Welcome back! Now that you know how to segment your appeal letter so that it resonates with different constituencies, here’s how to address our suggested groups in your reply form with easy segmentation.
Segment by giving history
1. Current donors, SYBUNT, LYBUNT, and lapsed donors
- A variable affirmation sentence works much like the variable line in the letter based on donor type. You can ask one segment for a second gift, a LYBUNT for a renewed gift, and a prospect for a first-time gift.
- Include annual giving checkboxes. Any year in which a donor gave will be populated by a checkmark—encouraging continued giving by demonstrating their loyalty or, in a SYBUNT’s case, showing gaps in their giving history.
2. Major donors
- Variable ask strings. We can’t say it enough—use an ask string keyed off a donor’s last gift. You can customize ask strings for large donors and donors whose giving capabilities you’re personally familiar with. Our recommendation is to leave a blank line for donors of $10,000 or more to fill in a gift amount that works for them.
3. Leadership circle or giving society members: If you have some donors in mind that you are looking to recruit to your leadership society by bumping up their giving level, you can add in encouraging verbiage to your reply card. Or, speak to those whose giving already places them in the society, or whose gift this year could grant them entrance.
Segment by donor experience with your organization
1. Participatory or affinity groups like Board Members, staff, volunteers, auxiliary, patient, new parent, current parent, grandparents, alumni, friends, sponsors, class year, reunion year.
2. Geography: Even on your reply card, speaking to donors about a location that they have been to or can visualize is very helpful—this way you aren’t just referencing a mysterious land; your donor is already connected to it, and may feel more apt to support it.
3. Area of service: Augment a donor’s past or current experiences with individual areas of service in your reply card by offering choices for gift designation. A previous patient of the Cancer Center would be so pleased to be able to designate their gift directly to the Center! Even if the donor selects “Area where the need is greatest,” they have visual context for what types of programs their donations actually help.
4. Event attendees of an auction, tournament, walk or run, concert, etc. Supporters of an event are already familiar with your organization. By thanking them for their participation while asking for an annual fund gift, you are gratefully acknowledging their existing relationship with you.
Between your letter and reply, you have a great opportunity to customize and cater your appeal to your particular donor base. Just ask our clients—it helps them raise more money! For more advice and planning, give us a call!