Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Utilizing Information to Make Annual Giving Work for You

Annual giving folks are a wierd breed. I do know as a result of I’m considered one of them.

We aren’t tempted by the glamour and glitz of main presents, the gold-lettered names on a wall or constructing. No, we choose to construct relationships en masse, utilizing data-driven insights to inform us what our donors actually need.

However, what in the event you’re the form of fundraiser who is predicted to finish your annual giving program “off the aspect of your desk,” with no fancy company to information you on the newest developments, no thought what your donors actually reply to, no present information segmentation technique to take care of? You may even have one other job to do in its entirety.

I need to let that that is okay!

Annual giving is an extended recreation, requiring endurance to get a return on funding. I would like you to have the boldness (and your management workforce to have the boldness in you) that with information and time, you can also make annual giving work to your group.  

Right here is my three-step plan that can assist you get to baseline together with your annual giving program:

1. Plan to your 12 months.

Whereas it’s necessary to be nimble, it’s equally necessary to have a well-thought-out technique. Create a data-based plan to your donors that determines who your segments shall be and which segments will obtain which touchpoints. For instance:

Donor Kind Mailing 1 Publication Mailing 2
Annual Donors ($5–$500) X X X
Management Donors ($501–$10K)   X X
Month-to-month Donors (recurring presents > $5/month)   X  

When you’ve got good historic information to look again on, try this, and decide what your donor base is anticipating from you. Do your month-to-month donors anticipate your publication? You’ll want to ship it to them to keep away from lots of of calls asking, “The place is it?” Do your main donors prefer to be included in your end-of-year solicitation? No? Preserve them out of it for now (we are able to at all times check that later.)

Tip: Utilizing the Giving Evaluation for Appeals report in Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT® is a superb first step to analyzing your historic information.

2. Phase your information, however don’t OVER-segment.

In response to Teemu Raitaluoto, CEO at, it is best to try and strike the best steadiness between segmentation and simplification.

“Whereas creating extra segments might look like a strategy to higher goal [donors],” he explains, “over-segmentation can result in overly advanced campaigns that don’t resonate with [them].” 

When over-segmentation happens, it usually results in small pattern sizes inside every phase, which makes it tougher to get statistically vital outcomes and draw dependable conclusions. When phase sizes are too small, the information turns into susceptible to random variations and fluctuations, making it tough to differentiate significant patterns or developments from the noise. This might weaken the validity and credibility of any insights you will have derived, making the train moot.

A common rule of thumb is that 100 responses per phase are required for the outcomes to be statistically vital. If you’re anticipating an 8% response fee out of your donors, meaning the phase wants to incorporate not less than 1,250 constituents. On this case of a (very) excessive response fee, you probably have a small database of 5,000 constituents to whom you’re mailing, that can imply you wouldn’t need to phase them into greater than 4 segments.

You’ll want to hold observe of these segments in your fundraising CRM. Whereas utilizing constituent codes to indicate the segments your donors are in is an possibility, it leaves the onus on you to replace these as your donors transfer up and down segments. Utilizing a CRM that has dynamic constituent lists will prevent effort and time.

Tip: If utilizing Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, you’ll want to apply the suitable attraction data  and bundle codes to your constituent lists for good file maintaining. Package deal codes will decide the phase and the place within the A/B check they fall—see extra in step three, beneath.

3.  Check one factor at a time.

The one method you’ll ever know what’s working and what’s not is by testing your method. However you don’t need to take the kitchen sink method, testing completely every little thing directly. Much like over-segmentation, testing too many variables means the nuance of every one might be misplaced. For every touchpoint, check one side in an A/B type, after which use that as your winner for future communications.

Listed below are some examples of what you possibly can and will check:

  • Outer envelope: full colour and branding vs. company normal envelope
  • Ask: exhausting ask vs. smooth ask
  • For acquisitions: premium vs. no premium
  • Impression report: insert vs. no insert
Tip: When you use Raiser’s Edge NXT, make sure to notice in your bundle codes which a part of the A/B check your donor fell into.


There may be a whole lot of stress on annual giving packages to carry out, and understandably so. Most organizations will not be flush with extra money and wish to boost as a lot as they’ll to fund their packages and operations. However it’s additionally necessary to do not forget that the end result of a very good annual giving program is to create the pipeline for month-to-month, management, deliberate, and main giving donors. Getting good insights in your donors’ needs, wants, and likes is extra necessary than a quick inflow of money that offers you no dependable information concerning why it labored (and repeat that success).

Use your fundraising CRM as your supply of reality, with clearly outlined processes and coding procedures. Clear information + good reporting + a thought-out annual giving program = your life, just a little bit simpler!



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