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Building Data-Driven Supporter Personas

Do you know who your supporters are?

The first step in any nonprofit communications strategy, no matter the goal, is having a solid understanding of who makes up your audience. Gone are the days of traditional communications streams of one message to one audience. It is now many-to-many: your supporters are unique individuals, and should be treated as such with content and messages that are tailored to their interests and needs.

What is persona development?

Persona development is a process that links audience research to segmented marketing strategies by humanizing your audience. Who are they as individuals? What motivates them? Why are they interested in your organization? Audience personas can help your organization be more effective in your content creation, campaigns, and constituent relations and retention – influencing hearts, minds, and behaviors in a more authentic and personalized way.

When we enter into any audience research project with a client, we approach the process in three phases:

Phase 1: Data Collection & Analysis

  • Start with the questions you ultimately want to answer about key constituent segments in order to activate them towards specific outcomes
  • Analyze your data for unifying themes and key differentiators

Phase 2: Persona Development

  • Use the trends identified in your data analysis to inform distinct persona profiles, grouped by common demographic, psychographic, and behavioral insights as well as the value proposition your organization offers to each

Phase 3: Persona Activation

  • Build out messaging, platform strategies, and conversion paths for each persona while providing a roadmap for how to reach, attract, engage and nurture each persona towards completing desired actions

As you can imagine, this can become a very involved process – but it doesn’t have to! Personas are assumptions based on data that need to be tested. If you have resource constraints, there are still opportunities to craft supporter personas that can be tested and refined over time.

Interested in learning more about our supporter persona development process, and how you could implement something similar for your organization? Watch our webinar with Salsa Labs where we do a deep-dive into audience research tactics, with practical implementation examples from organizations who are doing it well.

Supporter Persona Webinar

You’ll learn:

  • How to identify your organization’s highest impact target audiences. Determine who they are, what they care about, and what makes them unique.
  • Strategies for effective data collection and analysis for persona development
  • How to test and activate your personas through digital channels
  • Strategies for ongoing data collection, audience segmentation, and personalization to drive higher response rates and create lasting relationships with your supporters.

With the steps outlined in our webinar, you’ll have the tools you need to create your own personas. Have questions? Get in touch!



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