Different strokes for different folks.
One of the reasons targeting is important is that it lets people know ways they can give that are relevant to them. If you communicate everything to everyone, you may annoy donors with irrelevant information.
In turn, they may unsubscribe from your communication or delete it without reading it. Targeting your campaigns well allows you to remain relevant and keep people engaged with your communication.
What types of segments will you target communication to? Like so many things, this depends on your organization and donors. You can decide what types of segments make the most sense for your donor list.
In e-newsletter services (like MailChimp) and in databases (like Salesforce), you can create profiles for each person in your audience and mark which segments they're a part of. Below are some ways you may want to target communication:
One-Time Donors vs. Recurring Donors vs. Non-Donor Friends
Your organization will be connected to people who've given at different levels of frequency. You may have some friends of the organization who aren't donors (for example, volunteers). You'll want to let them know when you're doing a big fundraising campaign-- many of them could become donors as well!
You will also have some onetime donors. These people have donated once but never been converted into recurring donors. Of course, recurring donations are a more sustainable cash flow for the organization, so you want to show this group the impact your organization is making and encourage them to commit to consistent giving. You also want to engage this group with the many ways they can give. Show them the noncash possibilities, and give them options for how they can give.
Finally, you'll have some people who give consistently. Your goal here is retention. When you communicate with these folks, you want to show sincere appreciation -- don't forget to say, "thank you!" In addition to thanking them, you want your consistent donors to know that they're investing in a worthwhile cause. Use both big picture data and stories to describe the impact you are making and show them that their money is well spent!
Demographic Differences (Geography, Age, etc.)
There are also some demographic ways to segment out your donors. For example, if you have a 5K fundraiser planned in a city, you'll only want to communicate with the people who are actually in or near that city.
With noncash giving, there are more possibilities of ways you can target individuals. For example, if you're doing a grain campaign, you'll want to target donors in rural areas who may have a farm. If you are doing a stock campaign, you may want to filter out your youngest donors who are unlikely to own stock.
Does your organization have any partners that give to you or volunteer with you? Maybe you have a partnership with a local church or civic organization (like the Rotary Club or the Junior League). Or, maybe there's a company that volunteers with you for their companywide service day.
As you develop these relationships, you will want to communicate with these organizations differently. Chances are, you have one individual contact from that organization who is your liaison to the whole group. Let that person know how they can mobilize their members to volunteer and give to your organization.