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How To Create Buyer Personas For Your Nonprofit

A good fundraiser will cast their net as wide as possible because they're trying to raise a specific amount of money in a very short time. A good financier retains long-term donors so they can cast a smaller net and maximize returns.

Realistically, which picture do you think would benefit nonprofit organizations more?

Yes, you most likely are funding a handful of projects at a time, but those projects add up. Before you know it, the projects you've worked on hit double digits and your donor pool is drying up.

I Want Unlimited Warm Leads!


Have you ever wondered how big name financiers do it? Well, we're going to let you in on the secret to strategy-based donor relations and gift management. It's called buyer personas, and its changing the financial tide as nonprofits know it.

Develop "Donor Personas"

The first mistake nonprofits make is filtering their financial needs through a fundraising lens. The assumption that anyone and everyone with money will donate it to a good cause if you just keep giving them the opportunity is not only false; it's grossly ineffective.

Without a motivating catalyst, hitting everyone you meet with the blunderbuss full of fundraising pitches will continue to produce underwhelming returns. Adopt the philosophy and methods of a savvy financier and you'll begin to see the abundant fruits of purposeful labor.

Step 1: Find your intersection. Securing donor-based financing has to be strategic. You have to reach out to a select target market that the purpose of your nonprofit resonates with. How do you find these people? Look for the place where their values intersect with your mission, and you have found the first glimmers of your donor personas.

All That Glitters Is Gold: Building A Donor Persona Mold

Once you've found like-minded groups of people organize those groups based on their similarities. Specificity matters, so focus on characteristics like:

  • Demographics

  • Interests

  • Lifestyle choices

Points of commonality and patterns will start to emerge. Use these elements to construct your persona profiles. With the profiles under construction, you can develop full-fledged, productive donor personas in three additional steps:

Step 2: Ask questions. Poll a handful of your most active and loyal donors. Ask them questions about what motivates their giving, their decision making process, and favorite hobbies or hangouts.

Step 3: Create a working draft of your persona profiles. Take the like-minded characteristics and mix in a deeper understanding of each donor’s motivation and write up a detailed description, including a name for each persona.

Step 4: Practice Persona-Based Marketing. Circulate the profiles amongst your staff and strategize using exclusive marketing that resonates with each persona.

As a nonprofit, your budget is likely limited. Taking advantage of free marketing tools and centering in your target audience are two of the most efficient, cost-effective marketing strategies you can employ. And don't forget about social media!

Questions and Final Thoughts

What's your nonprofit's marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments below!

If you're struggling to create buyer personas for your organization, you aren't alone. Buyer personas can be difficult to narrow down, particularly when you target multiple groups of people.

Our Buyer Persona eBook will guide you through the process, so you can create accurate buyer personas that bring donors to your door.

Download your free copy today. 

Free Buyer Persona eBook for Business Marketing online


By anankkml, published on 07 August 2011
Stock Photo - image ID: 10052916

I Want Unlimited Warm Leads!