Episode 18: How can nonprofits use donor segmentation to increase donations?

Today we are going to dive into donor segmentation and discuss what the literature and latest research suggests are ways we can segment donors to effectively communicate with them and of course, raise more money.

If you’ve been putting off targeted fundraising messages for your donors because segmenting your donors is such a big hurdle to climb, this episode is for you. And if you’re currently segmenting your donors, but it isn’t getting you the results you were hoping for, then this episode is for you as well.

The problem we are going to tackle today is: How can nonprofits use donor segmentation to increase donations?

Here’s what you can expect to take away from this episode…

⦿ Why segmenting by demographic does not work

⦿ How to segment your donors based on how they make their donation decision

⦿ How to implement a plan for segmenting your list


⦿ [2:52] Typically, what happens is that the very top donors continue to receive this type of personalized attention, but the reality is you simply can’t take every donor out to lunch.
⦿ [5:03] Second, we often don’t even have that much information about our donors. We may not know things like their age, their gender identity, or even where they are located. Especially with online giving, we get very little information.
⦿ [7:38] And while we don’t have a crystal ball, one way to understand how a donor might give in the future is to understand how they make their donation decision.
⦿ [11:20] Interestingly, what they found is that for some participants, empathy played a larger role in the donation decision but for others perspective taking played a larger role.
⦿ [12:22] What this research suggests is that when donors respond variably to things like appeal letters or email campaigns, they are doing so because our brains are literally wired differently, so we need different approaches.
⦿ [16:31] In our appeals, we are most likely always asking for money, so how can we use this information to our benefit if we segment our donors into high and low-level construal processors?
⦿ [19:26] Now, you might be saying to yourself, okay this is all fine and dandy to theorize about but how can you determine which segment your donors belong in?
⦿ [21:42] By tracking donor behavior over time, you’ll begin to paint a really clear picture of how your donors make their donation decision and can personalize communications to really resonate with them.
⦿ [23:24] You’re going to keep doing this process over and over- classify your appeals, send them out, track who responds, and update their tag in your donor database. If this sounds like a tedious process, it kind of is, but it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time.

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⦿ Article: Decoding the charitable brain: Empathy, perspective taking, and attention shifts differentially predict altruistic giving
⦿ Article: When to explain why or how it happened: Tailoring accounts to fit observers’ construal level
⦿ Article: Impact of message construal, temporal distance, and construal level on potential philanthropic supporters’ intentions to donate
⦿ Episode 12: Do urgent fundraising messages encourage donors to give?
⦿ Download “The SIGNALS Framework” e-book for FREE

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