Segmentation Secrets to Boost Revenue on Giving Tuesday and at Year-End
November and December are prime months for philanthropy, with 31% of donations occurring in December alone. But if you aren’t prepared to ride the coming wave of support, you could be leaving dollars behind. One of the best strategies to make the most of the giving season is to develop versioned messages for various donor groups. Given that donors have been shown to give 10% to 25% more when messages are personalized, you really can’t ignore the power of customized messages.
The following segmentation best practices are ones any fundraiser can apply to your Giving Tuesday and year-end campaigns. The key lies in augmenting your existing donor and constituent files with third-party data. These insights paint a fuller picture of who your donors are, where else they are giving, and their predicted discretionary spending — plus a wealth of additional details that allow you to create detailed personal messages at scale.
Equipped with augmented donor data, your nonprofit can apply these insights to inform your Giving Tuesday and year-end segmentation. I've outlined six segments I recommend leveraging in your upcoming campaigns, as well as specific messages you can send to each one to maximize year-end giving.
1. Giving Tuesday Social Media Ambassadors
Because Giving Tuesday takes place primarily on social platforms, you’ll want to equip your best social media influencers from your file with messages around how they can drive momentum for your organization. Your list can include both donors and potential donors with a solid following and proven rallying skills.
But these aren’t the people you only ask to give. These are the people you invite to be part of your sharing team on Nov. 30. Get them to join you in spreading the word to their circles. You’ll want to provide everything they need in a promo kit — graphics, base copy for the posts, hashtags, URLs, etc. Giving Tuesday will be an exciting, fun experience and a win for growing your donor file by engaging voices beyond your own.
Every nonprofit’s donor file contains a group of potential donors. These are volunteers, social contacts, friends and colleagues connected to your cause but have not yet invested. Year-end is a great time to acknowledge their connection and directly ask them to take that next step to give. Insights from your CRM and third-party data allow you to see which non-donors have the capacity, the giving history elsewhere, and the affinity because they’re giving to similar causes. Those are the people you should go and have a direct ask for.
3. Upgrade Candidates
Looking at your donor data can also reveal patterns of those who are prime candidates to give more at year-end or even increase their annual giving each year. Upgrading can be anything from growing a $10-a-month gift to a $20-a-month gift. Small increases in each donor gift add up. Many donors at this level are more than willing to increase their gift amount, but they need you to invite them to do so. Even better? Reach out to these donors and offer to handle that upgrade in the database, so they don’t have to figure it out themselves. It’s customer service that meets your needs as well as theirs.
4. Donors Who May Lapse Soon
Retention is the name of the game in fundraising, so you must work to turn the first gift into a second gift as soon as possible. It’s harder to win a donor back every day after they haven’t made a gift in over a year.
If a donor hasn’t made a gift in 11 to 12 months, then they’re more likely to give within the next month if asked. That’s when you set up a communication stream for this segment to cultivate and steward them. By the time your year-end appeal kicks in, they are going to remember that you value them and are more likely to renew by Dec. 31.
5. Lapsed Donors
Your donor file is full of donors whose last gift was more than 24 months ago. The good news is that they are familiar with your organization. The bad news is that what they know about you hasn’t produced an engaged donor. But you can pull this donor list and develop communications that:
- Let them know you miss their active presence in the community.
- Directly, boldly ask them to give again.
- Put in place a stewardship campaign thanking them for renewing and letting them know all the initiatives their giving now supports.
6. Mid-Level Cultivation Candidates
Your mid-level donors have lots of growth potential — but only if you cultivate them. And because this segment is typically a long list, you’ll need to identify those mid-level donors who are most likely ready to grow their investment. After you have your list, take time through mid-November to call them or personally email them with just two goals:
- Thank them for investing and share the difference they’ve made.
- Ask them why they support the mission and what they are most passionate about.
Take note of these responses, and then follow up with a custom, handwritten note reiterating significant points of the conversation and stressing how much you appreciate the role they play. This personal no-ask strategy produces growth. I’ve seen retention increase year over year from those with whom nonprofits are communicating personally. Mid-level donors are a significant population of donors — they typically make up 5% of your file but contribute 25% of your revenue. So retaining as many of those people as possible is critical.
Conclusion: Start One Thing Today
These six segments are just the tip of the iceberg of ways you can structure your file for Giving Tuesday and year-end giving campaigns. Other segments to consider include your sustaining givers and sustaining giving candidates. These folks are some of the most loyal donors in your organization and deserve a customized year-end ask thanking them for their continued support.
If none of these segments are currently incorporated in your plan, don’t feel overwhelmed. As Giving Tuesday rapidly approaches, we encourage you to pick just a single segment and create an A/B test message against your main file. If giving from that segment is measurably greater, congratulations! You’ll have a foundation to build upon for your 2021 year-end campaigns and beyond.
Ryan Carpenter is the vice president of client success at GivingDNA. Prior to joining GivingDNA, Ryan spent time both on the agency side at THD, within a nonprofit at Year Up and offering nonprofit software solutions with Causemo.
He has experience and interest in developing innovative strategies that efficiently identify, cultivate, and solicit donors and prospects through effective engagement tactics. He has a keen ability to synthesize large data sets and identify the underlying trends and points of importance. Ryan has a proven track record in creating successful cross-channel donor engagement strategies that will deepen donor relationships with organizations, and upgrade those with the most capacity and inclination to give.