3 Ways To Clean Up Your Donor Database In 2014

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Your donor database is a living, breathing ecosystem. Contained within are thousands of individual needs, expectations and passions. Tapping into the unique giving personas of your donors is impossible when your database consists of one giant lump of donors, each of whom receive the same letter template via one communication channel.

Those fundraisers who have mastered segmentation are able to communicate on an individual level, unlocking the true potential of every donor in their database. You can do it too, and the end of the year is a great time to get started.

Here are three ways to clean up your donor database for 2014:

1) Segment By Giving Frequency

Start by breaking your entire database into three groups:

  • what portion gave 0% of your gifts in the last 24 months
  • what portion gave 10% of your gifts in the last 24 months
  • what portion gave 90% of your gifts in the last 24 months

You can remove the first group from your database entirely. Really! All they do is drive up your costs, lower your donor retention rate and distract you from those who truly matter.

A plan of action in 2014 is needed for the second group. How will you warm up these donors to your organization?

The third group is your core group of donors. These are your loyal followers and raving fans. Concentrate on further segmenting this group as you move through the rest of this post.

2) Identify Your Average Gift Amount, Then Segment Again

Now that you’ve dropped the dead weight, it’s time to look at gift amounts.

In order to set a baseline estimate of giving, it’s important to calculate your average gift amount. This will allow you to segment your entire database of true donors into two groups:

  • those who give below the average gift amount
  • those who give at or above average gift amount

The goal here isn’t to give special attention to one group over the other, but to give special attention to both groups separately.

If you typically ask for a standard gift amount from your entire database, consider sending multiple versions of your solicitation letters. For example, you can aim a little higher with those who give at or above the average gift amount. There’s no reason to ask them for your average gift amount when they have historically given above and beyond that.

Don’t forget the ‘thank you’! You may need a few different versions of acknowledgements letters depending on how you segment your messages.

3) Identify Who Has Given to Your Organization for 3+ Years

According to our friend Dr. Adrian Sargeant, those who have given to your organization for three years or more are prime candidates to ask for a bequest. His data shows that they are more likely to include you in their estate plans. The trick is: you have to ask!

Filter your database and identify those who have steadily given to your organization for three years or more. If your Executive Director hasn’t ever taken them out for a cup of coffee during that span of time, now is the time to send the invite.

Keeping your database trim, lean, and segmented is the key to effective donor communications and increased donor retention.

Steven Shattuck is VP of Marketing at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world.

This article originally appeared on the Nonprofit Hub blog.

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