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Written by Christy Noel

It’s the last month of 2018. Which means… in the next few weeks you will be dedicated to planning and executing your year-end giving campaign. You will be busy fine-tuning your message and crafting your emotional stories. You’ll be creating and sending emails, texts, and direct mail appeals. You will be updating your giving page. All while you juggle your personal life and plan for the holidays. Whew, that’s a lot!

So, before you get so immersed in your year-end giving planning you can’t come up for air, please take a moment to stop what you are doing, take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Not all donors are the same!”

And again, “Not all donors are the same!”

Yes, not all donors are the same, so your year-end appeals should also not all be the same!

Look, I get it! It’s the end of the year. You may be tired, burnt out, or overwhelmed with your to-do list, both at work and at home. However, that’s no excuse for taking the lazy approach to your year-end appeal communications. Just like spending New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, you will most likely regret it in the new year.

BONUS: Download our 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Year-End Appeals Infographic to help you achieve maximum results during this giving season.


Segmenting your donor/supporter list means that you break your master donor list up into smaller lists — maybe three to five — based on a criteria of your organization’s choosing, and then tailor the messaging to appeal to each audience (or sub-group). For example…

One way to segment is to have your recurring donors on one list and one-time donors on another.  The message you craft for a recurring donor will then be different than the one sent to someone who has only donated to your organization once. For the recurring donor you may talk about the success of the programs they continually support and their growth for 2019. For a one-time donor, you can tell thank them for their support and let them know how another gift will be used.

Similarly, sending the same message to a donor who gave to a peer-to-peer campaign, someone who has been a volunteer, or someone who has been a supporter for an extended period, will not be effective. The peer-to-peer donor didn’t necessarily give to YOU, she gave to her friend, the fundraiser. She may not know anything about your organization, except, if you’re lucky, your name. You need to educate and cultivate that donor much more than you do with a long-term donor. You will want to send the new donor an email talking about who you are, what you do, and who your beneficiaries are. The long-term supporter will want to hear your specific plans for 2019, what will be different, new, or bigger.

You can also segment by giving level. Why suggest a gift amount of $50 to donors who regularly donate $500 to you? You may be leaving money on the table. I recommend creating 3 different year-end giving pages, each with different suggested donation amounts, based on the data you have of each donor’s average gift amount. Then, split your donor list into three based on giving level. Drive each donor to the appropriate giving page, by including a different link in each. This strategy works best with email, direct mail and phone appeals, obviously it is harder to target segmented donors on social media.

We worked with an organization that implemented this strategy and their average donation on the “lower giving” donation page was $50 and on the “higher giving” page it was $125. That a big difference and a lot more money to support their organization.

Other ways to segment your donors can include events where they’ve donated (galas vs. 5K), communication preferences (email, text, direct mail), their involvement with your organization (board, volunteer, peer-to-peer fundraisers, donors), and age/demographics.


Yes, it is a little more work to segment your list and then craft different communications for each segment, but it will pay off in your results. Because when you address your donor or supporter in a way in which he or she feels you understand them, they are more inclined to donate.


Amp up your ‘thank you’ with a digital card or thank you letter that expresses your gratitude. Download our templates and simply add your own images, customize the message and add your logo, and within minutes you can be sharing with your donors.


You may have a few different segment criteria, each with their own communication plan. Whatever you choose as the best for your organization, make sure it is something you have the resources and time to support. If this is the first time you are trying this strategy, it might be wise to keep it simple and focus on one type of segmentation and she how it works for you this year and broaden it next year.

Segmentation is a great way to communicate more effectively with your donors, connect with them on a deeper level, and, ultimately, raise more money.

Best of luck with your Year-End Giving campaign!

Christy Noel
Vice President of Digital Marketing Services


Our goal at MobileCause is to help nonprofit organizations create and manage successful digital fundraising campaigns, raise more money and retain donors longer. Our team of Digital Marketing experts have helped hundreds of nonprofits segment donors for their next campaign. To learn more, request a consultation.

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