Creating User Personas for Nonprofits

First, I would like to apologize if it seems that I haven’t been posting regularly, it is because I’ve been extremely busy. I haven’t been busy in the sense that life is getting hard, I’ve been attending conferences and talks to bring new information that I can relay back to my readers.

Last weekend I attended WordCamp Miami, a 2-day conference at Florida International University entirely dedicated to the users, designers, and developers that use WordPress. The experience was amazing to say the least. Within the conference, I learned so much pertaining to how websites should look and behave, how to empower businesses with different web based tools, and how to become an expert at what you do. I am going to recap one of my favorite takeaways from WordCamp so that we all can become better at what we love doing, marketing for nonprofits!

Some Social Influencers, my intern-in-crime Rachel, and myself at WordCamp Miami

Who Is Your Best Customer?

Recently, I had my weekly call with Diane of Girls of the Run Palm Beach, one of the nonprofit organizations that I oversee for the Cause Marketing Project. We were discussing blogs that our students had written for her, but no matter what, we couldn’t figure out who the blog was supposed to be for? Parents of the girls in her program? Random donors? Volunteers? I finally asked her, “Who typically gives your program donations?” A sort of epiphany arose, and she told me that single women with no kids, between the age of 23-45 donate the most because the idea of empowering young girls resonates deeply within them. I was ecstatic to hear that she finally figured out who she was going to be marketing to, but I was also slightly disappointed that it came so late into the semester.

Very often, we find ourselves trying to market our nonprofit to everyone, like Diane and Girls on the Run. While it can bring a lot of eyeballs to your nonprofit’s website, you are likely not gaining any traction (or donations) from this method. This is due to a lack of usability and relatability amongst your donors. You are more likely to get donations when you cater to the needs and wants of people that are most like your best donors/volunteers.

User Personas

A best practice to help make sure that your nonprofit’s website is catering to your target audience is by creating a user persona. A user persona is a fictional representation of your ideal “consumer.” Having this representation helps in influencing the design and features of your website to best meet the consumer’s needs. With user personas, both demographics and psychographics are taken into consideration.

table of demographics and psychographics

How To Create A User Persona

For anyone creating a user persona, I highly recommend using the Xtensio User Persona Creator. It does a very thorough job of taking demographic and psychographic information and curating the perfect consumer (Tutorial Here).

(Screenshot of Xtensio User Persona Creator)

Once you have your perfect donor/volunteer, you can then create websites and other types of campaigns that will appeal to them and you will not have to make as much effort in marketing your nonprofit online.

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