As discussed in the previous post in this series, developing a long-term strategy for engagement requires that you first take stock of the current state of your organization’s assets and audience. This helps you highlight where you are hitting the mark and identify opportunities for improvement.

This post focuses on the second element in our six-part how to.

  1. Messaging
  2. Segmentation
  3. Website
  4. Emails
  5. Social Media
  6. Multi-channel Integration


It’s easy to get excited about slicing your audience into the tiniest of segments for targeting, but most nonprofits don’t have the in-house resources to define, measure and develop content for more than a few key audience segments. Instead of taking a blind approach to what segmentation schemes might work, your nonprofit should consider three main areas.

First, understand the frequency and volume with which people are supporting your organization in non-monetary ways. Arguably the greatest predictor of whether someone is likely to engage with your organization is the amount of time that has passed since their last interaction. Many fundraising professionals define engagement by looking at their constituents who engaged with them over the past 12-18 months. For smaller, less intense interactions (like opening an email), you could look at data from a 6-month period to identify your most engaged constituents.

Second, understand the composition of your organization’s audience by age. With this level of detail, it is easier to develop effective calls to action using the most appropriate medium to maximize response rates.

Third, analyze by interest in topics and engagement activities. This allows your organization to provide information and activities that are most relevant. Identify donors who are interested in particular aspects of your mission such as education, services and public policy. When you understand the engagement activities that are of most interest, you can layer topics of interest with the engagement offerings that get the strongest response for each segment.

Use all of this information to create bands of engagement. Such bands should take into consideration the volume, breadth and recency of engagement so that you can create a relatively small, easy-to-identify set of constituent segments. These bands can then be used to identify your key targets for future engagement strategies.

To learn more, download A Guide to Long Term Donor Cultivation or check back next week for the next post in this series.