Knowing your donors is a major step in targeting your communications effectively. There are a number of ways to slice your donor list and evaluate how you might craft communication across segments or groups of donors. Maybe your list isn’t large so segmentation may not be very efficient but to the extent that you can understand who your donors are, the better you will be able to communicate with them.
One easy way to understand your donor is to gather age demographics. Including a birth date field (even just month and year can be effective) on every response device is a simple addition that can pay off in a number of ways:
- Knowing your donor’s birth dates can provide you an opportunity to add a high touch to your donor communication. Sending birthday cards lets your donors know you are paying attention to them.
- Knowing the age demographics provides necessary information when considering the launch of a planned giving program. If you have a large portion of your donor file that is over the age of 55, planned giving marketing can be provide donors with an additional way to support the organization that they love.
- Understanding the proportions of your donors in various age ranges will allow you to tailor your communication language and style to those groups. Language and idioms that young people use will not resonate with older populations. Preferred color palettes are also different.
- Want to generate volunteer opportunities? Different age groups will respond to different opportunities. For example, older adults may appreciate the opportunity to volunteer in your office while younger adults will want to do “field work”.
These two charts can be used to evaluate some basic statistics on your age demographics. Determine the range groupings that make the most sense for your organization. Organizations with larger donor files can probably slice their segments into smaller ranges than organizations with smaller files.
Understanding the age demographics of your donor file will provide you with strong information about the profitability and lifetime value of various segments and ranges. It will also provide you with some indicators of the health of your donor file based on the spread of donors across the age ranges.