According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 “State of Nonprofit Content Marketing” – 61% of marketers are using content marketing, only 35% say they are using it effectively, and only 23% report having a written content strategy.
These numbers tell me two things. First, there’s a lot of really bad content out there. And secondly, there is a TON of room for improvement for nonprofits looking to find success with content marketing.
Let’s take the first big step in documenting your content marketing strategy by determining exactly whom you should be targeting with the content you create.
Successful nonprofit content marketers find out what people want to read, watch, or consume, and give it to them. But different people are interested in reading and watching different things, and not everyone consumes content in the same places.
So this is the big question right? How do you know what content to use and when to use it… It’s starts by creating constituent personas.
A constituent persona is a mock profile of your ideal constituent. As you can imagine, most organizations have several constituent personas. Building these personas helps marketers and fundraisers more effectively create personalized content.
Below we have three constituent personas: Corporate Cathy, Donor Dave, and Volunteer Victor. As you can imagine, they each probably consume content differently, and even respond to different styles of writing, and different content formats. They each have different backgrounds, goals, attributes, and far different reasons for being associated with your nonprofit organization.
Corporate Cathy, Donor Dave, and Volunteer Victor each represent segments of your ideal target audience. Breaking it out this way enables you to really focus on creating content that will resonate not with a thousand people, but with just Volunteer Victor, just Donor Dave, or just Corporate Cathy…it will make your writing more personal, more targeted.
Let’s look a little bit closer at Corporate Cathy, and then you can build out Donor Dave and Volunteer Victor for your organization…
Corporate Cathy – Corporate Sponsor/Partner
Corporate partnerships are a key aspect of community relationship building and fundraising support. Content can be used to create stronger ties between your cause and corporations looking to “do good.”
Background:Early 40s, Married, Caucasian Female
- Prestigious MBA
- Switched from producer role into decision maker
for corporate community relations
- Upper middle class, hard working, white collar, constantly in meetings
- Attached to iPhone 24/7 – views email through mobile
- Active on Facebook on weekends
- Values faith, empowering women, education, and giving back personally
- Grow the corporate community relations department
- Make in impact beyond just writing checks
- Passionate about giving her kids a balanced upbringing
- Take multiple vacations per year
Corporate Cathy may not be a representation of a LARGE portion of your target audience, but a very influential constituency. From this simple profile, I know what’s important to corporate sponsorship decision makers, I know when they most often check email, I know how to reach them, I already have a few content ideas based on what Corporate Cathy’s goals are.
- Short, substantive emails are a great way to share informational updates about your nonprofit with Cathy, especially since she doesn’t have a personal assistant in the philanthropic division at the business.
- Blog posts or videos providing ideas to get families involved in your cause would be something Corporate Cathy would like to consume. She wants to teach her kids good values such as service.
- When you’re making your personal presentation to her and her team, you’ll want to include things that resonate with Corporate Cathy. You’re not just asking for a check, but for a mutually beneficial partnership.
- You know Corporate Cathy will have to stand by the partnership with your cause, so it’s important that you provide Infographics and case studies to Cathy throughout the relationship with her organization to prove that their help is making a difference.
I also know content topics and mediums that would not reach Corporate Cathy very effectively. For example:
- Calling her with a pitch over the phone wouldn’t be the most effective way to reach her. She’s always in meetings and rarely has availability to answer the phone.
- Running TV commercials during the workday isn’t going to reach Corporate Cathy.
Depending on your cause and your organizational goals, the content you create for Corporate Cathy and those like her will be unique.
Now, it’s your turn. Give it a shot on Donor Dave and Volunteer Victor!
Donor Dave – Affluent Major Gift Donor
Nurturing your major gift donors and cultivating major gift prospects can pay big dividends for years to come. Profiling Donor Dave will reflect what real major donors just like him will be interested in and how they consume content.
Volunteer Victor – Millennial Volunteer
While they may not be your biggest donors, we know that volunteer supporters can have a significant impact on fundraising events. Reaching Victor and others like him will be far more effective digitally then via direct mail for example.
Constituent persona building can be time consuming, but having at least three main constituents will help you hyper focus all the content you produce for a narrow set of constituents. Using this persona building model has worked for thousands of nonprofits and businesses, and it can work for you too!
For more educational resources, visit DonorPro’s Learning Center for Nonprofit Content Marketing.
About the Author: Dan Quirk is a Marketing Specialist at DonorPro, the premier provider of nonprofit donor management and fundraising software. He is a regular contributor to DonorPro’s blog, Fundraising Pulse.