GivingTuesday Strategies for Success | #2: Define Your Audience

Welcome to our second installment of the GivingTuesday: Strategies for Success blog series!

In the previous post on setting clear goals and objectives, we discussed how to use SMART Goals for your GivingTuesday campaign.

In this post, we’ll talk about how to define your audience to achieve your campaign goal. Going through the process of understanding your audience will allow you to determine the appropriate communication strategy and make sure that your message resonates with the right people.

Align Your Audience To Your Goal

Your GivingTuesday target audience is the group of individuals you want to reach based on the goal you have set for your campaign. Your clearly-defined goal will help you identify who you want to reach through your GivingTuesday efforts.

For instance, if you’re looking to kickstart a monthly giving program for a “Save the Animals” campaign, you may choose to target your existing one-time donors or other long-time supporters.

Build Your Audience Profile Using Personas

The most effective way to define the audience for your GivingTuesday campaign is to start by establishing an audience profile using a donor/supporter persona.

Personas are fictional representations of your target donor or supporter. They will help create a picture of your audience to use as a reference point as you craft the right communication strategy for them. When your audience feels as if you are speaking to them directly, and to the cause they care about, you are more likely to get more engagement from them through your communications.

Whether it is simply a set of bullet points or a complete table of facts, your supporter personas should cover information into categories about who they are, what they think, why they think that way, and how they interact/engage with causes.

Personas are created through research, using online surveys and interviews with your current supporters and target individuals. A persona’s profile is split across multiple categories.

Supporter Persona Categories:

Who They Are (Demographic information)

  • Age
  • Employment
  • Income bracket
  • Marital/Family status and life stage
  • Geographic location

Gathering demographic information is a great place to begin drafting your persona because it’s easy to obtain through surveys and creates a clear overview of a person.

What They Think and Why (Motivations/Frustrations)

  • What values/interests do they have?
  • What causes do they support?
  • What are their attitudes/frustrations towards causes?
  • What is their motivation for giving?
  • What problems do they want to help solve?

This information will help you better understand what inspires your target supporter, and who they actually are. It will be important to understand the “why?” behind each of the answers to these questions.

How They Interact With Causes (Behaviors)

  • Relationship with the charitable sector (e.g. long-time donor, prospect, volunteer, board member, or lapsed donor)
  • Giving history
  • Past campaign engagement (e.g. through an event, on social media, or by visiting website)
  • Communication preferences

If you have access to donor management software or a supporter database, you may already have this information available. For our “Save the Animals” fundraising campaign, we should be able to answer the following questions based on information available in our donor database:

  • How much have we raised from a particular donor in the past?
  • What is the average donation amount?
  • Where are my top donors located and how much have they donated?

You’ll need to conduct interviews over the phone or in-person to gather the below information across these categories.

This information will help you better understand what they’ve done in the past, and their past relationship with charitable giving. It will also guide you on how to reach out to them with your campaign message.

How many interviews?

In order to collect the information you need to build your GivingTuesday personas, you’ll need to conduct some interviews.

Start by reaching out via email or telephone and scheduling interviews with at least 3-5 individuals. You’ll need to be clear with them that you are only looking for feedback, not soliciting donations or other forms of support, and will keep their personal information confidential.

You’ll have a sense of whether you need to do more interviews based on the patterns in the responses you receive. Once you start anticipating what your interviewee is going to tell you, that means you’ve interviewed enough people to build a solid persona.

Where to find interviewees?

There are three ways to find the right interviewees to build your personas:


If you’re looking to fundraise for GivingTuesday, your current base of donors is the ideal place to start with your interviews. They’ve already supported your mission and are engaged with your organization. Your donor database will help you understand previous giving patterns, and in some cases, information that will reveal their income level, such as their occupation.


Volunteers support your organization with their time and are a great source for building a persona to match a GivingTuesday campaign goal focused on raising awareness and/or increasing volunteering. Volunteers can also be a likely source of new donations so understanding their perspective will be important.

Third-Party Networks

Friends, family, and even co-workers of your existing base of donors and volunteers are more likely to support your organization if motivated by someone from within their personal network. When reaching out to your existing base of supporters, you may want to also extend an invitation to anyone they know who might be interested in the cause. In addition, you or someone else at your organization may also know individuals who may be interested in your cause. Consider reaching out to them as well.

What to ask during the interview:

Your interviews should last at least 30 minutes. To make the best use of your interviewee’s time, you can even send them an online survey (using SurveyMonkey or other survey software) to collect their demographic information before the interview.

That way, your conversation can remain focused on what/why/how. You’ll want to ask questions based on the persona profile you are building. Here’s how your questions should be formatted:

  • What missions/causes do you personally connect with?
  • Did you previously donate to a charity/non-profit?
  • What brought you to this charity/cause, and what will inspire you to stay?
  • What are some problems you want to help solve?
  • What motivates you to give to our cause?
  • How do you prefer to consume information (e-mail, print, social media)?

Remember to dig into the “why?” of your interviewee’s responses. This will help you get to the root of their interests and how they relate to your cause.

What now?

Once you’ve gone through the interview process, you’ll have a lot of detailed, raw data about your current and potential supporters. You’ll now need to identify patterns and group the responses you’ve received across different categories into different personas. Having up to 3 personas for your GivingTuesday Campaign will be ideal. Create a sheet for each of your personas, and consider including names (e.g. Volunteer Veronica, or Donor Danny), real-life stock pictures, and real quotes from your interviews that speak to what your personas are concerned about, who they are, and why they give.

Some of these suggestions may sound silly, but your personas will be much more memorable to everyone this way!

Here’s an example of how it should look:

Once you’re finished, these personas will be your audience profile!

You’ll need to document and share this audience profile with your team so that everyone working on your GivingTuesday campaign is on the same page.

Ultimately, creating an audience profile—whether it is as simple as a few bullet points or something more detailed—will help you stay focused as you put together the communication and outreach strategy for a successful GivingTuesday campaign. The information you have gathered will allow you to hone in on what information to include in your appeal, what communication channels to reach them at, what call-to-action will resonate best.

To Conclude

Determining your GivingTuesday campaign audience is a key factor to your success because it will concentrate your efforts on reaching the right people who will help you meet your goal. It is important to note that defining your audience is not to exclude those who do not fit your criteria but to focus your resources in the right places on your journey.

Once you know who your target audience really is, you’ll be able to convey a stronger—more direct—message that will ultimately lead to more engagement towards your cause!

Be sure to read our next blog article where we’ll talk about crafting a unique GivingTuesday communications strategy that will resonate with your audience!

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