November and December are a prime time 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 segmented messages for various donor groups. Given that donors have been shown to give 10% to 25% more when messages are personalized, you must not ignore the power of customized messages.
Any fundraiser can apply the following segmentation best practices to #GivingTuesday 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 #GivingTuesday and year-end segmentation.
Here, we’ve outlined six segments we recommend leveraging in your upcoming campaigns, as well as specific messages you can send to each one to maximize year-end giving.
1. #GivingTuesday Social Media Ambassadors
Because #GivingTuesday takes place primarily on social platforms, you’ll want to equip your best social media influencers from your file with messages detailing how they can drive momentum for your organization.
Your list can include both donors and potential donors who have a solid social media presence and proven rallying skills.
You aren’t just asking these people to give. You are inviting them to be part of your sharing team on November 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 — including graphics, base copy for the posts, hashtags, and URLs.
#GivingTuesday will be an exciting, fun experience and a win for growing your donor file by engaging voices beyond your own.
2. Potential Donors
Every nonprofit’s donor file contains a group of potential donors.
These are volunteers, social contacts, friends, and colleagues connected to your cause who have not yet invested.
The end of the year 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 nondonors 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
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.
Your ask does not need to be large — growing your number of $10- or $20-per-month gifts can 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.
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.
If a donor hasn’t made a gift in 11 to 12 months, they are 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’re going to remember that you value them—and are more likely to renew by December 31.
GivingDNA offers advice on how to convert one-time donors into monthly sustainers in a new guide, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Sustaining Giving.
5. Lapsed Donors
Your donor file is full of donors who made their last gift 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. Midlevel Cultivation Candidates
Your midlevel donors have lots of growth potential — but only if you cultivate them.
Because this segment is typically a long list, you’ll need to identify those midlevel donors who are most likely ready to increase their investment.
After you have your list, take time in late October through mid-November to call them or personally email them with just two goals:
1) Thank them for investing and share the difference they’ve made, and
2) Ask them why they support the mission and what they are most passionate about.
Take note of their responses and follow up with a custom, handwritten note reiterating significant points from your conversation and stressing how much you appreciate the role they play.
This personal, no-ask strategy yields huge dividends.
We’ve seen retention increase year over year from those with whom we are communicating personally.
Midlevel donors are a significant population of donors — they typically make up 5% of your file but contribute 25% of your revenue. It’s critical to retain as many of those people as possible.
Conclusion: Start ONE Thing Today
These six segments are just the tip of the iceberg of ways you can structure your file for #GivingTuesday and year-end giving campaigns. You can also consider segmented messages to 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 incorporated in your plan, don’t feel overwhelmed.
As #GivingTuesday rapidly approaches, we encourage you to start with 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.
About the Author
Ryan Carpenter is the vice president of client success at GivingDNA. Prior to joining GivingDNA, Ryan served as donor advancement manager at THD, associate director of donor cultivation and stewardship support at Year Up, and director of customer data analytics at Causemo.