Let’s Toss Up a List Salad

While a list of past and potential donors is, even on its own, already quite powerful, it is actually possible to optimize its potential as a source of further donations. One of the most important techniques for improving the performance of a list of people to contact and encourage donations from is list segmentation.

Though it might sound like a pretty intimidating phrase, list segmentation is actually quite simple, with the technique being used by most fundraisers around the world. To make it even less intimidating, it helps to think of list segmentation as making a list salad—something yummy and healthy at the same time.

Like a salad, list segmentation involves chopping your list up. Your giant list is divided into specific categories with defining characteristics; think of these as your lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and other ingredients. These specific categories are further divided into subcategories that share similar characteristics but have other identifiers that set them apart, which is like chopping up your ingredients to make the salad.

For example, list segmentation allows you to identify a group of people from a specific income bracket with certain interests. You can then reach out to them with a specific and meaningful message that has the best chance of encouraging them to donate. When used throughout the scope of your contact list, the improvement in performance can be quite dramatic, and allows organizations to thrive—especially in environments where it is increasingly hard to find new donors.

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