Getting Started: Campaigns, Communications and Segments

Virtuous exists to help nonprofits strengthen their communication with their givers. And one one of the keys to that is the ability not only to communicate, but gauge the effectiveness of your communications to be sure you really are reaching your supporters. The Campaign functionality in Virtuous allows users to do just that.


What Are Campaigns?

Campaigns in Virtuous are the top category of a hierarchy consisting of Campaigns, Communications and Segments. Campaigns may describe a coordinated outreach effort -- think “Fall Membership Drive” or “New Library Capital Campaign” -- or they may simply be a way to capture your annual fundraising efforts. The Campaign structure can be adapted for any size organization, and allows smaller nonprofits to grow as goals increase and campaigns become more expansive. The basic campaign hierarchy looks like this:




For a smaller organization, this hierarchy might practically be set up to look something like this:



In this scenario, we see that there are three main fundraising efforts going on for the year: online donations are being collected, likely with a "Donate Now" link on the organizations website, there is a gala fundraiser event in the spring, and there's one mailer that goes out at the end of the year.

For larger, more complex organizations running several campaigns throughout the year, this hierarchy would look a little different. Here's an example of a single campaign:



Even this is somewhat simplified; some organizations may have dozens of segment for a single mailing. But you get the idea.


Creating a New Campaign

To create a campaign, navigate to Fundraising Campaigns in the menu.

Then click on the blue add button in the upper right to bring up the new campaign form. Enter a name for your campaign, set the start and end dates, and enter an internal description. The description should include any information that might be helpful for new staff to know about your campaign.

Then, you'll have the option of entering three goals:

  • Giving Goal - How much money are you trying to raise with this campaign?
  • New Giver Goal - How many new givers do you want to acquire as part of this campaign? Generally helpful for acquisition campaigns, membership drives, etc.
  • Total Gift Goal - What is the total number of gifts you want to bring in with this campaign? While any campaign planning will typically involve building out a campaign pyramid with a gift count, this goal is particularly for text-to-give and other fixed-gift-amount campaigns.

If you don't have anything to enter, it's fine to just leave these goals at zero. But the fields cannot be blank.

Use the Owner drop-down to select the staff member responsible for managing your campaign. If you have a Twitter hashtag or you are using Google analytics as part of your campaign, you can store the information as part of the campaign setup.

Next. you'll have the ability to select which Communications will be part of your campaign. Check off the box by each Channel type to be included. Each Campaign Communication must have an associated Channel. Not sure what a Channel is? Click here to find it in our “How to Speak Virtuous” glossary.


If you have more than one Campaign Communications for any particular channel -- for example, maybe you are doing two separate mailings -- don't worry. You will have to ability add additional Campaign Communications later.

Click NEXT to start configuring your Campaign Communications.


Configuring Campaign Communications

First, you'll have the option of including Best Practice To-Dos. This is part of the project management functionality incorporated into campaigns. For each Campaign Communication, you can create tasks for yourself or assign tasks to other users. Each task is connected to a specific step in the campaign process:

  1. Concept
  2. Creative
  3. Production
  4. In Progress
  5. Analysis

You may choose to create your own tasks to manage your Campaign Communications, or you may opt to let Virtuous create a set of tasks based on industry best practices. If you do opt to have Virtuous create tasks, be sure to select the right staff member, as all tasks will be assigned to that individual.

Then, enter a name and start date for your Campaign Communication. If necessary, you can also change the Channel. There are three description fields:

  • Description - What is the overall theme or idea behind this particular Communication?
  • Data Segment Description - Who is the intended audience?
  • Test Description - Is there any A/B testing included in this Communication?

You may choose to enter information for these fields or leave them blank -- the information is solely intended to be used by internal staff who may need to learn more about your campaign.

When creating a new Campaign Communication, the step field is set to "Concept" by default, but feel free to select another if it applies. Similar to the initial campaign setup, you'll also have the ability to enter three specific goals for this Communication:

  • Giving Goal - How much money do you need to raise with this specific Communication in order to meet your Campaign goal?
  • New Giver Goal - How many new givers do you need to acquire with this Communication?
  • Network Reach - How many contacts need to receive your message in order to achieve your goal? In your Campaign planning, you will probably have calculated this already. For example, to hit your goal, you may need to bring in 100 new givers. Looking at your past conversion rates, for every 10 people that receive an email, one actually makes a financial gift. So, you'll need to reach at least 1,000 prospects in order to convert 100 of them into givers.

For your own planning and purposes, you can also include your primary call to action for your messaging. Enter cost estimates of your internal and vendor costs for launching this particular Communication in order to calculate your success at the conclusion of your Campaign.


Finally, you may choose to select a Default Project to connect with this Communication. This means that any gifts received in response to this particular Campaign Communication should be restricted to a specific project. This is ideal for capital campaigns or any other specific initiative. In practical terms, this means that when entering gifts, only a segment code will be needed, as the Project will be automatically assigned. If gifts may be restricted or unrestricted for your Campaign, it's fine to leave the Default Project blank.

Confirm that the owner for your Campaign Communication is correct and then click NEXT to configure your remaining Communications.

Once all Campaign Communications have been set up, you will be taken to the Campaign screen, listing all Campaign Communications. Click on the blue add button in the upper right to add any addition Communications, or click on any Communication name to edit the Communication information. To the right of each Campaign Communication are three links:

  • Tasks - See the task lists for a specific Campaign Communication, enter new tasks, and edit existing tasks.


  • Creative - Upload or link to files with images and other content to be used for your Campaign Communication. Images stored here will be used in logging Campaign activity (more on that later) and provide an excellent way to collaborate on projects and archive materials for future projects.


  • Segments - The third part of the Campaign hierarchy. This deserves more than a single bullet.


Working With Segments

By default, each Campaign Communication has at least one Segment. Practically speaking, the segment is the identifying code included with a gift that ties a gift to a specific Campaign Communication, and by default, to a specific Channel and Campaign. A Communication may have several associated Segments, and typically will for mailings. Segments may be used to differentiate mailer packaging ("include a signed thank you card for anyone who has given more than $10,000 this year") or ask strings for major givers vs. smaller givers. These differences do not affect the actual messaging content of a fundraising letter or email, so they are better defined as segments of a particular mailing, rather than being tracked as a different mailing altogether.

Click on the Segments link to view all Segments for a specific Campaign Communication.

At first, you will see a single Segment that is auto-generated for an Communication. The name and code are generated by combining the first two letters of the campaign name, the month and year for the campaign, and the first two letters of the Channel. So, in the above illustration we see a Segment named "NE0816EM" because this is for the "NEw Computer Classroom Campaign," taking place in August 2016 (0816), and this Communication's Channel is "EMail."

Click on the Segment name to edit the Segment details.

When naming Segments, bear in mind that when viewing a Contact record, the Segment name is the only visible indicator of Campaign giving. For this reason, it's best to include some information about eh Campaign itself in the Segment name. For example, let's say a particular giver  -- we'll call him "Bob" -- is a recurring giver. For each mailer sent out, Bob is consistently included in the "Recurring Givers" segment, and for each Campaign Communication, the segment is named "Recurring Givers." When viewing Bob's gift history, you may see this:

Viewing this, it appears that Bob's gifts are consistently attributed to the same Campaign, when in reality, each of the entries is connected to a different Campaign -- the Segment names, however, are identical. By differentiating Segment names and including the Campaign name, even abbreviated, it can be much easier to distinguish between Campaigns in a giver's history:

Instead of using the description or criteria for a particular Segment in the Segment name itself, when editing a Segment you will see a separate Description field for just this purpose.

 The Package Code and Package Description fields are often used by direct mail vendors to ensure that the right materials are sent to each mailer recipient. They are entirely optional and may be left blank if not needed.

Once a segment is created, for outbound efforts, it should be populated with givers. Use the Query Builder to create a Contact Query that identifies the individuals for a particular segment, then save the Query with a specific name. All saved Contact Queries will appear in the "Contact Query" drop-down; select one to assign it to a particular segment. If there is no Query to associate, you may also simply specify the number of contacts included in a segment.

Once all Segments are created and Contact Queries have been assigned, click on the bars to the left of the Segment names and drag them up or down to re-order segments.

The order is important, as some givers may meet the criteria to be included in more than one Segment. For example, you may have a "Major Givers" Segment for individuals who have lifetime giving of $75,000 or more, and another Segment for "Planned Givers" that includes anyone who has made a planned gift. A Major Giver may also have made a a planned gift commitment. In this case, you'll need to decide which takes precedence; should givers meeting both criteria be in the "Major Givers Segment or the "Planned Givers" Segment? If "Major Givers" should be first, make sure it is listed in order above "Planned Givers." Then, when you run segmentation, any givers assigned to the "Major Givers" group will not be included in the "Planned Givers" group.

Once you are ready to launch your Campaign, navigate to the Segments page, click on the "Action" button in the upper right, and select "Run Segmentation and Generate CSV."


This will "lock" all Segments for this Campaign Communication, preventing any future changes. Contacts who match the selected Contact Queries will be assigned to Segments, in priority order, and then a csv file will be generated that can be provided to a direct mail or email vendor to send out your mailing.

Importing External Segmentation

Some users may prefer to conduct additional segmentation analysis outside of Virtuous. If so, you may navigate to System Configuration in the Virtuous menu and click on "Manage Imports."

On the Imports screen, look for the Project Segmentation Import in the right-hand column.

Click "Template" to download the import template. Once you've completed any external analysis and segmentation, transfer that work to the import template. You must include the Segment Name, Segment Code, Communication Name, Campaign Name, and Contact ID fields. Make sure that you have already created the Campaign and all Communications and Segments in Virtuous prior to importing.


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