4imprint, LLC

| Updated: July 12, 2021 4 min read

When it comes to marketing, telling a great story is only the beginning. You also have to get that story to the right supporter. Segmenting your audience is key. One study shows that segmenting email lists creates a 15% boost in click rate. Segmenting an audience is where an organization identifies subgroups within their target audience and tailors their message to appeal to a specific subgroup.

Audience segments are different for every organization, but we have some general tips—and some nonprofit giveaways—to help get you started.

Start communicating

As technology changes, so does the way organizations communicate with their audience. It’s likely your supporters have a preferred way to hear from you. This might be a phone call, text, letter in the mail or social media post.

As you begin segmenting your audience, be sure to consider their preferred communication method. This helps ensure you’re not wasting time and money sending them the same message through multiple channels.

Post a survey through social media, email and text messaging that asks how they want to hear from you. Offer all those who respond a thank-you gift, like a mailable bookmark or a car air freshener. Or enter everyone into a draw for a jug cooler.

Build segments

Once you know how to contact your supporters, it’s time to decide how to segment your supporter lists. While the options are nearly infinite, start with large categories, like:

  • Demographic characteristics (age, education level, occupation, etc.)
  • Psychographic elements (values, interests and attitude). An easy way to find this information is to ask supporters, “What’s the primary reason you donate to this organization?”
  • Behavioral tendencies (donation size and frequency, or number of volunteer hours)

Break each of your large categories into smaller categories, like current donors, past or potential volunteers, event attendees and lapsed donors. You can also segment based on demographic similarities or geographic location.

Analyze and revise strategies

Once you’ve built your segments, decide if your messaging is helping you achieve your goals. For example, are you able to get past volunteers to return? Are lapsed donors signing up for recurring donations? Are current donors increasing their support? If your goals aren’t being met, consider new messaging—or messaging strategies.

Review and revise regularly

Every few months, be sure to comb through your segments and see if a supporter needs to be moved from one segment to another so that they’re getting the most appropriate messaging. For example, new donors can easily become recurring donors or frequent event attendees may decide to come to fewer things.

As you review, consider handing out nonprofit giveaways. Base your gift on their level of involvement. A volunteer who helps out frequently could get branded T-shirt. If a one-time donor recently started sending regular donations, send them a flower pot mug and a note that thanks them for helping you grow.

Putting a best practice into practice

When you know how to segment audiences, you know how to build better connections. By offering your audience members the right information the way they want to receive it, you’ll ensure your messages are coming through loud and clear.