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Put Email List Segmentation to Work for Your Nonprofit

February 1, 2017

Your not-for-profit likely has a growing list of email addresses for donors, members, volunteers and other supporters. Are you making the most of it? If you send every one of your organization’s communications — donation requests, newsletters, meeting announcements — to everyone, you probably aren’t using these addresses as effectively as you could. Email segmentation can help you get the right messages to the right people.

Strengthen engagement

Not everyone is interested in everything your nonprofit has to say, and too many irrelevant emails can make people tune out or unsubscribe. That’s just one of many reasons to think about sending particular emails to only specific slices of your list.

Segmentation can also increase your response rates and strengthen engagement. Recipients will get more information they value and less that doesn’t interest them, fostering greater trust in your organization and its communications. And segmentation lets you experiment with different tones, writing styles, subject lines and visual presentations to determine which work best. You may learn that different groups respond differently based on the message.

Potential segments

If you already have the data, you can begin tailoring emails according to such demographic factors as age, gender, location and income. If you don’t already possess this information, though, gathering it can prove delicate — be careful not to turn off potential supporters with your inquiries.

You also could segment your list on the basis of past actions. For example, track activities such as event attendance, volunteer work, donations or membership renewal. Further narrow the segment by setting a date parameter (for example, activity within the past year).

Or create subgroups based on donation amounts or specific campaigns. “Super donors” whose giving exceeds a certain threshold, “super attendees” who attend a specified number of events in a year and “super volunteers” who donate a certain number of hours in a year might receive every email, while others receive fewer.

Personal and effective

Carving your email list into segments can empower you to craft more personalized and powerful communications that help build loyalty and achieve your goals. Contact us for more advice about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your nonprofit.

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