A growing body of research has found that while the total amount of dollars being donated continues to grow, the number of individuals donating money is shrinking (Vital Signs, 2018). With fewer donors overall, those who are still giving prove more valuable than ever, and we need to double down on our efforts to create a strong supporter experience to retain the donors we have.

At its core, our ability to do this is rooted in our capacity for building strong relationships. The more we can understand our supporters and tie them to the causes they care about, the more we can sustain progress and cultivate lasting results. To build those kinds of meaningful relationships, we must learn about our supporters on a fundamental level. What are their passions? What are their beliefs? How do they want to be engaged?

Of course, all fundraisers wish they could devote time and attention to every individual to cultivate a strong one-on-one relationship. But when you have thousands and sometimes millions of records in your system, this simply isn’t possible.

Enter personas: Personas are data-driven but fictionalised representations of your supporters. They describe the demographics of your core supporter segments, but personas can also describe your supporters’ motivations, channel preferences, and even personal details like hobbies. All this information can give you a fuller picture of your donors beyond just the dollar amount they gave.

Building personas allows you to develop an understanding of these core segments and engage with them in a more personal way, recreating many of the benefits of one-on-one communication while still allowing you to efficiently communicate across your donor file. Personas also allow you to more effectively segment the highest-impact supporters who need your team’s individualised time and attention the most. With this information, you can gain a deeper understanding of your supporters and incorporate it into everything you do, from the donation appeals you write to the ways you share donation receipts to the very channels you use to engage constituents.

The Blackbaud Institute has created an eBook examining what personas are and how you can use them to connect with your highest-impact supporters through personalised engagement strategies.

The eBook covers:

  • What data-driven persona models can do for your organisation
  • Key demographic and inclination indicators that you can use to segment your donors
  • Recommendations for using personas across your entire organisation—not just in the development office
  • How to include persona models in your organisation’s strategy to create a more complete picture of your supporters

Download the eBook now to learn more.

About The Blackbaud Institute

The Blackbaud Institute drives research and insight to accelerate the impact of the social good community. It convenes expert partners from across the philanthropic sector to foster diverse perspectives, collective thinking, and collaborative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.

Using the most comprehensive data set in the social good community, the Blackbaud Institute and its partners conduct research, uncover strategic insight, and share results broadly, all in order to drive effective philanthropy at every stage, from fundraising to outcomes. Knowledge is powering the future of social good, and the Blackbaud Institute is an engine of that progress. Learn more, sign up for our newsletter, see the latest quarterly statistics on giving, and check out our most recent resources at www.blackbaudinstitute.com.

About Blackbaud

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB) is the world’s leading cloud software company powering social good. Serving the entire social good community—nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions, and individual change agents—Blackbaud connects and empowers organisations to increase their impact through software, services, expertise, and data intelligence.

The Blackbaud portfolio is tailored to the unique needs of vertical markets, with solutions for fundraising and CRM, marketing, advocacy, peer-to-peer fundraising, corporate social responsibility, school management, ticketing, grantmaking, financial management, payment processing, and analytics. Serving the industry for more than three decades, Blackbaud is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, and has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit https://www.blackbaud.com.au/, or follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.