Your Audience Isn’t Everyone

Have you or someone in your organization ever said “We want everyone to know about us.” Everyone, really?  I hate to break it to you, but EVERYONE is not interested in your organization, even though you may be doing great work.

Kivi Leroux Miller of Nonprofit Marketing points out there is no general public, and when you try to reach out to everyone, you reach out to no one.

In addition, just saying you want people to know about you (e.g. raising awareness) is a vague goal.  You need a call to action, such as donating, volunteering, contacting your legislator, or attending an event. With a clear call to action,you will also raise awareness.

Who is your audience?
Take some time to put together audience profiles or personas.  You can survey or interview your supporters, or just put together a profile to the best of your knowledge.  The more accurate you can make it, the better.

Here is more information on putting together audience personas.

Make a point to get to know your audience.  Listen to what they have to say about you.  Social media is a great platform for that.  

Communicating with your audience
Once you figure out who your audience is, visualize yourself communicating with them, or better yet, with one person.  Your messages should meet their needs and interests.

Remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Messages to donors will be different from messages to volunteers.  Come up with content which will persuade that group to take action. Create clear, concise, conversational, and compelling messages.  The 4 Cs of Writing Good Content
Your audience is a great resource
As you plan to find new donors, volunteers, and other supporters, you usually don’t have to look very far.

How many people who subscribe to your mailing list and follow you on social media are donors?   If they aren’t, they are great candidates to become ones.  Much more so than people who don’t know you.

Your volunteers are potential donors and your donors are potential volunteers.

Also, social media makes it easy for supporters to share information such as attending events, volunteering, and even donating with their friends.

You often don’t have to go far to find new supporters.

Track your audience
Of course, you will need to expand your audience and your best bet is people who will be most likely to support your cause.

Keep track of how your audience responds.  Who donated to your annual appeal?  Was it current donors, mailing list subscribers, or event attendees?  Who is more likely to volunteer – seniors, people in faith communities or colleges students?

Keep this in mind as you seek to expand your audience.

Finding an audience through media coverage
Getting media coverage is not as essential for publicity as it was in the past.  Now you can also communicate the same information via your website and social media.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek media coverage.  But plan carefully.  Besides coming up with a newsworthy story, choose publications that will be most likely to publish it and ones that have a similar audience.  Sometimes small and local will bring you better results.

Always remember that your audience isn’t everyone.  The more you know who your audience is and can create messages they will respond to, the more successful you will be.

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