Building an authentic segmentation strategy with donor management software

Donor management software can help a nonprofit implement an effective strategy for categorizing donors according to personal mindsets and needs. This categorization is referred to as segmentation in the marketing world. In the scope of nonprofits, business strategy isn't about selling things, according to KnowHowNonProfit. It's about finding the most effective channels for engaging individual supporters.

Nonprofits can effectively engage donors by using segmentation. An effective segmentation strategy helps nonprofits authentically engage with supporters.

In other words, segmentation is about recognizing that a donor base is comprised of unique individuals who will give in different ways and for different reasons. Segmentation shouldn't only be about strategy. After all, the whole focus of a charitable organization is to contribute to the greater good. That begins with reciprocity and recognizing the needs of potential donors.

Combined with analytics software, diligent observations and detailed notes can give a more complete picture of how an organization can build unique bridges with donors.

Differentiate donors as individuals
While traditional segmentation strategy has focused on the geographic location and demographics, said business consultant Kellie Cummings, this information won't create personal value for donors. Without personal engagement of supporters, a nonprofit can't be truly donor-centric, noted Angie Moore.

So, here's how a nonprofit can use segmentation to build sincere and effective relationships with its advocates:

Ask why, not what
Instead of simply recording where donors live, how often they give and in what amounts, think about why they choose to support the cause. Soliciting personal feedback from donors is an important move in identifying what makes them tick. In turn, this knowledge uncovers the best ways to reach them and keep their attention long-term. Though personal feedback is a little more complex and involved than objective data, a good CRM platform can effectively organize these responses.

Authentically engage donors

"Think about why donors choose to support the cause."

Asking for donor opinion shouldn't be viewed as a mere suggestion – the age of digital has made customization ubiquitous, and donors expect to personalization from their brands, including the charities to which they donate. Recognition is important to today's donors, who are motivated by the achievement of personal success. They are informed, adept at decision-making and proficient in multichannel navigation. They search for personal meaning and take control of their own ambitions, Cummings further said.

When donors connect with charitable missions, it's part of finding their own footing in their perception of the greater good. They want to do the research and make decisions on their own. For potential donors, the language of asking for money can feel parallel to being told what to do. A different framework of dialogue is likelier to garner support and gain the trust of benefactors. Nonprofits be sensitive to why donors might approach with caution, and combat cynicism with sincerity.

But an honest discourse can't be faked. Fundraisers must absolutely know their donors on a personal level in order to authentically prompt a partnership toward a common goal.