You already know better than to design communications for the general public, right? So, how do you prioritize your nonprofit’s many audiences – and understand them? This is what we’ll discuss at the May 2016 #NPMC Twitter chat for nonprofit communicators.

Why prioritizing audiences is important

No nonprofit has the resources to actually reach “everyone” and if you’re honest with yourself, you know that certain audiences are more essential to reach than others.

Besides, effective communications can only be planned and designed when created for a specific audience. You need to understand your audience, where to find them and their most pressing needs and concerns. And when you design communications for a specific audience, you’ll feel more empowered to:

  • Identify gaps in your existing marketing plan
  • Make the case for a certain tactic, group of tactics or creative approach
  • Advocate for budget
  • Measure effectiveness and return on investment

How do you prioritize your nonprofit’s audiences?

What questions do you review to determine your priority audience for each campaign or communication? How do you decide where to focus? Some questions you might be considering:

  • How critical is the audience to achieving your goals (established communications goals or overarching corporate strategic goals)?
  • Do you have the channels, partners and insights required to effectively reach this audience?
  • How receptive will this audience be to your message?
  • For which audiences can you plan short-term campaigns/tactics and which will require long-term relationship building?
  • Are there other, potential ripple effects of reaching this audience and getting them to take action?
  • Will the results be worth the effort?

Where do you find insights about your audience?

Once you’ve selected your priority audiences, how do you learn more about them? How do you deepen your understanding of your audiences enough to create meaningful, relevant communications? You might, for example:

  • Create marketing personas
  • Draw upon existing internally-conducted research such as reviews, evaluations or reader surveys
  • Mine your existing database/CRM
  • Set up one-on-one interviews
  • Monitor and research conversations your audience is already having on social media
  • Review or procure externally-conducted research such as census data or omnibus studies
  • Conduct keyword research to understand what terms and phrases matter to your audience
  • Study your organization’s website analytics, including demographics, traffic sources and what they do once they are there

Let’s talk about your nonprofit’s audiences at #NPMC chat

Who are your nonprofit’s audiences and how do you prioritize them in your communications planning? How do you unearth insights about your audiences to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns or tactics? How do you keep the “general public” bad habit at bay?

Bring your questions and insights to #NPMC Twitter chat on Thursday, May 26, 1:00 p.m. ET. Follow the #NPMC hashtag on Twitter.

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira