Are You Spending Your Marketing Dollars on Your Best Prospects? | Sharpe Group
Posted September 15th, 2023

Are You Spending Your Marketing Dollars on Your Best Prospects?

In a perfect world, every piece of snail mail and email you send would be going to your most committed and receptive prospects. While this may seem impossible to achieve, there are some tried-and-true steps you can take to ensure you are making the most of every marketing dollar.


Step 1: Know Your Donors.

Though it may sound simple, you’ve got to understand who your best major and planned gift prospects are by getting to know your donors beyond the basic facts like accurate mailing information, giving history and other preferences. Having additional information is essential to using your marketing dollars wisely in the short term and ensuring the success of your fundraising program in the long term. For instance, are your donors at an age where legacy planning has become a priority? Are they younger but interested in making an impact?


Step 2: Understand Their Motivations.

By understanding your donors’ motivations for giving, your organization can make more informed decisions when it comes to creating your donor targeting strategies. Sharpe’s Comprehensive Donor Data Services goes hand in hand with wealth screenings to help you create a more complete picture of your donors so you can craft more effective communication materials and develop marketing campaigns. The result is powerful and actionable demographic data to help you determine what types of gifts are most likely to be attractive to the donors who fall within certain age groups and giving-capacity levels. Donor Data Services include Data Integrity, Data Append and the most in-depth Age and Wealth Based Matrix.


Step 3: Create Strategies.

Armed with a more comprehensive picture of your donors and their capacity to give, you can begin creating targeted marketing, communication and relationship-building strategies. For example, younger donors may be more responsive to digital media, whereas older donors may prefer print media. Furthermore, the segmentation helps you qualify donors for blended giving opportunities.


Knowledge is power. Findings from the Sharpe KnowledgeBase® show that donors give at various levels and in diverse ways based on age, gender, education, marital status, income and net worth. By adding demographic data to your donor files, you can segment and communicate relevant messages to the right groups, increasing your success in current and deferred gift planning efforts. ■


Julie Schuldner, MBA, CFRE, is a Sharpe Group senior consultant with experience in nonprofit leadership and fundraising. She is based in Wilmington, North Carolina. You can connect with Julie at


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The publisher of Sharpe Insights is not engaged in rendering legal or tax advisory service. For advice and assistance in specific cases, the services of your own counsel should be obtained. Articles in Sharpe Insights may generally be reprinted for distribution to board members and staff of nonprofit institutions and other non-donor groups. Proper credit must be given. Call for details.

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