October 20, 2022 | Categories DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, End of Year, Featured

How to create donor segments for your year-end campaign

Charitable giving is often deeply personal, and it’s likely each of your supporters has a unique and special motivation for giving. While it would be nice to be able to handcraft a personalized appeal for each of your donors, it simply isn’t realistic! 

That doesn’t mean that you need to take a “one size fits all” approach. By segmenting your donors into different groups, you can create messages that resonate while leaning on your database to guide your strategy. 

For example, your outreach to major donors who give $10,000 checks after in-depth meetings with your development staff should differ from the way you engage with donors who gave their first donation through crowdfunding. When you tailor your communications to your respective audiences, you can speak to their hearts and optimize their response. 

Donor segments for year-end fundraising may include:

Donor types

  • Individuals
  • Families or trusts 
  • For-profit organizations
  • Private foundations 

Organizations and individuals have different motivations for giving. When reaching out to corporate donors, you might highlight how your nonprofit recognizes event sponsors, or how their matching gift challenges inspired individuals in your community to give. Often, their goal is to achieve positive visibility for their brand, on top of supporting a meaningful cause. 

For individuals and families, they often want to know how their gift makes a difference. While they may not give as much as your corporate sponsors or grantmakers, it’s important for them to see their impact and feel like they’re a part of your community. You may consider sharing specific stories of people your nonprofit helped over the past year, and how their giving empowers you to carry your mission on to next year. 

Giving to specific funds or projects

For donors who give to specific funds, you could add fields to your appeal letter including the name of the fund and what you were able to accomplish in the past year with their philanthropic support. It only takes a few sentences to show them how their giving made a difference last year, and how their support this year will keep your nonprofit thriving. 

Personalize your appeals with mail merge templates in DonorPerfect!

Giving levels

Use calculated fields in DonorPerfect to include three giving options on your appeal’s reply device based on each donors’ past giving: 

  • The same amount that they gave last year
  • 10% higher than last year 
  • 20% higher than last year

For prospects who haven’t yet made their first gift, consider three default amounts that make sense for your nonprofit and community, such as $25, $50, and $100. Remember: your supporters are generous champions of your cause, and want to help in a meaningful way. Don’t underestimate or undervalue their generosity by choosing suggested amounts that are too low! 

See how your Average Gift Metric can help you set effective gift amounts!

Monthly donors

Year-end is an appropriate time to request a special one-time gift from donors who give monthly. Make the case based on research for what an extra [X] dollar amount could do for the populations you serve. It may also help to remind your monthly donors that their one-time and monthly gifts are all tax deductible! 

Brand new #GivingTuesday donors

Giving Tuesday donors are often motivated and excited by a challenge or deadline. Reach out to this group on social media and with email marketing to share your progress toward your year-end goal and invite them to help you accomplish it. 

Better yet, put your year-end fundraising goal into concrete terms. 250 refurbished bikes going to children in need is more motivating to Giving Tuesday donors than an arbitrary $10,000 fundraising goal. A matching gift or a hashtag to amplify your cause can go a long way with this group. 

Major donors 

How would you define a major donor? Someone who’s given a one-time gift of $500 or more? Someone who has given $5,000 or more over their lifetime? No matter the number you choose, take care to thank these special donors in a personal way. 

Tip: leverage your board for outreach! A phone call or handwritten letter from a board member is sure to impress. Be sure to set up SmartActions in DonorPerfect to alert your board members to make that call.

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Meet the author: Emily Zacek

Emily Zacek joined the DonorPerfect team as a copywriter in January, 2022. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in flute performance and organizational studies, and her undergraduate thesis focused on labor activity trends in American arts nonprofits. She brings a...

Learn more about Emily Zacek