The Value of Donor Segmentation

The Value of Donor Segmentation

“Effective fund-raising churches refuse to treat all people as equals – and people truly are not when it comes to giving. Most of these churches develop some kind of segmentation strategy in which they categorize the congregation into types of donors.” (George Barna, How to Increase Giving to Your Church)

My lead post shared a new study from Infinity Concepts | Grey Matter Research on whether or not race and gender impact giving. I love their statement, “It is important not to paint all evangelicals with the same brush.” This is important when it comes to issues of how we view race and gender. At the same time, I have found that various segments of a church view the same issue differently. Knowing how best to communicate the same vision to multiple segments of your church is crucial for your fundraising success. In fundraising circles, this is called Donor Segmentation. Here are some thoughts I gave on this topic earlier in the year.

  • Treat all donors equally, but don’t treat them alike when it comes to giving. Go back and read the Barna quote! The principle is not favoritism but simply segmenting every donor segment so that each group hears the message in a way that uniquely challenges them.
  • Spend more time with your top-end donors to raise more money for ministry. Again, this isn’t favoritism. You are not giving them special parking slots. These donors give to the vision and need to hear your heart and passion.
  • Don’t wait until you need money to meet with your money people. If you only call me up to have lunch when you are in a capital campaign, don’t be surprised if I decline the invitation. Meeting regularly with key donors wins you the right to discuss giving and other church-related issues.
  • Never give up on seeing all donors move up the giving ladder. I am simply stating that when it comes to time management, you are better off spending your time with those that will more readily give than those that will not. However, in your teaching and preaching, we desire to make disciples. We must make stewardship education a part of our discipleship process as disciples give. Your top donors appreciate it when pastors incorporate a discipleship process encouraging people to be good stewards.
  • Document who gives, how they give, and what they give to. When you know how they give, digitally versus traditional means, you can better craft your message directing them to give easily by the means that segment responds best to. Then tracking what they give to, missions giving or special offerings, shows you what future needs they might respond to.

It is crucial that you begin to think of the various segments in your church and how best to minister to them and motivate them to generosity!

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