4 Ways to Segment Based on Behavioral Data

Last week we wrote about 4 ways to segment your fundraising list. Today we’re focusing on segmentation, with a focus on  ways to segment your list using behavioral data.

When you look at your supporters, they should be more than just strangers who donated to your organization. You have a relationship with these individuals and if you spend a few minutes with your data, you should be able to figure out the issues they’re interested in, how they’ve engaged with your organization in the past, what motivates them to be involved, and where they came from. This information should guide you in how and what you communicate with each individual  supporter.

In this post, I will discuss the four behavior segments that you should be using to target content and people within your list.

1. Issue Interest

Collecting interest data shouldn’t be hard. Your supporters tell you what they’re interested in all the time. They attend events for certain issues, they visit specific pages on your website and engage with issue based social media posts. Your email platform should help you to collect this data so you can use it to segment and target.

Sending relevant content will help you gain trust with your supporters, telling them that they’re more than just a number and that their interests matter. This will help build the relationship they have with you, ultimately leading to an increase in your supporters’ engagement.

2. Location

Through your email platform, you should know the general location of all your supporters. This is typically captured through past engagement (donated, attended an event, volunteered, etc.) or via where they are when they open an email (your email platform should capture IP address and then convert that to a location). Knowing the general location of where your supporter lives will help you stay relevant and “hit close to home”.

People are more motivated to engage when you discuss topics that have proximity to where they live. People tend to feel strongly about issues that are relevant in their everyday lives and centering emails around that information will help create stronger relationships.

3. Digital Body Language

Like a person’s body language, you can learn a lot about your supporter by how they’ve engaged digitally with your organization. This can easily be done by collecting information on:

  • How they interact with your emails – Open/clicks/actions
  • How they interact with your online ads – where people come from, what keywords they search
  • How they interact with you social posts – how long they spend on your landing page, how often they share

Segmenting based on this information will help you gauge your supporters interest level and whether or not they’ve responded positively to you campaign. Take this information and tailor your message to different segments. For example, it’s likely that you have a group of supporters that have opened emails but have never contributed. Of those people, you should also have what issues they’re interested in. Using those two data points, send them a relevant issue based email with a strong call to action telling them how their donation can help with that issue.

4. Acquisition Type

Understanding how you are acquiring new supporters is core to growing a strong base of support. Creating segments that track different acquisition paths will help you measure and understand where the best or most motivated supporters come from. Once you know where your most engaged supporters come from, you can invest in finding more of those types of people. If your most engaged supporters are those invited by a friend to your yearly gala, that should be a larger focus than using paid advertising. It’s all about knowing and understanding what works and what doesn’t.


Segmentation is very important. The more you know about your supporters, the better job you can do in effectively communicating with them. You should be collecting enough information that you know what issues each supporter feels strongly about, what city or region they’re located in, how they’ve engaged with your organization, and how you acquired them as a supporter. Using these 4 data points, you will be able to provide your supporters with content that is relevant to them.


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