Charity Support, Advice, Impact Measurement, Philanthropy Impact – NPC

Donor diagnosis

I’ve always loved a good self-diagnosis quiz. Whether it’s working out which fringe suits my face shape or how I cope with stress, there’s something irresistible about answering multiple choice questions to find out more about yourself.

And they’re not always frivolous; lots of accepted and useful tools work on similar principles—some workplaces, for example, use personality profiles like Myers Briggs to understand the strengths of their employees and build effective teams.

Of course, the results of these tests and quizzes will never reflect the complexity and variety of human experience – but they can offer useful simplifications of reality, helping us understand ourselves or the people we work with better and providing suggestions for how to improve something.

Back in March, we launched Money for Good UK, which sought to understand donor preferences and motivations. Based on a detailed survey, analysed using robust statistical methods by our research partner Ipsos MORI, the research identifies seven distinct donor types. These donors give for different reasons, and have different relationships with the charities they support, which of course may have implications for how those charities choose to communicate with them.

The inevitable, irresistible question that comes out of this research is ’which donor type am I?’ And, of course, for fundraising charities, ’which donor types are our supporters?’

At the time, we produced this flowchart (and even hazarded a guess about what kind of donor Pope Francis is). But it’s clear we need something rather more robust for charities that want to incorporate this thinking into their fundraising approach.

That’s why today we’re launching Know your donor: the Money for Good UK donor segmentation tool, developed by Ipsos MORI, and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Unity Trust Bank. With 13 questions, the tool can tell you which donor segment you—or your donors—fall into. It’s available to download for free as a resource for the sector, and we hope it offers a way for charities who are interested in the segmentation to explore how to improve their fundraising efforts.

Market segmentation is well established in commercial sectors, but charities often struggle to implement a segmentation of their donors. Although we’ve recently seen great news about how generous the UK is compared to international levels, we’ve seen a trickle of bad news stories about falling donations and fundraising methods becoming less successful. And so our aim with the Know your Donors tool is to share a generic segmentation of donors, and continue to work with charities to ascertain how it could support their fundraising efforts in the future. Once charities understand their donors better, it will be possible to experiment with tailoring messaging accordingly to deepen those giving relationships, which we hope has an impact on giving levels.

The best way to do that will vary hugely depending on each charities’ existing strategy and database of supporters. Charities may want to ask their donors these questions within their regular communications (for example, in a thank-you survey), as part of a one-off piece of research, or during individual conversations with their major supporters.

We’re really keen to hear from anyone who’s interested in testing the tools (, to help think through how it could be useful for them. We are hoping to collect any feedback and produce a ‘lessons learned’ document later in the new year.

So give it a go! What kind of donor are you?