Donor Segmentation

INTRODUCTION

Want to increase donor retention? Donor segmentation is the key!

In the first part of this article we will discuss donor segmentation and how it affects donor retention. Donor retention is key to a consistent incoming flow of donations. In the second part, we discuss collecting donor data and using a suitable CRM software to organize your donor database.

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DONOR SEGMENTATION

Donor segmentation is an organizational system that groups your donors into categories based on their information. This will help you create more meaningful experiences and authentic communication between you and your donors. This allows you to get to know your donors, and create streamlined interactions when it comes to informing them on ways to participate in your organization that are relevant to them.

Donor segmentation is important for personalizing your approach with donors. By keeping track of specific details of donors, you can build authentic communication systems that will increase the chances of them participating in your organization.

 

DONOR RETENTION

Donor segmentation increases donor retention, which is key to growing fundraising efforts. When you have the resources to maintain personal relationships with those affiliated with your organization, you will be able to continue to earn reliable revenue for your cause. Retention rates are on the lower side in the nonprofit sector. According to Bloomerang.co, on average, retention rates are at about 45% for nonprofits. For-profit businesses have average retention rates between 63% – 84% and can reach rates of 90% – 95% when they are actively making efforts to keep their retention rates high (Love, 2022).

Retention rates are already working against nonprofits. So it is vital to make all efforts possible to keep retention at a sustainable level. This is where donor segmentation comes into play, because it is making the most out of donor data, and ensuring you are getting donors to continue participating in your organization.

To get more information about donor retention, check out this article: Donor Retention: Structure Your Fundraising Operation for Success.

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DONOR DATA

It is obvious to those that work in the nonprofit sector that donors respond to and continue to donate when they feel recognized and connected to your organization. Adding to your donor database is very important if you want to maintain those relationships and stay on top of personalizing your interactions with your patrons. The goal of a nonprofit development professional is to seek prospective donors and maintain relationships with existing donors. Sustaining a robust system of donor segmentation will help you do just that!

As your relationship with donors builds, you will start to collect more information that specifies your constituents motivations and interests with your organization. Using more details, you can develop a database that segments your donors.

What kind of donor data should you be keeping track of? There are various areas that you should collect information from to create segmentation:

Demographic:

  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Income
  5. Education

Communication:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Preferred way of communication (direct mail, email, phone, social media, events)
  3. Communication Efforts leading to donation

Donation Track Record:

  1. Amount Donated
  2. Date of Donation
  3. Frequency of giving
  4. Type of donation
  5. How long have they been giving
  6. Reason for giving

Interests:

  1. Why are you a part of this organization?
  2. Where would you like donation dollars to be spent?
  3. What action would you like to see from our organization?
  4. Events Attended
  5. Interest in giving

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HOW TO STORE DONOR DATA

The most important part of collecting your donors information is keeping the data organized. The way to do this is by investing in a CRM (constituent relationship manager). Storing information about your donors in a centralized system will allow multiple members of your outreach developing team to access donor data to develop a deeper understanding of your constituents, and build authentic relationships.

In an article from philanthropynewsdigest.org “The Importance of Donor Data and How to Use It Effectively”, Adam Weinger recommends a CRM that supports these 4 areas: list segmentation, measuring engagement, report and analyze data, and communication with donors (Weinger, 2019).

List Segmentation:

Categorizing your donors by their specific details such as: age, gender, wealth, location, etc

Measuring Engagement:

Having the ability to store and review the history of engagement of your donors. Seeing how often they engage, when they are more likely to donate, what encourages their action within your organization.

Report and Analyze Data:

Keep track of successful methods of engagement with your donors.

Communication with Donors:

Being able to communicate directly with your donors for discussions of fundraising efforts.

 

CONCLUSION

Wrapping up, we discussed the importance of donor segmentation and how it increases donor retention. Then we went into more detail on the specific information your nonprofit should collect from your donors to build a comprehensive donor database in a proficient CRM software.

 

BONUS TIP

This is only the beginning to building a thorough donor database! Check out this article that goes more in-depth about Donor Database for Nonprofits.

 

References

Love, J. (2022). Donor Segmentation | Comprehensive Guide + Tips For Success   [web log]. Retrieved 2022, from https://bloomerang.co/blog/donor-segmentation/.

Weinger, A. (2019, April 30). The importance of donor data and how to use it effectively. philanthropynewsdigest.org. Retrieved  2022, from https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/features/the-sustainable-nonprofit/the-importance-of-donor-data-and-how-to-use-it-effectively

 

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Establishing your Nonprofit Brand: 3 Brand Design Fundamentals

INTRODUCTION

Establishing your nonprofit brand can be intimidating, but let’s start with some basics! This article discusses 3 vital design aspects to consider when designing your nonprofit brand. You will learn about important design fundamentals: logos, colours, and typography. Having a preliminary understanding of brand design, will help you and your designer use your brand assets and establish a distinct and cohesive nonprofit brand. Legitimizing the look and feel of your brand will inevitably bring recognition and success.

LOGOS

First off, what is a logo? A logo is made of text, shapes, and colours that indicates the purpose of your organization. Your logo is a key part of your brand because it is going to appear on all things that pertain to your organization’s charity work. Your logo is also a symbol that volunteers and donors will remember and use to differentiate you from other nonprofits.

It is common to want everything but the kitchen sink in your logo design, but that is not realistic and frankly, it’s bad design. You want your logo to be: simplistic, memorable, scalable, readable, and distinct.

Take a look at a few of these nonprofit logos. They are displayed in black and white to show the impact and recognizability of a good logo design, even with no colour. In the next section, we will discuss colour.

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If you want to see more examples of logos, check out this article that shows 75 Top Nonprofit Logos.

 

Your logo will appear in many places such as: websites, impact reports, banners, fundraising material, documents, presentations, merchandise, and more. It’s important that you keep the appropriate logo file formats for use in digital and print media.

Before you read the next part, if you are not already familiar with Raster(pixel) vs. Vector files, check out this quick read article that explains the difference between the two.

 

Here are 4 common logo file formats to know:

PNG – Portable Network Graphic

File extension: LOGO.png

  • Raster file – Pixel based format
  • Can be compressed and decompressed without losing quality
  • Supports transparency
  • Easy to read and access, can be opened on computer, mobile, and tablets
  • Use on: website, blog, as favicon(icon that shows up in browser tab), presentations, letterhead on documents, social media profile, as an image (e.g. watermark on document)

 

SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic

File extension: LOGO.svg

  • Vector file format
  • Can be scaled as big or small as needed, without losing any quality
  • Supports transparency
  • Small file size compared to PNG and JPG
  • Editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator
  • Web-friendly XML language
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Should be used when sending your logo to a designer to make changes

 

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript

File extension: LOGO.eps

  • Vector file format
  • Can be scaled as big or small as needed, without losing any quality
  • Editable on design software like Adobe Illustrator and photoshop
  • Tricky to open in softwares other than Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop
  • Supports transparency
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Can be used when sending your logo to a designer to make changes, but make sure to check with your designer or printer first

 

PDF – Portable Document Format

File extension: LOGO.pdf

  • Can be vector or pixel-based, it depends on how the PDF was created originally
  • Easy to read and share
  • Supports transparency
  • Format is consistent on every device
  • Use on: print media, shirts, merchandise, stickers, labels, etc
  • Only editable on Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop

 

It can be intimidating to grasp file formats, so here is a resource that goes more in depth into the 4 common logo file formats.

 

COLOURS

Colours are important to establish to maintain a cohesive look and feel for your nonprofit brand. It is important to keep in mind that a good brand has no more than 4 colours. When choosing your colours, you will want a light colour for backgrounds, dark colour for text, a neutral colour, and a contrasting colour. You don’t have to choose 4 colours, but you shouldn’t have more than that.

This is Google’s colour palette, it follows these rules.

 

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There is meaning associated with colours. If you are not sure where to begin when choosing your colours you can think about what certain colours mean.

 

Green – Light shades represent growth, freshness, eco-friendly. Dark shades represent wealth, money, and cash.

Yellow – Happiness, positivity, and welcoming attitude.

Blue – Light shades represent stability, openness, flow. Dark shades represent trust, security, and comfort.Red – Passion, excitement, and energy.

Purple – Creativity, spirituality, luxury.

White – Peace, purity, calming nature.

Black – Bold, serious, authoritative, elegant.

 

Circling back to the logos shown in the last section, take a look at how colour enhances logos.

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After you have chosen your colours, you must keep a record of the specific HEX code, RGB values, CMYK values and Pantone® (PMS). This can be an intimidating concept, but your graphic designer will know what these are. Each colour format is used for different purposes.

 

Pantone® (PMS) and CMYK are for printing purposes.

HEX and RGB are for digital purposes.

 

This is how each colour format is listed for the specific blue Google uses.

HEX code: #4285F4

RGB Values: (66, 133, 244)

CMYK Values: (71, 47, 0, 0)

Pantone®: 279 C

Here is a link that shows the rest of Google’s colour palette https://www.brandcolorcode.com/google

 

TYPOGRAPHY

Font selection is another beast when it comes to establishing your nonprofit brand. There are an endless number of fonts out there.

To make it simple, here are a few tips you can use to make the process easier:

  • Choose a font that is different from your logo
  • Only use a serif or sans serif font (Serif: Bodoni, Sans Serif: Helvetica)
  • Make sure it is readable and legible
  • Get a designer to help guide you through font choices

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There are a few options for how you can obtain the rights to use a font. You can either buy a font or find a free font. It is crucial if you are downloading a free font that it is free for commercial use. There are a lot of instances where you can download a font for free but it is NOT for commercial use.

List of places to buy fonts:

https://fonts.google.com/

https://www.fontshop.com/foundries

https://www.typography.com/

https://www.fontspring.com/

https://www.myfonts.com/

https://housefonts.com/

List of free font downloads:

*https://fonts.google.com/ *

https://www.1001freefonts.com/

https://fontesk.com/license/free-for-commercial-use/

https://www.dafont.com/

NOTE: Google Fonts (https://fonts.google.com/) is the best when it comes to free fonts. They are all open source, high quality, easy to download, and can be embedded directly into your website.

 

CONCLUSION

This article covered 3 basic design fundamentals: logos, colour, and typography. It touched on what a logo is and the various aspects you should consider when figuring out its design. There was also information on logo file formats and when to use them. The colours section talked about how colour enhances a nonprofit brand design and how to specify your brand colours for digital and print use. Finally, this article ended on typography, what you need to consider when choosing your fonts and where you can find them.

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How to Follow up with Volunteers

INTRODUCTION

Acknowledging your volunteers is just as important as acknowledging your donors, and you can do that by sending out a follow up!

In this article we are going to be looking at why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. Volunteers are the powerhouse of the organization! Knowing how to send follow ups and how to make them effective is KEY. Sending out those follow ups as soon as you can will result in a good volunteer experience and increase the likelihood that volunteers will return for more work, and even become donors!

 

WHY FOLLOW UP?

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Following up with your volunteers is important because volunteers are what keeps your nonprofit organization going. Volunteers donate their time and effort for a cause as long as it provides them with the personal satisfaction of doing good for others as well as a positive network of individuals who all care deeply about the cause. It is not only courteous, but necessary to follow up with them to gain valuable feedback about their experience with your nonprofit and give them more opportunities to donate. Follow-ups help volunteers feel in the loop and keep them involved in the work.

Apart from helping with your nonprofit’s mission, volunteers also seek charity work to gain experiences, network, learn new skills, add to their resume, and more. Sending out follow ups to gain feedback is beneficial to your organization and to volunteers. You can then use that feedback to improve your programs and it will increase the likelihood of volunteer’s returning, sending referrals to your organization, and building relationships.

Once you have established good relationships with your volunteers, it could result in them turning into donors down the line!

 

HOW?

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Following up with your volunteers can be as easy as sending an email. The point is to maintain good communication. But it is a good idea to show effort in the way you follow up with them. The way to show effort can be evident in how you follow up and what you say in your follow up.

 

3 Points to Always Include in your Follow Up:

  1. Acknowledgment of Gratitude: saying thank you in a personal way

  2. Progress Made: letting them know how their efforts have helped the cause

  3. Include a Survey: to gain insight of their experience

 

Make sure when you follow up with your volunteers, it reflects that you spent time and effort in contacting them. Volunteers put their time and effort into helping your organization, so you should do the same! Handwritten and personalized notes are an excellent way to show volunteers that their contribution is valuable and recognized. You should make it easy for them to respond back to you by including your email, phone number, or social media information.

 

WHEN?

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A good time to send a follow up is as soon as possible! Try to aim to get those follow ups out within one week of their experience. This is especially important when you want to gain feedback from your volunteers. This is because their experience will still be fresh in their mind. It will also add to their experience to get that extra thank you soon after they spent time volunteering. When you maintain good communication, it builds relationships. Strong relationships with your volunteers will turn into strong donor relationships! It is all about the long game!

 

CONCLUSION

To wrap things up, we covered why, how, and when to follow up with your volunteers. It is important because volunteers are essential to keeping operations running. A follow up can be sending an email to writing a letter, but remember to put in effort so that volunteers feel their work is being reciprocated. The sweet spot of sending out follow ups is within one week or as soon as possible.

GET OUT THOSE FOLLOW UPS!

 

BONUS TIP

Want to know how to increase your average donation amount? Here are 9 easy steps that will tell you just that!

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Authentic Communication with your Donors

INTRODUCTION

The nonprofit sector is in the business of people-helping-people. What better motivates people-helping-people than being authentic!?

This blog contains vital information about maintaining authentic communication with your donors. The 3 main takeaways are: Be true and consistent, attend to your donors, and create personal experiences. Adding personalized and specific details to your communication methods will make all the difference.

 

BE TRUE AND CONSISTENT

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All nonprofit organizations have a cause that they are passionate about. Before you communicate with your donors, you need to establish a set of values and beliefs that your organization follows. Make sure when you set up those values, you are being true to yourself and to your cause. To have authentic communication, you need to BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify your core principles, you must represent them in every message and any form of communication. You may not be popular with everyone, but at least you will be showing community members that you are true and consistent. The main point is to stick to your set of values and beliefs, but there are more Principles for Authentic Donor Communications that Build Relationships.

 

ATTEND TO YOUR DONORS

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Make sure to put effort into focusing on your donors. Remember, without your donors you can’t support your cause! Maintain relationships with donors by consistently communicating and creating opportunities to connect with them.

There are various ways to stay connected with your donors and maintain authentic communication. You can schedule regular meetings in person or virtually to provide the opportunity to interact with them. This is the time to have discussions about your organization’s progress and get the opinion of the members. You can ask questions like: Why are you passionate about the cause? What is your preferred method of communication? How would you like to take action?

You can also connect with your donors by sending them information via digital and physical communication methods.

 

WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR DONORS

Social Media
Community Events
Newsletters
Impact Reports
Thank You Notes
Website Blog
Google Forms Questionnaire

 

The main focus should always be on your donors, so you can build authentic relationships.

 

CREATE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES

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To keep up with authentic communication, you can create personal experiences! How do you do that? Well, make sure to keep donor profiles and use their names when sending emails, newsletters, donation cards, impact reports, and postcards. It is also important to consistently send messages to donors and volunteers to let them know your organization is working hard for the cause.

A little bit of effort goes a long way, especially when you want to create personalized  experiences. Emails and text messages only go so far and are often overlooked, so it is important to seek other forms of communication. Sending handwritten note cards and direct-mail packages addressed to specific donors, tells your members that you value their support.

 

CONCLUSION

To summarize, figure out what your nonprofit is passionate about helping, stick to your values and beliefs, focus on including your donors, and organize personalized experiences that show your donors how much effort you put in.

BONUS TIP

Put the effort in and delight your donors with a handwritten note!

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Tips for Effective Storytelling for Nonprofits

INTRODUCTION

Nonprofit storytelling is an essential skill to have to maintain a successful nonprofit organization. Storytelling informs your donors about how their donations are being spent and who their donations affect.

This article provides 4 essential tips to effective storytelling. You will learn how and why it is important to be intentional, how to evoke emotion and empathy, how to initiate connections, and the importance of saying thank you to your donors through storytelling.

 

1. BE INTENTIONAL

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Organization is key to effective storytelling. The first thing you want to do is create a plan for the story you want to tell. Begin by setting your goals on what you want to communicate with your audience. Next figure out the Who, What, Where, When, Why , and How of your story. Once you have a proper outline figured out, you will find it much easier to tell the story.

Be intentional about how much detail you share by keeping content short and attention grabbing. Try to only include important facts that are vital to the story. Good storytelling keeps the audience interested by finding a suitable balance between the story’s length, timing, and authentic content.

 

 

2. EVOKE EMOTION AND EMPATHY

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Keeping in mind that it is important to be intentional with the details you share, choose specific facts to build your story that will evoke emotion and empathy. Your aim is to help your donors feel personally connected to the cause, and you can do that by using the names and photos of those in your story. Videos are also a great tool in effective storytelling because it quickly visualizes and humanizes the story.

There are many ways to evoke emotion and empathy in storytelling, and this short article provides 4 examples of effective nonprofit storytelling.

 

 

3. INITIATE CONNECTIONS

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A key element of effective nonprofit storytelling is initiating connections between the story and the audience. Once the story has been told and donors become emotionally invested, you can connect them even further by explaining how their donations impact the cause. Let your audience know specifically where donations go and how they are used.

This is where you can point out how change will happen and why it matters. To compliment your story, visual aids can be a helpful tool that highlight these facts. Many Nonprofits use infographics as an effective storytelling tool. Infographics can be displayed on a variety of mediums from social media platforms to printed media.

 

 

4. CLOSE  WITH A MEANINGFUL ‘THANK YOU’

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Don’t forget about gratitude! Always remember to appreciate your donors and say thank you. Acknowledging the efforts of your donors is another key element specific to effective nonprofit storytelling. A good thank you has the ability to seal the connection your story made and builds personal relationships with donors to increase donor loyalty.

 

 

CONCLUSION

To review, always begin with a plan where you organize your facts of Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. It is important to be intentional in your storytelling to maintain the interest and attention of viewers. Evoke emotion and empathy by providing specific details about those in the story. Things like names, photos, and videos allow donors to see the story at a personal level. Create connections between the viewer and story by explaining how donations directly affect the cause. Infographics are a great tool to put a focus on this information. Perhaps the most important element of effective nonprofit storytelling is wrapping things up with a thank you. Acknowledgment goes a long way!

 

BONUS TIP

Consistency is key! Make sure to update your donors often about how their donations are impacting the cause. Monthly impact reports, newsletters, and handwritten notes are great tools that can be personalized and sent directly to your donors. Storytelling is only one way to Increase Donor Loyalty with our Best Practices.

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