Segmentation: Beyond RFM

It is really fun to be working with clients when they have an “a-ha!” moment. The one where a client realizes that segmenting the constituents they track in Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge can actually be easy is especially fun for me because I have been in the shoes of that client over the course of my career. A cool, nerdy, benefit of teaching clients how to re-evaluate their segmentation approach is getting to see how the most successful nonprofits ultimately segment their data.

One thing I have noticed is that all of these organizations have something in common in their segmentation approaches: A goal of actually learning more about their constituents, rather than simply determining how much they can ask them for in the next appeal.

I’m going to share a few approaches that might make you rethink how you view your constituents, as well as rethink what you can use segmentation to accomplish. These project ideas, and the questions that go with them, are straight from my experiences with the pros!

Should you start regional events or send solicitors out on the road?

  • Determine donors areas by regions: Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, West
  • Then by gender
  • Then by age ranges (65+, 50-64, 35-49, 24-34, 0-25)

Are you surprised by your results? Will this change the way you solicit to certain segments?

Who are your top ten donors in each of your biggest giving cities? And do they know each other yet?

  • Determine your highest giving states using the above example and then find the highest giving cities in those states.
  • Then, whether you consider a large donor to be $5million+ or $5k+, set your ranges to identify these donors.

What can you do with this information? Declare “Official” Giving circles? Arrange small, hosted, dinner parties?

Get to know your volunteers or alumni

  • Determine not how much, but how often they give(Frequency)
  • Determine when their last gift was (Recency)
  • Determine their cumulative giving (Monetary)

Identify those alums or volunteers that haven’t given recently. Is there a reason some of your volunteers or alumni stopped giving? How can you find out? How can you get them to start giving again?

Welcoming your new donors

  • Who gave their first gift in the last three months?
  • Segment on these new donors by constituent code, attributes, or demographics, etc.

Are there any trends, positive or negative, that you can identify? How can you work to increase the positive trends and decrease any negative ones? How can you make a constituent’s first experience giving to your organization more special, thereby increasing the chances they donate again?

SegmentOmatic definitely puts an interesting twist on the segmenting of data because it makes the concept of segmenting so simple, and the resulting data is very accessible. Beyond the confines of typical RFM segmentation, there truly are thousands of ways you can leverage your data to learn about your constituents, and identify trends in your organization’s fundraising landscape. Perhaps you will discover you lack new younger donors, or learn that your volunteers could use some inspiration. Perhaps you’ll identify something you can do to change the course of your donor retention program.

The ultimate goal is to help your organization thrive! This goal can be greatly furthered by identifying areas that could use improvement, as well as seeing new positive trends and the possibilities in those trends. What do you not realize that you already know about your constituents? Think about it, and while you are doing that, check out SegmentOmatic and see how it can change the way you segment today.

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