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Nonprofit marketing: how to identify your audience


In our previous publication, we shared the best practices for nonprofit websites and one of them was especially important for NGO marketing.

Moreover, it is essential for every type of industry: identify your audience. That is why today we’ll share a very useful technique that will allow you to start identifying your audience and therefore enhance your NGO’s website content.

Ok, you already have your NGO’s website set up and running, and you have some first visits. But…

Do you already know your audience?

Do you know what they like?

What they want to know about your NGO?

Why are they clicking on your NGO’s website?

One of the most used techniques in digital marketing for NGOs

It is known as “User Persona” and basically consists of creating a character, with name, a short biography, and even a photo. This element allows you to create groups of your audience based on their common characteristics. (Learn more about “User Persona”)

How to do it?
It’s not that complicated. The objective here is to identify common characteristics among your audience and identify their needs. Sit down with the staff and do some brainstorming. These are some questions that can guide the activity:

Who is your nonprofit working for?
What kind of people may be interested in supporting your project?
Who would read the content of your NGO’s website?
If your NGO has clients, do you find similar characteristics among them?
Do you already have donors? Who are they? Can you spot any trend?
Who was your first customer?

There is not just one answer for each question, indeed, there surely are several answers for each question. It is expected. An NGO does not work with only one type of person, it has many people with different characteristics. This is what is known as an audience.

After having some answers to these questions, work by making groups. Identify at least 3 types of people, or clients, that share similar characteristics to each other. And, for each group, picture a character that meets those characteristics, name it and identify it.

For example…

After brainstorming, an NGO CEO developing reusable diapers identified that his audience is divided into 3:

Moms, environmentalists, and health workers.

Now, the director of that NGO, decides to begin working with mothers and chooses, for that group, Carolina Martinez as a name. Creating names for a character is very useful because it allows you to remember its characteristics and guide the content to be created.

For the human brain, it is much easier to remember people compared to just numbers or data.

After having your “persona”, you must identify which are the personal tastes of that group, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what are them interested in. Also, create a biography for that person and even try to download a photograph and assign her a face.

Following the example of the nonprofit working with reusable diapers and their client, Carolina Martinez, we already know that she is a mom.

This allows us to infer certain characteristics such as:

She is interested in issues related to the care of her newborn.
Being a person interested in diapers, we know that her child, or children, are young children who still need diapers.
Also, we can infer that she only wants to buy products that do not threaten the health of her baby. It is essential for her to know that these diapers are safe.

With these simple data, the CEO of our nonprofit knows that he can create content related to the safety specifications of his diapers and that Carolina Martinez, one of his characters, will be interested in that content. (You may be interested: My brand stands out from others, how do I make it happen?)

It is important to understand that at this point many of the answers are based on the intuition and experience of your nonprofit staff. The real challenge is how to validate this data and that is a topic that we will work on in a next publication.