Inbound Marketing

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Donor Personas

Photo of Jasmine LeBlanc Jasmine LeBlanc - February 9, 2018

I’m sure you’ve heard of a creating a donor persona for your nonprofit’s marketing strategy before, but did you understand why or how to incorporate them? You’re very passionate about your cause, so it may be hard to understand why someone wouldn’t want to donate to your cause all the time! Other people are also passionate about your cause and would love to donate; you just have to find out their preferences and focus on reaching them accordingly.

We’ll go through the basics of donor personas and discuss why it’s essential for your nonprofit to define them.

What Are Donor Personas?

Donor personas are semi-fictional portrayals of your ideal donors. You identify these personas through key factors such as longest lifetime givers, highest annual giving, etc. Basically, your donor personas are the people you expect to engage with your organization and contribute to your cause.

You can have more than one! Meaning that perhaps there are two or three different types of people who would be likely to donate to your organization. To keep it simple, start by identifying one donor persona for your nonprofit.

Why Do I Need a Donor Persona?

Your nonprofit needs to define a donor persona because your marketing strategy needs structure! Even if you already receive a steady flow of donations, you have the opportunity to increase your donations by identifying what your current donors have in common and what inspires them to give.

Donor personas provide tremendous structure and insight that will help you determine where to focus your fundraising and event marketing efforts. They help you understand your target donor audience better and make it easier for you to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and ultimately donors to your organization.

Think about it, how can you effectively reach more high value or recurring donors if you don’t know what their interests are, where they go to find information about your cause or donating in general, and even what websites or physical locations they frequent?

How Do I Establish a Donor Persona?

Creating a donor persona for your nonprofit requires a bit of research, but it’s worth it. To make sure you’re covering all the bases, check out our post on how to create a donor persona profile. Here’s some quick tips on how to establish a donor persona:

  • Identify your highest value donor

Decide if receiving a large donation one time or recurring smaller donations is more beneficial for your organization. Be sure to select one that will make your goal and growth planning manageable. In all likelihood, having a larger quantity of small and steady monthly donations coming in will help your organization plan for long-term growth. If so, when you are building your donor persona’s profile, be sure to identify a donor with the ability and passion to donate to your organization consistently.

  • Conduct donor persona research

This is the most important part! You are going to discover common threads in your donor persona’s traits through interviewing or surveying your current donors. Ask questions that will inform you of what inspires them to give. Also, find out how they prefer to find and consume your content. After reaching out to your current donor base, search for more information with demographic and interest insights from your social media accounts. These can provide you with an abundance of details about your target audience.

  • Include relevant information in donor persona profile

After doing your research, how do you decide what details to include in your donor persona’s profile? For starters, you should include information on your donor persona’s background, demographics, identifiers, and real quotes they gave during your interviews. Then you’ll need to include your persona’s goals and challenges and answer how your organization can help them achieve and overcome those. Find out how they narrow down and decide which nonprofit to contribute to and any reasons they may have to not donate to your cause.

What Do I Do After Developing a Donor Persona?

First, give yourself a round of applause! You successfully researched and defined a donor persona for your nonprofit’s marketing strategy.

Next, take these preliminary steps into incorporating your donor persona into your marketing strategy:

  • Create engaging content for your donor persona

The reason it’s essential to know your donor persona’s traits is because you have to know how to create engaging content and when and how to deliver it. For example, is your donor persona always on the go? Send them short and sweet success story emails that they can easily read on their phone. If they’re active on social media, use their preferred social media platforms to share updates with them. Just remember, donors want to know that their contribution had an impact and showing how your organization is using their funds is one way to do that.

Some key points to keep in mind about engaging content is that storytelling is key and that content isn’t just limited to text. If your donor persona responds well to pictures and videos rather than text, then visually appeal to them through before-and-after photos or success story videos. Let them know how your organization was able to achieve something great due to the generosity of your donors.

It’s also important to be as transparent as possible with your donors. Let them know where their money is going and how you used it through a clear breakdown of your financial reports. They should know where their contribution goes specifically.

This content will make your donors feel good about their contribution. If they feel good about it, then they will feel encouraged to donate again and to spread the word about your cause!

  • Communicate with current and potential donors on their preferred platform

When you were researching information about your donor persona, you uncovered how they find and consume your content. Use their preferred platforms to stay relevant to your current donors and intrigue your potential donors! Communicate with them by thanking them, informing them of upcoming events, or requesting donations. By maintaining a relationship with your donor persona, in a way that’s convenient to them, you’re boosting your chances of increasing donations for your nonprofit.

  • Plan events and fundraisers based on your donor persona’s interests and demographics

Now that you know more about your donor persona’s lifestyle and what inspires them to give, you can plan events and fundraisers that align with their interests and demographics. For example, if your donor persona enjoys spending time outdoors doing activities such as walking or hiking, then you can create a walk-a-thon fundraiser. This would appeal to them because they’d be doing something they enjoy while giving back to a cause that they love.

Since you now have your questions about donor personas answered, you can see why it’s essential to create them. Donor personas make it easier to plan content and events with a specific goal and in the end, attract the right people to your organization.