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Understanding individual giving supporters through data segmentation

Are you effectively targeting your charity donors with data segmentation?

Charities and nonprofits often rely on individual giving to fund their important work. Reaching out to the right audiences and engaging with existing supporters is essential to optimise spend and fundraising income but with so many supporters to engage, how can you ensure you're communicating with the right people in the right way?

Data segmentation is a powerful tool that can help you better understand your supporters and target your fundraising efforts more effectively.

So, if you feel your data segmentation approach isn't quite hitting the mark. Read on to find out how to enhance your data segmentation for effective individual giving targeting and how a data segmentation specialist can help…

What is data segmentation?

Data segmentation involves grouping your supporters based on certain activities like when they last donated, how much they gave, to what campaign, on what product and how often they do it. Segmentation can also be based on characteristics like their engagement level, lifestyle and demographics or attitudes. This allows you to analyze trends and tailor your asks, messages and other communications accordingly. For example, you may segment by recency and value of gift to set an ask strategy, or by connection to your cause to craft relevant messaging. You can read more about this in our blog on supporter personas.

Segmentation isn't a one-size-fits-all solution - it's a framework to help inform your decision making. As Woods Valldata's Head of Partner Strategy, Helen Daw, explains, "No single segmentation is going to do everything for you."

Start with an objective

The most important thing to remember for effective data segmentation: Have clear objectives in mind and use segmentation as a tool to support your decision making.

There are many objectives you may have to inform your data segmentation. It could be to grow supporter bases or to generate maximum income from a current supporter base, increasing response rates or average gifts, driving upgrades, reducing attrition, increasing reactivation, increasing net income.

And segmentation can help you achieve those.

  • It can help drive stronger response rates.
  • It can help increase average gift.
  • It can help drive volumes of new recruits, in particular of a certain profile or in the most cost-effective way.
  • It can help cross-sell.
  • It can help maintain active volumes.
  • It can help to drive relevancy of content or ask.
  • It can help you to engage with supporters.
  • It can help to make supporters feel valued.

To name just a few of the main ones… And through these elements, it will tend to drive cost effective and relevant communications for your supporters, therefore improving and lengthening relationships and ultimately lifetime value and income for your charity.

That's just what Battersea embarked on for their charity raffle. Read more about that in this Woods Valldata Case Study.

Why segment your data?

Two creative millenial small business owners working on social media strategy using a digital tablet while sitting in staircase

The ultimate goal of segmentation is to maximize income from your individual giving by engaging supporters in the most effective way. By better understanding who your existing supporters are, you can acquire new donors strategically, increase response rates, and nurture long-term relationships that will likely result in larger, recurring gifts over time.

For example, behavioural data like recency and frequency of past gifts allows you to fine-tune your asks. Layering on an understanding of a donor's reason for supporting your cause, such as a personal connection, can help you craft targeted massaging that resonate on a deeper level. The end goal is driving relevance to improve supporter experience, engagement, and fundraising results.

How to get started with segmentation

Many charities start simply by looking at transactional data points like recency, frequency, value (product and channel). This basic RFV segmentation provides a framework for targeting and measuring effectiveness. From there, you can layer on additional attributes as your data grows.

It's also never too early to consider the types of information you want to collect. By tagging basic profile fields and transactions from the start, you lay the groundwork for future segmentation. Don't wait until you have millions in assets - you can get value from a simple spreadsheet initially.

As Sequoia Insights Managing Director, John Kelly, notes: “Predictive modelling using AI is a powerful way to enhance targeting beyond basic RFV. By incorporating additional variables, these models provide granular insights with limited data.” Techniques such as Engagement Scoring can also enhance your segmentations by measuring the level of interaction and commitment of each supporter so communications can be tailored accordingly.

Make it achievable

While sophisticated segmentations using attitudinal data can be impactful, keep your initial approach practical. As Woods Valldata's Helen Daw advises, "Make it achievable. It can get really complex - don't be too worried about that."

Aim for 10-20 meaningful segments rather than hundreds of tiny slices. Monitor performance over time to refine your strategy based on results. With a focus on objectives and continuous improvement, data segmentation is a scalable way to deepen supporter relationships through more relevant engagement.

In summary, data segmentation is a best practice for nonprofits seeking to maximize individual giving returns. By better understanding your supporters, you can acquire, engage and retain donors in a tailored way that drives real impact for your cause.

How Woods Valldata can help

You can start your data segmentation today in your own database. But sometimes it a little help from the experts can go a long way to get the results you’re looking for. Woods Valldata have a wealth of knowledge around what works for segmentation for your individual giving campaigns. And if you’re looking for a more holistic approach Sequoia Insights can advise and implement a number of techniques to get your data segmentation working effectively for you.

Reach out to Woods Valldata today to see how we can help you reach your ambitions.

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