If your nonprofit organization is like most, you have a donor file consisting of thousands of silhouettes. You possess a handful of facts about each donor—an outline, if you will, of their faces in the form of basic contact information. Perhaps you have a few details about when they last contacted you, and how and why. At a glance, their image appears to be almost identical to nearly everyone else you have on file.
But in reality, those details are usually sufficient to recognize some core and common characteristics that could have a tremendous impact in the way you engage them. Consider three simple scenarios:
- Rachel was just added to your mailing list. Will she receive communication from you that welcomes her and shows her that you’ve noticed your new relationship?
- Joel recently benefitted from your nonprofit services (such as a recently released hospital patient, or a newly minted graduate, or a participant at a recent event). Will he hear from you in a way that endears him to your organization as a customer and potential donor?
- Kelley registered on your website last night to gain access to “members only” content. Will you follow up with her in a way that connects with her personal interests?
Rachel, Joel and Kelley represent “personas” to your organization. A persona is defined as “a role that one assumes or displays in public or society; one’s public image or personality.”