“Target audience” is such a marketing phrase. Unless you really understand the ins and outs of marketing, content, and design, it can be hard to grasp why you even need to identify a target audience. You’re a nonprofit. You want to target people who will support your nonprofit. End of story.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.

We’ve talked about the impact of knowing your target audience and the role audience plays in content creation for you nonprofit. Today, we’re going to take a step back and focus on how to even begin sifting through the pile of important people you consider your target audiences.

Identifying Goals

Prioritizing your target audiences is actually pretty simple. You really only need to ask yourself one question: What is your nonprofit’s No. 1 goal?

It’s that easy.

Goals are going to vary from nonprofit to nonprofit. Your organizational goals may even change over time. That’s okay. Your goals will help you focus in on the people that matter most to your nonprofit right now.

Have three goals that are top priority for your nonprofit right now? Have one goal that involves a few different groups of people? Both are fine. It’s okay to have a handful of target audiences—you just don’t want or need 12 of them.

Prioritizing Your Audiences

You can’t prioritize everyone. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. Some groups of people are just going to be more important than others.

Your organization’s different audiences represent the different goals and interests of your nonprofit. Once you’ve prioritized those different pieces of what makes your organization tick, it will be much easier to nail down who actually matters most.

Whose participation do you need to reach your goal? These are the people that matter most. These are the people you want to focus on reaching.

Your Target Audiences

It’s impossible for me to tell you who you should be targeting as your top audiences—every nonprofit is different. But, as long as you align your target audience with your most important goals and who those goals require action from, you should be able to focus in on the right people.

Your target audiences inform everything. They determine what you say, how you say it and where you say it. To strategically and effectively use these target audiences moving forward, you need to make them real. You need to get inside the head of someone from each of these groups. This is where audience personas come in.

Audience personas help you refine your marketing strategy, your approach to everything from the blog content you write to the campaigns your run, and so much more. Sound like something you’re interested in creating? Get started with our sample persona and checklist.

Download Our Target Audience Persona Checklist

Creating target audience personas is a crucial step in your nonprofit marketing. Get started with our full checklist of questions for persona development.

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Has your nonprofit spent time thinking through the different audiences you’re targeting? What tactics did you use to determine which groups were most important? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.