I know something that’s more evil than fundraising segmentation

Are rainbows evil? That’s pretty much the equivalent to the question asked at the Analytical Ones blog recently, Is segmentation evil?

It’s about an organization that chose not to segment their donor file by giving behavior…

In accordance with Scripture (James 2) they made the decision not to treat donors differently based upon their giving history. So segmentation was not used. So by default they were using what I call ME2EAT (Mail Everything To Everybody All the Time) segmentation.

It’s not my place to criticize somebody else’s interpretation of Scripture, but James 2 is all about showing favoritism toward the rich: “… if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”

Thinking of segmentation a form of favoritism is pretty silly. Segmentation is being responsive to someone’s behavior, not their wealth. It would be the height of unwarranted insight to think you know that a $100 donor prefers more or less or a different type of communication than a $25 donor. Heck, much of the time you can’t tell a donor’s wealth level by their giving habits.

If someone proposes some kind of egalitarian system that forces you to mail stupidly, just say no.

Segmentation is responsible fundraising.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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