A direct mail program should be an essential component of your ongoing fundraising communication
strategy to nurture the relationship with your donors and maintain regular engagement.
One of the best fundraising direct mail tips is to segment your donor list. Why? Because segmenting helps you meet your donors where they are so you can tailor your message, ask amounts, and communication strategies to increase their giving and engagement with your organization.
Let’s say you have a donor file of 30,000 names. Some of them have never given to your organization, others have given only one time, some have given multiple times, and there are some who give regularly. The simple strategy is to write a letter and mail it to the entire list, but that strategy most likely will not produce favorable results. Segmentation allows you to send the right message to the right people.
A good segmentation approach is to segment your donors into these five groups:
- new donors
- current donors
- lapsed donors
- partners/monthly donors
- major donors
With donor segments, you can use more specific, personalized communi
cation methods. People will respond better to communication that engages them directly. Successful donor segmentation from the start is a key strategy to great donor communications.
Donors in different segments need to be treated and communicated in unique ways:
- New donors need to be cultivated toward a second gift
- Current donors need to be nurtured into partners or monthly donors
- Lapsed donors need to be re-engaged
- Major donors need to know how significant their giving is to the lives of people
You don’t have to write five different letters to send to each segment. Simply write your letter, then insert a paragraph on page one where you speak to each donor segment individually. For a lapsed donor, you may insert copy like “You’ve been on my heart and I wanted to be sure you didn’t miss out on this opportunity….”
Meeting donors where they’re at is a combination of providing the right message in the right place at the right time. That is why segmenting donors is an important fundraising tactic.
Segmenting donors might appear time-consuming and a lot of work at first, but have no doubt the work is well worth the effort. Segmentation will help you target the right donors and with the right message, causing you to retain donors and increase your fundraising dollars.