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016 – Psychographics for Non-Profits: How To Better Reach Potential Donors and Supporters

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Nonprofits, charities, foundations, and NGOs are businesses too. And like any business, they need to find ways to raise funds, grow their network of supporters, and stay relevant in the world. In order to do this, many nonprofits have turned to psychographics.

In today’s episode, David will be talking about psychographics, what it is, and how you can use psychographics to make your fundraising efforts more successful.

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Non-profits, charities, foundations, and NGOs are businesses too. And like any business, they need to find ways to raise funds, grow their network of supporters, and stay relevant in the world. In order to do this, many non-profits have turned to psychographics.

In today’s episode, I’ll be talking about psychographics, what it is, and how you can use psychographics to make your fundraising efforts more successful.

Welcome to episode 16!

Before I get into the podcast, I wanted to let you know that I’m running a free webinar on August 5 at 2pm Eastern called “Optimizing Your Non-Profit & Charity Website For More Impact, Donations, and Traffic”.

As a bonus, all participants will receive my eBook titled “3 Simple Words to Increase Your Donations by 20%” and one lucky attendee will walk away with $3800 value package!

For details, head over to wowdigital.com/webinar and sign up today.

With that out of the way, let’s get into psychographics.

Non-profits are always looking to attract new donors and supporters. They want to find the people who have the most interest in their cause and will be most likely to donate time or money. Unfortunately, these prospects can be difficult to find. They don’t always live near the organization, and they might not even know about it.

Luckily, there is a way for non-profits to identify these prospects before they become customers. Psychographics combines demographics with personality traits in order to come up with a profile of potential donors and supporters. With this information, the non-profit can create better advertising campaigns and target outreach programs that will resonate best with its current audience.

What are psychographics?

Psychographics is a term used by the marketing and research industries to refer to the study and use of individual psychological traits to understand and influence how people make decisions.

It’s important for non-profits to learn about their individual audience’s psychographic profiles.

It can help them identify their ideal supporters, create content that appeals to them, and drive them to participate in the activities of the organization.

Although psychographics aren’t as widely understood as other types of marketing and social media, there are a number of common traits that may resonate with your audience. These traits range from personality to hobbies to demographics, but they all reflect a strong connection between the people you want to attract and the people you want to support.

To put it into context, psychographic data is what Uber looks at when they decide which neighborhoods to expand into, what McDonald’s looks at when deciding which ingredients to use in their menu, and what Amazon looks at to decide which products to stock.

It’s the whole picture, and it’s the type of information that your non-profit needs to take its marketing to the next level.

How can non-profits use psychographics to reach potential donors and supporters?

By using psychographics, you convert your community into donors and supporters. To do so, you need to understand psychographic data.

This is a type of data that describes the individual traits and characteristics of an individual.

In the context of marketing, it refers to things like your demographics (race, age, gender, occupation, education level, and income), your interests (sports, movies, TV, music, books, and more), and your behaviors (how you spend your time, how you vote, and other activities).

Psychographic data can help organizations determine how to reach a potential donor or supporter. In business terms, psychographic data is used to determine who their customer base is.

At Wow Digital we have our Victory Program™, during which we uncover psychographics and build avatars as part of our sessions and include in our Roadmap Report.

Determining the right psychographics is key to project success.

The relationship between psychographics and demographics

Many people are familiar with demographics, which is the idea that demographics are the building blocks of a community, such as age, sex, or race. But, these ideas are often forgotten when it comes to advertising.

Just as the restaurant you visit might call its demographics unique, psychographic information is the same type of information that can be used to profile prospective donors.

It’s used to understand how people behave and use it to show what differentiates your organization from others.

Psychographic categories First, you can define what you’re trying to do and use a psychographic system to help you understand what your donors like and what they might be willing to do.

There are two primary categories of psychographic categories:

Behavioral – This category is used to identify your target audience, as well as what they are like. For example, we can use this category to find out more about our current supporters, as well as potential future supporters.

Personality – This category is used to measure your personality in order to better understand who you are communicating with, how they respond to your communication, and to understand their future needs and motivations. For example, we can use this to find out more about what motivates them, what their interests are, and why they might be drawn to your cause. In essence, what makes them tick.

Why should non-profits use psychographics?

I’ve written blogs and made podcast episodes before about the purpose of marketing and advertising before. The main idea to keep in mind is that you have to use the same tools to create different marketing messages.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a picture with a message is even more powerful.

Imagine you want to find out more about a new wine brand. You don’t care about the individual grape varieties or whether or not it pairs well with different foods. You’re just looking for the details you need to make a decision. You start with an image: That picture speaks to you and it’s full of details that speak to you. You’ve seen similar pictures before, but you haven’t seen anything like it before. You’re probably attracted to the details in that picture. The same is true for your potential supporters.

Turning to non-profits and charities, let’s say you run a non-profit that’s trying to market itself. Your non-profit has a great idea, but you haven’t been able to make an impact on a huge scale yet. A lot of people know about your organization, but no one gives it money.

There’s no denying the fact that marketing and fundraising are important, but are they really enough to have an impact on a big scale?

And that’s why non-profits have turned to psychographics as a way to connect with potential donors and supporters and increase their chances of success. Psychographics are used by organizations to try to get an idea of who is most likely to donate money to your cause or become volunteers.

What are the personality types?

Many organizations use psychographics to identify their target market.

With today’s hyper-connectivity, many people are not aware of the organizations they support. If they do, they may not find them using traditional methods such as researching the non-profit online or by attending a fundraiser. Fortunately, non-profits have been using psychographics for a long time.

Think about it: Who is it that organizes these programs? It’s likely they aren’t aware of the work done by the non-profit. It’s also likely that their employees may not be well educated about the non-profit they’re supporting.

That’s where a psychographic model comes in.

Useful psychographics will help you answer these questions and statements:

  1. How supporters and the community really perceive your products and services
  2. What do they really want—and why
  3. Gaps or pain points with your current products or services
  4. Opportunities for future engagement
  5. How to better communicate with your target audience

If you can’t answer these, then you need to really think about the audience that you’re trying to reach.

What are the 5 types of psychographic segments?

To properly use psychographics, it’s important to understand the 5 different areas you should be considering:

  1. Attitudes, culture, and origin
  2. Social status and income
  3. Personality, such as being an introvert or extrovert
  4. Activities, Interests, and Opinions, such as what they do in their spare time
  5. Lifestyle, as in business professionals, soccer moms (or dads), athletes, students, etc.

The power of personality types in non-profits

The general methodology of using personality types is that your team researches the personality traits of the market you’re hoping to reach. They then create a list of these people and are able to target them with content that best matches their personality.

The effectiveness of a marketing strategy is determined by the attention span of your potential supporters. The more time they spend reading your content, the more they’ll feel a connection with your organization. The more interested they feel, the more likely they are to donate money or make a direct financial contribution. It’s almost like a game of cat and mouse.

How to find and collect psychographic data with surveys

Surveys are a great way to collect psychographic information about your audience. There are a variety of questions you can use to help understand the personality, lifestyle, social status, activities, interests, opinions, and attitudes.

For open-ended questions, employ a qualitative approach. “What is your biggest challenge with…” will provide a deeper understanding of their problems.

With Likert scale questions, it will showcase how much they agree or disagree with a statement. This is done on a 5 point scale from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”, which will let you know how important that particular statement is to them.

And thirdly, Semantic differential scale questions ask people to rate a product, brand, company, or other attribute, which will help clarify their attitude.


Organizations can start using psychographics to identify which people are most likely to support them.

By knowing which traits and interests people have, a non-profit can get a leg up on their competitors in the race to raise money and become successful.

Learning how to utilize psychographics to better connect with your donors and supporters may seem overwhelming. It’s hard to look beyond the incredible impact these factors have in raising funds. But they can also help to identify and develop potential donors and supporters, so you can ultimately raise more money.

Making a connection with your donors and supporters will allow your non-profit to live up to its potential, reach new heights, and stay relevant.

Head on over to wowdigital.com/016 and let me know what psychographic factor best describes your organization and its supporters?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’m looking forward to having you listen to the next ones that we’ve got coming up. If you’ve enjoyed this episode please leave feedback on iTunes or wherever you listen to this podcast, I’d love to hear your feedback and it would also help others find the show.

Be sure to check out the show notes for the episode, head over to wowdigital.com, click on podcast, and search for this episode number and you’ll find all the links, details, and other information that has been discussed in this episode.

Are there any other topics that you would like to hear about? Just send an email to [email protected]. Thanks for listening to the Non-profit Digital Success Podcast!

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