March 10, 2020 | Categories Donor Management, DonorPerfect Fundraising Software, Featured, Fundraising Strategies

The Key to Better Nonprofit Email Marketing: Segmentation

Here's how to improve your nonprofit email marketing using DonorPerfect and Constant Contact.

Do you want more donors to read and respond to your emails? Do you fall below the average email open rate that other nonprofit organizations enjoy? Segmentation is the key to better email open rates and engagement. Using criteria that you define, such as monthly donors, you can group donors into smaller groups and tailor your email communications to their interests.

Targeted campaigns based on donor segments are more effective and result in higher open rates. Emails that aren’t targeted are opened less because the information is not relevant to the recipient. Too many irrelevant emails may push your donors to unsubscribe completely, putting them at risk of lapsing.

Make Segmentation Part of Your Fundraising Strategy

How does segmentation help your nonprofit email marketing? These emails are common nonprofit blunders that you can prevent with segmentation:
  • an invite to a gala that a donor lives too far from
  • an email to a donor who isn’t likely to give again since they only gave to a special campaign 15+ years ago
  • a solicitation email received by staff or volunteers receiving the same message as donors
  • an email asking for a monthly donation from a donor who is already enrolled in Monthly Giving

Donor segments are an important part of any fundraising strategy. Segmented emails build better donor relationships and result in higher giving amounts. They also increase volunteer support, promote better event attendance, and build awareness of your programs or advocacy efforts. Donors can be grouped by geographical location, how much they give, how recently they gave, what campaigns they have given to, if they are part of your organization, and more.

How to Segment Your Nonprofit Email Marketing Lists

How do you segment your donors? This guide will show you DonorPerfect’s Constant Contact integration and dynamic lists to segment donors and enhance your nonprofit email marketing campaigns.

Step 1: Check On Your Constant Contact Integration Status

Before you can start making segments, you have to make sure you are able to use Constant Contact. From DonorPerfect, go to the App Links menu and open Constant Contact. This will direct you to the Constant Contact page where you may enter your login information.

If you don’t remember your login credentials, you can request this by clicking the “Forgot username?” or “Forgot password?” links on this page. If you are unsure if Constant Contact is part of your package, contact DonorPerfect support or your account manager to find out.

Step 2: Determine Segments That Best Fit Your Strategy

The most challenging part of sending segmented emails is figuring out what segments work best. Finding a winning segmentation strategy will likely be an ongoing process as it takes time to process results and adapt to new needs. It’s helpful to start with more general segments (like lapsed donors) than it is with segments that are too specific. Here are some ideas for donor segments that might work in your nonprofit:

  • One time vs. recurring donors
  • Size of donations
  • Recent event attendees
  • New donors
  • Lapsed donors
  • Volunteers
  • Staff
  • Board Members
  • Members by membership level
  • Demographics such as age, ZIP, income level, etc.
  • Alumni
  • Method of giving – direct mail, crowdfunding, online forms, DPMobile, phone solicitation, etc.

TIP: Gauge donor interests by sending a quick donor survey. Their results will be recorded in their donor record, making it easy to segment later.

Step 3: Ensure Your Segments are Recent and Relevant with Dynamic Lists

Once you have set up your Constant Contact integration and determined your segments – you are now ready to build a list in Constant Contact that pulls directly from your DonorPerfect database! For donor segments, we recommend using a dynamic list. Dynamic lists update based on a saved selection filter every night so only the most recent and relevant donors are in your lists. For example, if you have a selection filter applied to your list that is searching for lapsed donors, and a donor on that list makes a new donation, they will no longer be on the list the next day.

You can create a dynamic list based on any field in DonorPerfect. There are even more filter options available to you via Constant Contact on the Contacts > Segments page. For full instructions on how to create a dynamic list for Constant Contact integration, visit Creating a Dynamic List in Constant Contact.

Step 4: Execute and Assess Your Segmentation Strategy to Maximize Success

After segmenting, personalizing, and sending the message to each group, you can start tracking the success of your campaign in Constant Contact. If you find some of your donors are not responding to campaign emails, shift your focus to a different segment or adjust the message to align with those donors’ needs. It is best to periodically review your segments to ensure that you are reaching your audience and fostering a meaningful connection with your donors.

Share Your Nonprofit Email Segmentation Tips

Do you have a donor segment that works for your nonprofit email marketing? Do you have questions about how other nonprofits are incorporating segmentation in their campaigns? Start the discussion in the Development and Fundraising group in Community and start sharing your success!

Written by Rob Bucher
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