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Tips for using Email and CRM segmentation to increase donations online

Best practice charity Customer Relationship Management (CRM) segmentation can be used with email marketing tools to maximise ROI.

In discussion with other experts at CHASE 2011 it is clear that both tools can be exploited to your advantage.

Most charities use the form data feature in their Content management Systems (CMS) to collect supporter details and pass these to their CRM for targeting by email marketing. But if you are using these tools, how do you know if you are using them effectively? Could you improve on the ROI from your campaigns?

It is well known that email is the main communication tool for b2b and b2c communications. The plethora of available information and statistics on email marketing shows that email activity can produce dividends:

  • 57% of people access email via mobile devices. (Mobilethinking.com)
  • In 2009, ROI of email campaigns in US was $43.62 per $1 spent. (DMA 2008)
  • 49% of Twitter users said they made an online purchase after being prompted by an email they received compared to 33% of all email users. (Marketing Sherpa 2010)

From these statistics, it is clear that:

  • Emails need to be optimised for different devices
  • Email can be the start of a journey that ends at your site, so where possible you need to track the whole journey
  • Emails should target Social Media users for higher response rates
  • Emails can deliver phenomenal ROI

Segmentation and the value of software in tracking

When you send out emails, there are many variables that can be tracked by the software, some of the more valuable ones include:

  • What was sent and when
  • Was it delivered
  • Was it opened and at what time of day
  • What device was it accessed on
  • What was clicked on and from this, landing page tracking can begin

It is important to move this data to the CRM record for the individual for further segmentation and targeting. And not everything will be a success, but learn from any failures.

Segmentation aspects

Once you have email data in your CRM you can perform additional segmentation for the next campaign. Aspects you could include are:

  • Soft interests - what is clicked on
  • Donor segments - Recency, Frequency and Monetary
  • What time they open - some people read their emails first thing in the morning, some at the end of day and some through-out the day
  • What devices were used - if large numbers are using smartphones, encourage Social Media sharing as 22% of all tweets are from smartphones (Simon Caine 2010).
  • And don't target everyone with email, only those that open/click/respond. Use a different method for those that don't engage with email.

Move Management

Successful charities have a message dialogue around a supporter's journey. As you acquire supporters, you should begin a relationship with them. This is a step-by-step journey with milestones that trigger actions along the way. This is known as move management.

Move Management

Using data in the CRM, you can take donors through the donor lifecycle with email as the triggers. For example, when the donor makes a large cash donation, they are moved to the target group for small direct debit donors and targeted with appropriate email messages and landing pages. When they respond they are moved on to be targeted for large direct debit donations and so on.


The value of using CRM data for personalised and targeted email marketing approach is:

  • You can work in realtime with a variety of segments
  • You can see segments and work with these
  • You can combine response with other data for even better outcomes

By taking a best practice approach to integrate your email tools with your CRM data and providing targeted landing pages, you should be able to improve your email marketing ROI and increase donations for your cause.

My next post will focus on tips for email and landing page optimisation

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