It’s been a busy few days for me at the Nonprofit Technology Conference in DC and visiting one of my amazing clients in Delaware. I’ve got lots of great posts lined up from the great sessions and conversations that I’ve had this past week, starting with today’s post.
From conversations during The Storytelling Non-Profit Virtual Conference in January to talks I’ve given at conferences this year, a recurring line I find myself speaking is, “You MUST know who you’re talking to.”
The reality is that knowing who you’re talking to – in telling stories, in fundraising and in communications – is one of the key factors in your organization’s success.
But time and time again, I hear fundraisers and communicators alike asking me how they can get to know their audience better and what to do with that information. Today we’re going to solve this issue once and for all!
Step 1: Audience Discovery
Sometimes we make a lot of assumptions about who our audience is. Mostly, we assume that they are us and that’s simply not true! It is important to go through a discovery process to get to know your real audience.
How do you do this?
You can start with the data that you have from things like past surveys and Google Analytics. Between various pieces like this, you can make a number of inferences about your audience. But at some point, you’re going to need to talk to people. Make some phone calls. Hold a few interviews with key stakeholders. These one-on-one conversations are where the gems are. You’ll hear exactly how your constituents self-identify, what nuanced language they use to talk about the cause and (most importantly) why they like your organization’s work.
Step 2: Create Your Audience Profile
Once you’ve done some discovery and have collected enough data points to start to see some trends in your audience, it’s time to create your audience profile. Your audience persona is a mock up of a fictional audience member. You give them a name, picture, life story, demographic details (from your research), etc. The goal of creating this composite is to have a really clear picture of who you’re talking to.
Scroll down the the bottom of the post for a free worksheet that you can download and use to create your audience profile!
Step 3: Use Your Profile as a Filter
After creating an audience persona, you’ll use it as a filter for each and every decision you make. Every time you create a donor communications piece or a fundraising appeal ask yourself – would this resonate with my target audience?
To give you an example of a communications piece that is spot on to the target audience, check out this video from the Rainforest Alliance.
This video is at the top of my list for great communications that speak to a narrowly defined target audience and gets results.
To help you out with your audience profile efforts, I’ve created an Audience Persona Funsheet.
Download the funsheet and fill it out to create your audience profile.
Do you have questions about creating an audience persona for your non-profit? Leave a comment below and let us know what your biggest challenge is!