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Who Are Your Best Email Prospects?

Do you notice when you send out your emails that you receive quite a few bounced emails? Are your open and click-through rates minimal? Is your list filled with thousands of names of people that are not warm to your organization and have little to no connection with your organization? It sounds like it may be time to think about giving more attention to your email list.

It can be difficult for gift planners to keep track of all the data and analytics that have been compiled.  With so much information, you may not know where to begin. Starting with a strong database for communicating with your donors can be very beneficial in finding your top prospects.

Whether your organization has only been around for a short time or many years, organizing your list can be helpful. If you have good data, it can help you to better directly communicate with your potential prospects. While this may seem like a lot of work to get started, there are many reasons organizing can help your team in the long run.

Why Should I Segment Emails?

By segmenting your email lists, your organization can better target potential donors by sending custom content that is targeted towards a specific group. In addition, you will gain better analytics for each email list that is sent. As you continue to send your newsletter, the data will show an improvement for both open and click-through rates.  You will also see an improvement in the bounce rate by identifying the email addresses that are no longer active.

Having a clean list to send out will allow you to better identify potential donors that are active vs. inactive. For the donors that have been inactive, this may be a good opportunity to reach out directly to see how they are doing.

Your team can also choose the best way to compile each email list. With each group that you create, you will be able to market specific ideas to potential donors.

Some segmentation ideas include:


How Should I Prepare?

There are many ways to begin segmenting your donor lists and your team will want to decide where you should begin. With so many ways to segment, your team should consider that a single person and couples without children may be the most likely to leave a bequest to an organization. Once you have decided how you want to segment your lists, you will need to go through your donor database and compile the information that you have available. If you are missing certain criteria, that should be the first step in getting started. It can take some time to research the needed information and remove inactive users.

Once you have your donor lists finalized, you can decide what content you want to market to each group. Depending on the list that you have compiled, you will want to adjust the content for each category. For example, if you are working on a list of donors in the age range of 20 to 40, you will want to slowly introduce and educate them on why they should be giving. You may also want to provide future events that they can attend or volunteer opportunities so that they can be more involved with your organization.

Now let's get into the details!

Ways to Segment

Once your team has compiled the data for your email, you can separate your lists into the categories that work best for your organization. There are a variety of ways that the lists can be structured including age, society members, alumni and volunteers.

Looking at the age category, it is best to segment your lists into age ranges of 20 to 30 years. That will allow for a larger scope of data for each newsletter that is sent.

Your organization may have a very large list that can range from 10,000 to 90,000. It can be difficult to segment by age in this type of scenario. I would suggest segmenting your list by your most loyal donors. This can be done by separating those that have given over 10 to 40-year timespans (ie. 30 plus years of giving may indicate the donor is more senior). You will be able to broadly group together a list based on the years that your donors have given to your organization.

Ages 20-40

It is best to educate these donors on your foundation and the goals you are working toward. As you continue to communicate with your younger donors, you can provide them with different ways that they can donate.

Ages 40-60

For ages 40 to 60, your team will need to continue to educate your potential donors while also directing them toward the best gift model. With bequests and beneficiary designations being a primary gift for this age range, you can provide specific information on that gift so that it is clear to each of your donors.

Ages 60 and Over

Your team will want to focus your marketing on IRA rollovers and charitable gift annuities. Many older donors will have their estate plans established. Since older donors may have included your organization for a smaller bequest gift earlier in their life, they may now have the capacity to increase that bequest. There are many cases where gift planners report that donors who make very modest but regular current gifts will leave a large bequest.

With your segmented lists now in order, you will start to gain better analytics to connect with your most active prospects. By pinpointing your lists into categories, you will have the ability to have a more consistent way to communicate.

Many of your loyal donors who leave bequests are not necessarily those who are making the largest gifts.  The key for a bequest gift is frequency and length of giving. With the many ways that you can segment your lists, it is important to keep your focus directed toward each group, while also building new content for those reading. If you have a large number of potential donors that have little to no response to the newsletter after a few years, you may want to consider removing them from the list. Those potential prospects are currently not active and are bringing your newsletter analytics down.

Find out what works best for your organization and continue to improve your lists with each send.

Megan Dickey

By Megan Dickey
Integrated Marketing Coordinator, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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