Who Are Your Donors & What Do They Want?

A simple method to identify nonprofit audiences and improve communication.


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In a recent blog post, 2 Things Your Donation Page Desperately Needs, I stressed the need for nonprofits to package their online asks and make the most of all of the various levers available to drive conversion.  As I have discussed this with nonprofit professionals, I have learned that many understand the need for “packaging”, but they aren’t entirely sure how to go about creating it.


In this post, I will offer some suggestions regarding identifying who your donors are and what they need/want from your organization.  I also created a worksheet to help you.  This is not a difficult process, but it is a critical first step when it comes to strategically packaging your donations.





You will want to create a separate “Needs” worksheet for each of the target audiences you can identify.  At the top of the worksheet, identify the audience and supply a brief description of it.  Keep in mind that the audience might be a segment of your individual donors, or it might be corporate supporters or media partners.


For the purpose of this exercise, let’s say that you are a food bank and that one audience description is:   Adult partners with children within a 15 mile radius of your facility.


Once you have identified a particular audience, you want to brainstorm all of the reasons it supports your mission.  Note these in the “What They Want” column.   Sticking with the scenario introduced above, the following might be good relevant examples:


 1. To help local children who are hungry 

2.  To promote family by making sure that local families have sufficient food to put on the table at dinner

3.  To help local children succeed in school by making sure they have proper nutrition


Next, move to the “What We Offer” column.  Here, identify the ways in which you meet the need(s) identified in column one.  How, do you help feed hungry children?  How to you support families?  How do you help students?  Identify specific programs or outreach that you use to engage and assist each of these specific problems.  In this case, focus on local impact, since this is part of the perceived “WANT” of your donors.


Finally, think about how you can prove that your programs have the promised impact.  Do you have specific statistics you can share?  Do you have testimonials from beneficiaries?  Do you have videos? Pictures?  Identify all of the relevant proof you can supply in column three.


Once you have completed your Needs of the Donor worksheet, you are ready to move on to Donation Packaging.  I have created a separate worksheet to guide you through the packaging process.  For more on packaging, including a downloadable worksheet and step-by-step instructions, click HERE.