Nonprofit Audience Personas

Thanks to See3 for sharing this useful case study, originally published on the See3 blog.

Learn more: Create personas to bridge the gap with your target audiences

Many nonprofits fall into the trap of believing that their audience is the general public, when the truth is that your supporters are much more nuanced than that.  By putting together a comprehensive profile of your audience, your nonprofit is better able to create personalized content that speaks to your audience and drives them to action.


Guest Blogger in Audience Research | 0 comments
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RobOur newest guest blogger, Rob Wu is CEO of CauseVox, a nonprofit crowdfunding and peer-to-peer fundraising platform  for nonprofits. 

You know it, and I know it. Connecting with your audience is harder than ever. And that means more of your org’s messages than ever before are ignored or deleted.

So how do we cut through the noise? And how do we motivate donors to donate and supporters to take action? We have to make our messages relevant.

That’s right-things, right-now marketing and I’m thrilled to introduce you to our Empathy Map tool to help you get there!

Note from Nancy: This Empathy Mapping technique is the perfect complement to developing personas—learn how to do that here. Then put your results together and you’ll have a 360-dgree profile of the folks you want to engage. That’s right-things, right-now marketing, and that makes you a  5-star messenger!

Guest Blogger in Right-Things Right-Now Marketing | 15 comments
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I’m pleased to welcome back guest blogger, Kimberlee Roth, one of our team’s valued writers. Kim also writes for the Chicago Tribune and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among other publications, and is author of Surviving a Borderline Parent.

As a writer, I hear these complaints all time: “I never know where to start”; “I don’t know what to say”; or “I know what I want to say, but I can’t seem to find the right words.”

Guest Blogger in Writing | 2 comments
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A huge part of what I love about guiding nonprofit communicators to greater impact is seeing the “aha moment.” I witnessed a great one last week while presenting the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop in Seattle last week, with Kivi Leroux Miller.

DD Coutts, Vice President of Development at Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation was among the terrific group of energized workshop participants. During the segment on getting to know your target audiences, DD had an “aha moment” that will make all the difference in her ability to connect effectively with the very folks who can help move the Foundation’s mission forward.

She had been identifying the Park’s visitor base — the ideal source for volunteers now and donors later — as families but realized, with our guidance, that this broad category didn’t give her the insight she needed to connect with them. There are just to many kinds of families, varying in size, interests, available time, motivation for using the park and other dimensions.

Here’s how DD moved forward to group (a.k.a. segment) her target audiences into three distinct groups that use the park:

  1. Families with young children
  2. Families with older children
  3. Immigrant families

This segmentation led to DD’s next insight — that each group uses the park in different ways. She named and described the segments as follows:

  1. Nibblers: Families with young children. Tend to stay on the periphery of the park and visit for brief periods.
  2. Explorers: Families with older children. Explore the complete park, spend more time there.
  3. Celebrators — Extended families, usually immigrants. Use the park as a gathering spot.

You see how much more useful these segments are, enabling DD to take the next step to profile a persona within each segment — an individual or two who epitomize the segment. Your personas show you what your primary audiences’ wants and habits are, so you know how to pinpoint where your organization’s wants overlap with them. That’s the sweet spot for marketing success!

Kudos to DD for going beyond the obvious!

P.S. Learn more on how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the Getting Attention Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Audience Research | 0 comments
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audience researchI’m fascinated by the Russian spy ring’s attempt to  extract U.S. secrets. They counted on their ability to burrow deep into typical American life to develop their understanding of the U.S. government’s goals and strategies.

One of their primary strategies in doing so –  knowing their “audience,”  the neighbors and other folks who had to believe they were just “regular folks” – is the key to advancing your nonprofit’s marketing impact. In your case, it’s an absolute must for strengthening the relationships with your current and prospective donors, advocates, volunteers and more that are the foundation of effective nonprofit marketing.

The goal

To understand your audiences well, in order to find the intersection of their wants and needs and those of your organization. That intersection is where connection happens, followed by engagement.

The spies had their audience down cold

“A neighbor of the Murphy family described them as “suburbia personified. Richard Murphy mowed the lawn; Cynthia Murphy came home from work…with daffodils and French bread in her hands.

“Relatives, friends, classmates, neighbors and co-workers of the three couples expressed shock at the arrests, and they searched their memories for signs that something was amiss, but mostly came up blank,” according to a story in today’s New York Times.

Clearly, the spies and their colleagues back at Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service had thoroughly studied these communities for the spies to embed themselves so successfully there.

Read the full article to learn how to get to know your audience without putting espionage to work

Trench coat, anyone?

P.S. Learn more about personas here: Create Personas to Bridge the Gap with Target Audiences

Nancy Schwartz in Audience Research, planning | 0 comments
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