Episode 60: Understanding Donor Identity

June 7, 2018 Blackbaud, Inc.


We often hear about the need for organizations to take about taking a donor-centric approach to engaging supporters. But is that enough, or do nonprofits need to go even deeper to attract and keep donors over the long term?

Today’s guest is Kevin Schulman, founder and managing partner of DonorVoice, a retention and donor experience company. Kevin talks about why understanding donor identity can help organizations better understand the motivations of donors. He also explains how organizations can use donor segmentation to strengthen their relationships with donors, leading to long-lasting relationships that are beneficial for both nonprofits and their donors. Listen to this episode to hear the keys to leveraging a donor identity approach that results in improved outcomes.

Topics Discussed in This Episode: 

  • Why it’s important to understand the differences between different groups of donors
  • Why segmentation alone isn’t enough
  • The nuances of donor identity, and how it can help organizations to be more donor-centric
  • How the same donors can have different identities depending on which organization they’re engaging with
  • How to build content around donor identity categories
  • How to deal with objections to using donor identity
  • How focusing donor identity pilot programs on new donors can help organizations get past initial objections
  • How organizations can focus on donor identity using existing channels


Kevin Schulman



“If we want to be donor-centric, you have got to get some level of understanding about who these folks are and what makes them tick.”

“In order to get the kind of data that you need, guess what? You’ve actually got to ask these people.” 

“There ought to be massive perceived risk with status quo, but oftentimes there isn’t.”



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