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How Donor Profiles Improve Nonprofit Marketing

How Donor Profiles Improve Nonprofit Marketing

Building better relationships with donors starts with understanding their behavior.   You’ll improve your marketing as a nonprofit when you can profile your donors. 


What do you know about your supporters? Do you know where they shop or whether they go to church? Do you know if they have children? Can you name their college alma mater?


If you’ve read our Introduction to Donor Profiles article you know that it’s important to identify and understand the behavioral makeup of your donors. Without donor profiles, you may be sending out the wrong message to the supporters who could help you the most.


How profiles help


Have you found it difficult to get repeat donations? Is there a group of generous donors who just don’t seem to respond to your requests? Information from their group profile can shed light on the problem.


That’s because well-defined donor profiles help you understand the giving behaviors and motivations of your supporters. When you understand your donors and what drives them to take action, you can determine the most effective way to communicate to each group.


Understanding interests and intent


When you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone you know well, all you have to do is visualize him or her while you shop. You understand them, especially what motivates them. Can you do that with your donors?


When you know what motivates your supporters, you can market to them with messages that fit into their worldview. Use insights you get from donor profiles to find ways to communicate with groups using subjects that resonate with them.


For example, if your profile shows that your ideal donors are married women with children who prefer to consume information online, you could send an email communication that appeals to their familial sensibilities.


If your profile shows that your ideal donor is a high-powered professional man who prefers to receive information on paper and is motivated to give for philanthropic reasons, you could send a direct mailer that appeals to his humanitarian nature.


Download a Free Donor Profiles Cheat Sheet.

Find the best places to communicate with them


When you know the backgrounds of your donor groups, you also know where they spend their time. Is it online? Do they listen to radio on the way to work? The group that lives on Facebook needs a different marketing message than those who are getting updates from the radio. When you know your donors as personas, you’ll know what message to deliver and how to deliver it. You’ll snag their interest—and their donation.



Where can we find more people like you?


Knowing the makeup of your best supporters means you know the behavioral characteristics of people just like them. So how do you find them? These new donors are likely friends and associates of your existing donors.


Your donor profiles will tell you which existing contributors give, and why, which helps you pinpoint new people just like them. Find affiliations by using the data you have on your existing donors.  Market to these potential donors in the places where you know they spend their time. Send shareable material to your current donors so they can get their friends to support your organization.


What’s important to them, not you


Knowing the shared priorities of your profile groups helps you market to their motivational action points. Some of those insights can help you sidestep turning them off. Put political affiliations near the top of your list.


The key to relevant communication with your profile groups is just that. Relevance. Your marketing strategy should focus on what drives them to action. Do you have a profile group that has a high percentage of either young children or grandchildren? Integrate how your nonprofit benefits young ones.


And speaking of grandparents, look at how you market to these profile groups. Do they use Instagram or Snapchat? What’s their response to email? Maybe you should consider a larger font size or whether it’s a good idea to even try to reach this profile online at all. The United States Postal Service still delivers direct mail Monday through Saturday.


What other organizations do your donors support? npENGAGE reports that the average donor supports just three charities. The recipients of their giving usually tend to have a similar focus or mission. The more you know about what’s important to them, the more relevant you can make your marketing message.


Need help creating donor profiles? Check out our how-to guide to help you get started with donor profiles.