Specific Audience Segments

Make Sure You Know Your Audiences Present AND Future Scared Stiff at Fundraising Day in NYGet this. When I asked a direct mail expert speaking at Fundraising Day in New York how she integrated her offline and online communications and fundraising efforts, she answered “we don’t.”

Here’s her reasoning (I’ll protect her organizational anonymity): Our donors are over 50, and they are our sole focus. They are not online[wrong], so we don’t reach out to them that way. Once in a long while we complement a direct mail campaign with an email check in, but have very few emails for this target group.[mistake]

I countered with a question on how they’re getting to know and understand folks from 20 to 50; individuals who will become 50 at some point (we all hope to get there and beyond, after all) and  who are likely to be some new communications tools that the org should be tracking.

Here’s the response I received: There’s an online team in our organization who’s handling that [building awareness and engagement]; but we operate quite independently.

A self-confessed head-in-the-sand fundraiser, not even listening to what her colleagues are learning about the folks who will very soon be among her targets. Aaagh! People who wear blinders make me crazy. They just keep themselves, and their organizations, in exactly the same place.

I advise you to be tracking all of your audiences; those you’re targeting today, and those who are likely to be there next year, or in ten years. That’s the only way to:

  • ID and become fluent in new communications tools critical to your reaching your communications goals.
  • Understand the mindset and values of coming generations, and how to shepherd “to comes” to your organization (building the next generation of your org’s supporters).

Here’s a great mini-guide for tracking where your base-to-be is today, and getting to know them, by Gen-Yer Sam Davidson:
Four Things Non-Profits (and Everyone Else) Should Know About Communicating with Gen Y

How does your nonprofit track its base-to-be? Please share your strategies via the Comment link below.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Strategy, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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Two of My Fav Original Thinkers Share Nonprofit Marketing GemsSo much great content comes my way, I just had to share a few sparklers from two folks I am continually inspired by:

1) Seth Godin urges nonprofit marketers to focus on whom you’re talking with (not your org) and the  relationships rather than the tools. He also advises that we test, test, test to find the best strategies for our organizations.

  • Get more tips and insights via the full transcript of Seth’s online discussion with Chronicle of Philanthropy readers and staff. He knows what he’s talking about. Really.

2) Allison Fine shares her research on what it means to Millennials (15-29 year olds), to have the ability to become an advocate for their cause instantly, broadly, inexpensively, and what that ability means for nonprofit communications. She found young people to be very idealistic, marinating in causes, alienated from government and public policy — in short, Social Citizens.

  • Your org has to learn how to work with Millennials most effectively if you want to move forward, and they’re incredibly savvy marketing wise. As Allison said at the close of a recent speech on her research, "If we don’t figure out how to incorporate Millennials into our nonprofit organizations, they’re just going to start their own causes, overnight, using free tools.”
  • Dig into Allison’s paper to learn more about her methodology and guidance on talking and working with Millennials, then keep up with the conversation in her Social Citizens blog.

Photo credit: abielskas

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Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Specific Audience Segments, Viral Marketing | 0 comments
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Leverage Prez Hopefuls' Understanding Of Women To Increase Your Nonprofit Marketing ImpactThe current presidential campaign madness is serving up lots of insights into effective communications.

I found Linda Hirshman’s article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine on how gender influences political choices intriguing, both as a citizen and as a nonprofit marketer. Hirshman’s frame, based on lots of poll data, is: Women, who vote in greater numbers than men do, are either voting for or against Hillary Clinton because she is a woman, and being able to appeal to female voters could be the key to her victory or loss.

Here are some outtakes on why that’s so, and how those insights can strengthen your nonprofit marketing to women:

  • Premise: Women vote to protect their interests (men vote because they enjoy politics)
    • How to work it: Noted psychologist Carol Gilligan says that women are powerfully motivated by their interests (“family, education, household, health care, war and peace, economic  opportunity”) and if you can engage them, you’re gold. Relate your issue to women’s interests, but make sure you know what you’re talking about. Test, test, test.
  • Premise: When a women holds office or runs for office, other women are more likely to be engaged in politics. Also, fewer women turn to media outlets with mainly male sources.
    • How to work it: Focus campaigns to women on women — org leaders, program participants, etc. You’ll be more likely to engage women audiences.
  • Premise: Women are more likely to have an open mind.
    • How to work it: Considering breaking multi-part marketing campaigns into more drops (via mail or email) to women. Keep trying to approach the same offering, issue or ask from different points of view.
  • Premise: Women network, organically, so already have a network (or two, or three) in place. That goes for candidates, but also for their constituencies/supporters.
    • How to work it: Pitch your “forward-to-a-friend” and other viral campaigns more specifically. Just saw a new novel marketed to women with a “buy one, get one for your best friend free” offer. These relationships count, so make use of them.

I’ll keep you posted on more presidential tips for engaging women, and other groups. Do you have any to share? Please email them to me today.

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Nancy Schwartz in Campaign Marketing Models & Tips, Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Strategy | 2 comments
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Philadelphia Orchestra Enchants Under 5s (+ Parents & GrandParents) With Sound All AroundTalk about a fun and effective way to get younger generations excited and involved, while engaging (and generating revenue from) parents and grandparents! The Philadelphia Orchestra’s (TPO) Sound All Around concerts introduce children ages 3 to 5 to the instruments of the orchestra and musical concepts through interactive presentations featuring members of the Orchestra and award-winning storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston.

Last weekend, when our daughter Charlotte and I visited my dad in Philly, he invited us to one of these 45-minute concerts. Although we’ve taken Charlotte to loads of events, most of the music has been more of the Dan Zanes variety. She loves listening to classical music and I wanted her to experience it in person.

I was absolutely amazed at rapt attention with which Charlotte and her peers listened to storyteller Charlotte and her musician friends, and equally amazed at the one to three parents and grandparents with every single child.  In addition, subscribers big and small take home the Sound All Around newsletter at every performance, with song lyrics, music-themed puzzles, concert-listener etiquette, an interview of one of the musicians of the day and recommendations for good listening. It’s definitely something I want to keep around for reference, and will continue to remind me of TPO and the series.

With Sound All Around, TPO is providing great entertainment to the community. As it does so, it’s building its fans among listeners of all ages, and reinforcing its relationship with long-standing concert goers, providing them the joy of sharing what they love with their kids and grand kids. Win win, TPO. Great nonprofit marketing.

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Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Unique Approaches | 0 comments
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Cause-Focused Conscious Consumers Seek Authenticity, Connection & Satisfaction Use New Findings to Reach, Inspire & Motivate ThemAccording to the inaugural BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, the first major study to combine field observations with a national survey on purchasing behavior and social values, increasingly conscious consumers are demanding that companies (and, by extension, nonprofits that they support) be transparent about their practices and accountable for their impact on people and the planet.

Overwhelmingly, conscious consumers demand that organizations put their money where their mouth is; in other words, “back your words with social responsible actions,” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of BBMG. Although the research focused on how the five core values impact buying decisions, they have equal impact on these folks’ choices of nonprofits to give to, volunteer for and participate with.

Here are some of the key findings from the study and a sense of they shape your ability to engage prospective donors, volunteers and participants, and maintain existing supporters:

  • Personal issues are most influential in engaging audiences: Nothing engages prospects more than connecting your organization’s work with issues they’re facing in their own lives. The study points to health and wellness issues — such as safe drinking water — as the most important ones.
  • Socially-responsible is a tag that appeals; green far less so: Structure your messaging accordingly; matching what you have to say to what’s important to your audiences (when you can do so truthfully).
  • Honesty counts — Big time: Nothing is more important to building loyal supporters than honesty about processes and practices, and keeping your word. Do it; don’t say it.
  • Make it easy: To give, join, register…just make it as easy as possible. We’re all faced with ever-increasing time constraints. So make it a pleasure for audiences to learn about your org, and to interact with you.
  • Showcase the people you work with and for, rather than focusing on your organization: Organization’s aren’t interesting; people are. Audiences want more meaningful relationships with the organizations they’re involved with, and want to know who you’re working with, what they have to say and how your work changes their lives.

“We see a trend toward ‘self-centered consciousness,” where consumers want companies to meet their personal needs and positively impact society,” says David Libensky, founder of Bagatto, an ethnographic research firm that partnered on the study.

My experience shows conscious consumers want the same from the nonprofit orgs with which they’re involved. So make it easy for your supporters to get personal satisfaction from supporting your organization — keep them up to date on how you do things and why it makes a difference, share your org’s stories and thank them, frequently and profusely.

Dig into the report’s findings for more insights about how values-driven consumers are changing the marketing landscape. There’s a lot of useful information here that will help you shape your nonprofit marketing strategy to today’s audiences.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Specific Audience Segments, Trends | 0 comments
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Media Habits of 12-24 Year-Olds vs. 25-54 Year-Olds -- Key to Shaping Your Nonprofit Marketing AgendaI just finished reading the 2007 Digital Future Report from the USC Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future, and am still digesting. Take some time to dig into the summary of findings that’ll help you shape your communications choices to today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital habits.

Here’s are some crucial takes on habits of those 12 to 24–juxtaposed with those of audiences 25 to 54–and how they’ll impact your nonprofit marketing:

Audiences 12-24

  • Will never read a newspaper but attracted to some magazines
    • So op-eds don’t reach them, at least in print
  • Will never own a land-line phone
  • Will not watch television on someone else’s schedule much longer, and much less interested in TV
    • TV ads won’t work, unless they’re part of the show (how about cause placement?)
  • Trust unknown peers more than experts/community at the center of Internet experience/want to be heard (user generated)
    • Stop ignoring social networking
  • For first time willing (2005) to pay for digital content—never before
    • Inventory your information assets and think about options for distribution
  • Little interest in the source of information and most information aggregated
  • Everything will move to mobile
    • More than advocacy and fundraising alerts, and make it interactive please
  • Use IM. Think email is for their parents

Life of a 25-54

  • Still read offline newspapers and magazines
    • Cast your op-eds to this group, boomers and seniors
  • Like mobile for voice (and a few for data) but do not see their world on mobile phones
    • I think this is going to change very soon, pay close attention to this factor
  • Aggregate information online and use RSS (though few know the term)
  • Community important for tasks, much less so for socializing
  • Trust experts on factual information but rely heavily on reviews of peers on hotels, electronics, etc
    • Start to use social networking with these folks, they’re on the path of increased reliance on audience-generated content
  • Care GREATLY about sources of news and information online
    • Nurture your brand — it’s vital for these folks
  • Heavy into email

P.S. The Center is doing a powerful job of getting attention for this report. Center staff release a nugget (aka Web Insight) from the report, with a brief explanation and summary graph, every two weeks. It’s a great way to refocus attention on findings; and to release a digestible amount of content (from a very dense report). I’m going to call it dripping (in the best sense). 

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Trends | 3 comments
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There are about 79 million Baby Boomers out there — born between 1946 and 1964 — and they’re volunteering at a rate higher than ever before. But 31 percent of those who volunteer fail to return the following year, reports a just-released study from the Corporation for National Service.

So how does your organization change this attrition rate? Clearly, you need to focus on this group of volunteers as a unique segment of your volunteer base — learning their interests, needs and patterns, how to capture their experience and energy, and what factors impact their decision to volunteer from year to year.

Most organizations treat volunteers as a single audience — and they’re no more a single audience than your donors, staff or board. Remember that Boomers:

  • Have different interests (including volunteer interests) than previous generations. The study reports that boomers are most likely to volunteer with religious organizations (which has remained consistent), however their second area of volunteer involvement is now educational or youth service organizations, rather than the civic, political, business and international organizations favored in an 1989 study.
    • Pinpoint those interests and make relevant volunteer opportunities available, presented in an engaging way.
  • Stay in the workforce longer, but have a series of jobs or professions.
    • Provide challenging, inspirational opportunities. When engaging BB volunteers, look to put their skills to use to keep them engaged while building your organization’s capacity. Win-win.
    • Seek activist working to affect change or propel a movement, not volunteers (that image of the grey-haired lady is hard to kill).
    • Make sure you position your organization in a clear and compelling way, and that staff and volunteers are consistent in how they spread the word.
  • Perpetuate the "virtuous cycle." The more hours a Boomer volunteers, the more likely she’ll continue volunteering.
    • Make sure you approach your volunteers as assets, as you do your donors and employees. The more positive experience a volunteer has, the more likely she is to keep it up.

When you take these steps, your organization will be reward with a corps of skilled, dedicated, energetic volunteers with many years to keep volunteering, and who are great prospects for giving in the coming decades.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments | 1 comment
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This is the conclusion reached by panelists at a recent discussion a recent discussion, “Standing Out in a Crowded Field: Attracting Resources to Meet the Ambitions of Today’s Social Entrepreneurs.”  The key point for us communicators is that it’s all too easy to forget communicating with key partners — these crucial conversations tend to get lost in the frenzy to reach and engage board members, donors, volunteers.

It’s a given that the way funders and nonprofits communicate with each other has gone through major changes in recent years.  Grantseekers can no longer stand on their record of good work but must effectively communications achievements and future goals. Funders have learned to be much clearer and more explicit about the nature of their giving, and what they are trying to achieve through their grantmaking.

As I see it, this shift benefits both sides of the giving equation. Grantseeking organizations gain a clearer sense of their successes and ongoing challenges in striving for stronger communications and credibility. Grantmakers benefit from a stronger sense of organizational focus, and are able to generate more qualified grant applications, that are more likely to lead to achievement of their funding goals, through more detailed, clearer communications on giving.

Read the complete report here. Listen to the complete discussion here.

Thanks to The Communications Network for the tip.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Philanthropy, Specific Audience Segments | 0 comments
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Cover your ears. Oxfam International is enacting a new strategy for global change: Think creatively, and make a big noise for fair trade.

That’s the essence of Make a BIG NOISE for Make Trade Fair, a new non-traditional media competition dreamed up by Oxfam’s New Zealand-based marketing firm. The campaign goal (and the contest is a communications strategy, to generate a broader-based campaign strategy…very meta) is to 1)move people to make trade fair by signing the Big Noise petition; and 2) to create awareness of trade issues and motivate audiences to conscious consumerism, with free trade in mind.

This is how the contest works:

  • All under-30s worldwide are invited to submit a campaign idea in support of Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign. The competition starts on December 1, 2006.
  • The winner will see her idea brought to life on a global scale across non-traditional media channels, and have the opportunity to work with some of the world’s greatest creative talent to make that happen.
  • Other partners will assist in streaming, hosting, distributing and promoting the campaign worldwide through various non-traditional channels.
  • The competition starts on December 1, 2006. Entries close on February 9th, 2007.

Oxfam’s done a great job of marrying the contest (which has a great game-oriented Web site) with a multi-faceted free trade campaign with all elements targeted to under-30 crowd. Elements include:

  • A clear, succinct creative brief on the campaign — detailing focus, objectives, target audiences, messages.
  • A forum, which will open in early December, for contest entrants and potential entrants, to submit questions and swap ideas.
  • Free-trade oriented film clips, for site visitors who want to learn more.
  • Links to other resources that will help visitors in their "quest to make the world a fairer place."

I’m looking forward to seeing the winning campaign generated by the contest, and will update you on contest news over the next couple of months.

Learn more about crafting an effective creative brief here.

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Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Specific Audience Segments, Unique Approaches, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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Network for Good has just released "The Young and the Generous," its new study about the growth in online charitable giving.

Here are a few of the highlights from the report, and how they impact your nonprofit:

  • Online giving is growing exponentially, but represents only 2-3% of total giving by individuals at this time.
    • Impact: Your organization should continue running giving campaigns via traditional and online channels.
  • Online givers are young, averaging 39.5 years old, whereas most offline donors are 55+.
    • Impact: Customize your giving messages to your targets. Online givers are likely to have different interests and motivations than your traditional giving base.
  • Online giving is the path of choice for disaster relief. Donors want to be able to respond quickly.
    • Impact: Make an extra effort — energy and budget  wise — in executing the online components of  disaster reflief campaigns. They’re more important than ever. Every time there’s a disaster, donors are online looking for a reputable organization to which to donate. Give them the information, and tools, they need to make that decision in your organization’s favor.
  • Giving online is characterized by the renowned long tail phenomenon. The usual suspects (a few, well-known nonprofits) receive half of all online donations but thousands of smaller or lesser-known organizations collectively receive the other half.
    • Impact: This is great  news for your smaller or lesser-known nonprofit. Online giving is working for you.  Its enabling you to broaden and deepen your reach, at a modest cost. Do as much as you can of it.

Read the complete report for several other findings relevant to your nonprofit’s giving program.

Nancy Schwartz in Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Specific Audience Segments | 0 comments
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