Strategic Segmentation

Strategic Segmentation

The most successful fundraising comes about when you send the right message to the right people at the right time.  So, how do you identify the “right” people? Tighter and more targeted file segmentation is increasingly critical to maximizing returns in this competitive fundraising environment. This goes hand in hand with Avalon’s general philosophy that the more you know about the individual donor and his or her preferences and behaviors, the stronger and more productive the relationship.

Some ideas:

  • Incorporate personalized, triggered emails based on behavior, which has proven to be three times more effective than “batch and blast” emails.
  • Consider video, which has boosted email click-through rates significantly.
  • Segmenting email lists based on behavior, giving history, and interest will also boost performance and reduce unsubscribes.
  • Assess how often you’re emailing your file and the segments within. Targeted messages to the right people will make your list more productive.
  • Incorporate dynamic content and fundraising ask strings.
  • Integrate your content across channels.
  • Test, incorporate learnings quickly, and test again.
  • Segment your data with appropriate postage classes
  • Ensuring your data is clean so your outreach gets to the right people – and you don’t waste money sending to bad addresses.
  • Approach donors based on how they gave their first gift.


Testing RFM (recency, frequency, monetary value) segmentation against modeling helps find the best way to reactivate lapsed members. If modeling is the best option, Avalon’s models will allow you to select names that standard RFM segmentation will not, and also remove unproductive names that standard segmentation would mail. Our telemarketing qualifiers (TMQs) do the same for phone files. Each model is tailored to campaign goals—to maximize response, average gift, or overall net revenue. More deeply lapsed segments that may not qualify for reinstatement mailings can be added to acquisition mailings as warm prospects, which can help improve the net of the acquisition campaigns by increasing volume to realize cost efficiencies.

NEXT: Data Literacy Is Key