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How to Target Donors with Your Newsletter - Sozialia
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How to Target Donors with Your Newsletter


According to the Nielsen Norman Group, 90% of consumers prefer receiving email newsletters while only 10% opt for Facebook. Non-profit donors are no different; in fact, they will prefer a newsletter since it provides more details on the issue at hand while creating the sense of community they seek. Considering the fact that most donors are between the ages of 35 and 74 (according to Kimbya’s 2014 analysis of one-day charitable event Give Local America), a newsletter will be more considerate of readers’ time since they can always access it when they’re free rather than having to scroll through numerous posts or tweets to find that interesting update they had begun reading on their morning commute. However, the effort, time and money you invest in your newsletter may go to waste if you don’t define your target audience, i.e. your ideal donor.

The Importance of Identifying Your Ideal Donor

Defining your ideal donor is foundation of determining how to target donors with your newsletter.

For starters, “kitchen sink” communications, or those designed to please everyone, tend to lose readership they’re too general or overstuffed with information. Not many readers want to continuously skim through your newsletter to find information relevant to them. It can actually make readers feel like the publication is not for them or doesn’t have them in mind.

Identifying your target donor also helps while writing the document itself. Considering who you are trying to reach with your writing will help you decide what content and even what style would be most effective. With this degree of direction, your communicated ideas can reach through easily and motivate readers towards contributing to your cause.

Your ideal audience will also impact the design and layout of your newsletter. The photos included, colors used, font size and style and even layout should be target-audience-appropriate. Otherwise your reader will click the Unsubscribe link. The last thing you need is for a charitable CEO to take their donations elsewhere simply because the design seemed unprofessional or otherwise unappealing. Often those donors with the deepest pockets are also those with the least amount of time. The visual is crucial.

Finally, picking the target donor for your newsletter will hone your marketing techniques. We guarantee that if you take the time to define your ideal donor more clearly, you will see more clearly where your marketing efforts are heading in the right direction and where they’re wandering into oblivion. Once you get your ideal donor nailed down, rest assured that your non-profit will begin to get more on track and the response to your cause will increase and improve.

Please Give Donor Image

The Top 3 Generous Target Demographics

Defining your ideal donor is bound to take some time. However, you have to keep you publication rolling throughout this process, since you have existing readers to serve. Luckily, different studies have researched the most generous demographics in the past and come up with the following top three.

  1. High Net Worth Individuals –According to the 2012 Bank of America Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, non-profits should invest in building and maintaining relationships with high net worth donors since 95% of these have donated at least once in their lives as compared to 65% of the general population. The study also showed that 76% plan to donate at the same levels or more in the coming 3-5 years. In addition, 71% have a giving strategy and budget in mind, especially because they value the satisfaction they get and “how a gift can make a difference”. Money aside, this demographic is more likely to volunteer as 89% tend to give their time. In fact, 54% volunteer over 100 hours every year. However, you should tactfully handle this group since asking for inappropriate amounts or over soliciting them can discourage them from donating.
  2. Young People –’s 2013 Index on Young People and Volunteering uncovered that 93% of teens between 13 and 15 years want to volunteer their time because their friends do so as well. Unfortunately, only 54.2% actually volunteer. Still, directing your newsletter at them will engage them early and help you build a long-lasting relationship.
  3. Baby Boomer Women – Women have started becoming an important part of philanthropies. According to the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s Women Give 2012 report, females tend to donate more than men, especially baby boomers aged 48 or older. In fact, their donations are 89% more than men and 70% more than younger individuals. As baby boomers make up 90% of the country’s net worth, their impact and donations should be taken into consideration while devising a newsletter.

How to Identify Your Ideal Donor

While you consider these general statistics, you should also invest your efforts in identifying your ideal donor more specifically. They may or may not fall into one of the demographics listed above. If they do, great! But if they don’t, then targeting those groups alone will not necessary garner the degree of support you are looking for and need. The following method, which was detailed in Anthony Powell’s Major Donors: Finding Big Gifts in Your Database and Online, is considered very effective for defining donors.

  1. Identify Your Donor’s Capacity – Capacity is one of the important details while assessing donors. Establish beforehand how much the donor should be worth, how much they can give, what their income is, what assets they should hold, and any ideal financial criteria.
  2. Identify Your Donor’s Inclination – Look for the most generous donors and identify which civic affairs they’re involved most in, which charities they usually give you, and whether their interests are in line with your mission and programs. If you don’t have this information, you can easily get it through a survey or Big Data if you can afford it.
  3. Check the Donor’s Linkage – Search through your donors’ database to find individuals related to your major donors. Next, check whether they’re consistent givers or tend to volunteer. You can also ask your donors directly whether they have evangelized to others about your mission and non-profit.

Once you have established your ideal donor’s character traits in these three areas, give them your full and immediate attention because they are bound to donate more and often. Your newsletter should target them very specifically. You can also reference our post about defining your “Buyer Persona” for additional questions that will help you paint a complete characterization of your target audience. Analyze their demographics and start writing for them accordingly.

However, don’t ignore the rest of your donors; after all, they too are responsible for your non-profit’s success. What you can do is target them from time to time with content that would appeal to them. On the other hand, you can run multiple newsletters targeting different types of donors. Though this will cost you more, it’ll ensure that no one’s left out and that you are maximizing all the channels of support and maintaining a constant readership.

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