations. I don’t mean personalization which should always be used to highlight previous giving and specific asks. I mean separating out different segments of a nonprofit’s donors and prospects to send tailored letters.

How many ways should an organization segment their end-of-year campaign? Is segmentation just for letters? Emails? Social Media? What is the time trade-off in this all important and extremely busy season? Which way should I go?

I thought I would share the potential end-of-year segmentation strategies I am considering. Possibilities include:

  1. At the minimum, use the CRM to separate current, recurring, lapsed and recent donors. This is a no brainer and will only require minimal changes to the letter. It is a bit more work than sending the same letter to everyone, but well worth the effort.
  2. Should my emails have the same or alternate end-of-year segmentation strategies as my snail mail? Segmenting is easy in email if your CRM is set up well. And probably even if it’s not set up that well. You can take out previous donors prior to each email. You can add special incentives or matches on the fly. You can encourage one group over another – i.e., if you realize that your LYBUNTs are not responding at the same rate as in previous years, you can alter the message for the rest of the campaign. NOTE: This means you must build evaluation and campaign restructuring into your timeline. Marketing and approvals can take hours or days. And do you want a few days delay in December?
  3. Can you segment social media? Yes. Cross posts between Facebook and Instagram or LinkedIn and Twitter are easy enough with a few clicks. But should you just do it automatically? While you can’t send different messages to different Friends on Facebook without groups, you can consider the specific audience on each social media platform as a different segment. If your audience is younger on Instagram – what would they like to hear vs the parents and grandparents on Facebook? What do you want to say to the business-focused crowd on LinkedIn? Would additional stats help? In other words if you are going to use social media – use it well.
  4.  Pull donors who have recently given during November and send them an additional thank you instead of an additional solicitation. This may seem counterintuitive when we are all focused on asking donors and prospects multiple times in our end-of-year campaigns. But development is a long game. We need funds for this year, but we never want to compromise donations for next year (see #5, below). Ask yourself whether a solicitation within weeks of a donation is more likely to get you another gift or an annoyed donor. Note: If you do decide to use this strategy for segmentation, let them know that they are receiving the thank you instead of the solicitation. And in the P.S. offer a way they can donate if they want to give again.  
  5. Add a cumulative giving to my end-of-year segmentation. If a donor has given for 5, 10 or 20 years – at any level – an organization can list their lifetime giving in communications. Lifetime giving is a key measurement of donor value. Someone who gives $50 for 5 years can be worth more than a $250 donor. Of course, Daily Table hasn’t been around 10 years. But that doesn’t mean cumulative giving shouldn’t be considered for the loyal supporters who helped get us off the ground and continue to give.

Want to look at it by type of donor or prospect? Check out our previous article on 17 Ways to Segment Lists For A Year-End Appeal

If you have additional strategies that you have used successfully (or you are considering this year) let me know. I am always open to learning from the MJA community.