1. Use Donors’ Contact Preferences
Some donors are fine getting an email every day from a favorite nonprofit; others would prefer to receive a paper mailing once every quarter. Some may want to watch videos of an organization’s programs in action, while others would prefer to read about upcoming volunteer events.
The simplest way to find out how (and how often) donors want to be contacted is to simply ask them. This information can be collected when donors first give to an organization; also, some nonprofits allow their donors to maintain online profiles where they can view and update their contact information and preferences.
2. Use Gift Size and Frequency to Predict Behavior
Through the right messaging, nonprofits might be able to turn their $75 donors into $125 donors, or get someone to make two donations a year instead of one. But most organizations will never be able to turn their $10 donors into $10,000 donors, or get their one-time givers to suddenly make a gift every pay period. By tracking and analyzing data around gift size and frequency, nonprofits can align their requests with previous donor behavior.
3. Capitalize on Donors’ Interests and Passions
Nonprofits can gauge current and prospective givers’ propensity for giving in part by analyzing data that demonstrates where donors’ passions lie. Social media analytics or Google Analytics can be helpful for this. If nonprofits already have the social media profiles of their website visitors, volunteers and donors on file, they may be able to see what other types of charities these people interact with online and use that information in their campaigns.
For example, if an organization works to bring artistic experience to children, it might have better luck with donors who interact with both organizations that work with kids and nonprofits involved in the arts — rather than just one or the other.
4. Look at the Donor’s Resources
Nonprofits don’t want to ask a prospective or current individual donor for a gift far outside of the individual’s capacity — as the request may seem ridiculous or even offensive to the donor. However, charities also can’t afford to ask donors for much smaller gifts than the individuals can afford, lest they fall short of their fundraising potential.
By looking at factors including political giving, real estate ownership and employment information, nonprofits can arrive at educated estimates about donors’ giving capacity.
5. Track Activity Within the Organization
Not all donors engage with a nonprofit in the same way. Organizations should tailor their messmicroages to different types of donors. For instance, a major donor, a donor whose employer matches gifts and a donor who also volunteers with the nonprofit should probably all receive different emails that are written with their history of engagement in mind.
By segmenting donors, nonprofits can quickly and easily target the subset of the donor base that is most likely to be responsive to a message. This should lead to an increase in email opens and click-throughs.