Face it … not everyone cares about your cause — and there’s not much you can do about it.
"There are always going to be people that are more interested in shoe shopping than what you have to say," says Kivi Leroux Miller.
The president of EcoScribe Communications and keeper of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com addressed the importance of honing in on the appropriate audience for your messaging in the April webinar, "Forget the General Public! How to Define Your Audience."
"You've got to get beyond this idea that you're just doing general outreach or awareness raising," Miller said. "It's a waste of money. Focus on your target audience, the people in the crowd who really are interested in what you have to say."
Look at your target audience, ideal supporters, likely clients, people you want to reach and groups most likely to need you, and determine the common elements that tie them all together. By focusing on people who are really interested in your cause, it will be much easier to make decisions about language, imagery and format, she said.
At a minimum, most nonprofits have two audiences: clients and donors. But most have multiple audiences, some of which include funders, volunteers, advocates, decision makers, policy makers and the media.
Miller told attendees to focus on specific groups, as behaviors by a lot of "individuals within a group are what bring about real change."
To determine what sets one group apart from another, Miller recommended organizations work to understand and visualize the different personas that make up its typical supporter groups and ideal members it wants to add going forward.
To help visualize personas, think about shared characteristics. Some of the characteristics that can be used to group people together are:
- Demographics — gender, age, ethnicity, income, education, hobbies, employment, family status, affiliations, religion, ownership (home, etc.), location, likes/dislikes
- Behaviors — What do they do now? What don't they do? Are they doing the right thing — i.e., the behavior you want them to follow through on — but not regularly or in the right place?
- Stages of change — Miller listed these stages as precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance and relapse prevention.
Groups who typically volunteer and donate can be broken into four categories:
- Retired, but still active
- Those who are building their resumes
- Those giving back
- Those who want to save the world