Segmenting Mail Lists to Maximize Donations

Man Taking Letter From Mailbox

Direct Mail campaigns are crucial for non-profits to cultivate donors and achieve financial goals. Sending an appeal is a great start, but segmenting your mail list can take your campaign to the next giving level. There are three main ways to approach segmenting lists:


Average Gift Size – There are donors that will give $10 and donors that will give $10,000, but the thought process behind the two are very different. Sending these donors the same appeal doesn’t make sense. You can segment your list by a donor’s average gift size so that each supporter receives a relevant solicitation. Take it a step further and use variable data to create specific call-outs within the letter and on the return slip – highlighting what a donor has given to your non-profit in the past and creating giving levels on the return slip that coordinate. (And, of course, you should always be in touch via phone or in-person with your major donors or major prospects.)


Type of Supporter – Your non-profit can tailor letters to appeal to the different types of constituents in your donor database. Donors, Volunteers, Members, Event Attendees; these are just a few examples. You can create as many segments as you have types of constituents and then send specific letters appealing to their commitment to your organization. Again, use variable data to encourage donation sizes that make sense in accordance with the supporter. 


Date of Last Gift – If a donor has given recently (in the past month) you would not want to approach them again, asking for another gift, as it could turn them off of supporting your non-profit. Instead, send them a thank you and remind them of their impact. Similarly, you wouldn’t want to thank a donor who hasn’t given in years. Instead, for lapsed donors, you can send a specialized letter that opens with, “We miss you!” or “You can help.” Making sure that the mail you’re sending matches the current status of the individual you are sending it to will ensure clear communication and show an understanding of your donor. 


Direct Mail campaign segmentation can help encourage your average donor to give more, your volunteer to start giving, and create a touchpoint of communication with those that have already given. Cultivating individuals that are invested in your organization will lead to long term donors who feel connected and continue to give.