Know Your Donor and Boost Response with Psychographics – Powerful Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations
By Karen Zapp
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ZAPP Nonprofit Leader
Copy that inspires larger donations, motivates more advocacy, or spurs
greater response of any kind begins with knowing your donor,
your prospect, your audience. That's why a fundamental rule of
writing strong copy is . . . "Know Thy Audience."
doesn't refer to mere demographics or geographic segments of
the population. Deep,
powerful knowledge of your audience comes from psychographics. Their
desires, fears, beliefs, frustrations, interests, and past donating
So how do you get to know them? What are the tools that reveal
donor thinking and psychographics?
Study complaint letters you
receive. They usually reveal a great deal about your donor's
expectations and feelings. Study any
letters from donors and prospective donors.
the mailing list data card. Begin near the top of the
card. Here is a useful description of what the prospects have
responded to or donated to in the past. Next is the profile
data. I recommend
you be skeptical of this information. Finally, the golden data on the card comes from the usage
history. These are "competitors" who
have used the list for continuous runs.
Take a close look at who else is successfully using the list. Study
their web sites, publications, and copies of their mailings. Learn
about their mission as it compares to yours. All this reveals
insight into what emotions motivate the donors.
Talk to your
major donors. Have someone in your organization in a high
position make the phone call – such as the Executive Director,
Director of Development, or possibly someone on the board.
First thank them for their generosity. Then ask them a few questions
about why they give to your mission. What do they like best
what you're doing? I strongly recommend making these calls. Do
what they do. Check out the magazines, books, newsletters,
web sites, ads, and products targeted for your donors and
prospects. Examine them and get a feel for what's working.
with this knowledge you can "become" the donor or prospect. You
understand how they think and what they think about. You know their beliefs;
what keeps them awake at night; and what they respond
to. And this is the foundation
for great copy that hits your donor's hot button ... triggers an emotional
reaction ... and motivates them to act – to donate. Your
fundraising efforts will improve when you know your donors and
you write copy that resonates with them based on this knowledge.
If you have a specific question about donor psychographics that I haven't covered, please send it to me here and I'll address it in a future issue of my newsletter - the ZAPP Nonprofit Leader. Or if there's anything at all . . . please let me know how else I can help you with your fundraising.
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