Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell

4 Simple Frameworks to Prioritize Your Audiences with Farra Trompeter

December 07, 2022 Julia Campbell Episode 65
4 Simple Frameworks to Prioritize Your Audiences with Farra Trompeter
Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
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Nonprofit Nation with Julia Campbell
4 Simple Frameworks to Prioritize Your Audiences with Farra Trompeter
Dec 07, 2022 Episode 65
Julia Campbell

Effective nonprofit communication planning begins with knowing who your audiences are. Seems simple, right?

Sure: you can write out a long list of various groups that your organization is communicating with or wants to reach in the future… but where do you go from there?

As Big Duck’s Co-Director,  Farra Trompeter (she/her) ensures that Big Duck is a healthy, thriving company. Big Duck, a worker-owned cooperative, helps nonprofits use comms to achieve their mission by building strong brands, strong campaigns, and strong teams. Much of their work centers on creating strategies and tactics that are rooted in understanding who your audiences are, what they need to read, hear, or experience about an organization or its work in order to engage.

Farra has led dozens of organizations through major brand overhauls, fundraising campaigns, and much more since joining Big Duck in 2007. She’s a frequent speaker around the country, training nonprofit staff and board members on branding, communications planning, and engaging donors at all giving levels.

Connect with Farra:

Visit Big Duck:

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements.

Julia’s online courses, webinars, and keynote talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and how to do effective marketing in the digital age.

Take Julia’s free nonprofit masterclass,  3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media That Converts

Take my free masterclass: 3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Show Notes Transcript

Effective nonprofit communication planning begins with knowing who your audiences are. Seems simple, right?

Sure: you can write out a long list of various groups that your organization is communicating with or wants to reach in the future… but where do you go from there?

As Big Duck’s Co-Director,  Farra Trompeter (she/her) ensures that Big Duck is a healthy, thriving company. Big Duck, a worker-owned cooperative, helps nonprofits use comms to achieve their mission by building strong brands, strong campaigns, and strong teams. Much of their work centers on creating strategies and tactics that are rooted in understanding who your audiences are, what they need to read, hear, or experience about an organization or its work in order to engage.

Farra has led dozens of organizations through major brand overhauls, fundraising campaigns, and much more since joining Big Duck in 2007. She’s a frequent speaker around the country, training nonprofit staff and board members on branding, communications planning, and engaging donors at all giving levels.

Connect with Farra:

Visit Big Duck:

About Julia Campbell, the host of the Nonprofit Nation podcast:

Named as a top thought leader by Forbes and BizTech Magazine, Julia Campbell (she/hers) is an author, coach, and speaker on a mission to make the digital world a better place.

She wrote her book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits, as a roadmap for social change agents who want to build movements using engaging digital storytelling techniques. Her second book, How to Build and Mobilize a Social Media Community for Your Nonprofit, was published in 2020 as a call-to-arms for mission-driven organizations to use the power of social media to build movements.

Julia’s online courses, webinars, and keynote talks have helped hundreds of nonprofits make the shift to digital thinking and how to do effective marketing in the digital age.

Take Julia’s free nonprofit masterclass,  3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media That Converts

Take my free masterclass: 3 Must-Have Elements of Social Media Content that Converts

Julia Campbell  0:00  

Hello, my nonprofit unicorns real quick. If this podcast has helped you at all in the past year, can you do me a favor and leave a rating and a review. This helps the almighty algorithms determine that my podcast is worth showing to new people. I appreciate it. And I appreciate you now on with today's show. Hello, and welcome to nonprofit Nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. And I'm going to sit down with nonprofit industry experts, fundraisers, marketers, and everyone in between to get real and discuss what it takes to build that movement that you've been dreaming of. I created the nonprofit nation podcast to share practical wisdom and strategies to help you confidently Find Your Voice. Definitively grow your audience and effectively build your movement. If you're a nonprofit newbie, or an experienced professional, who's looking to get more visibility, reach more people and create even more impact, then you're in the right place. Let's get started.


Julia Campbell  1:14  

Hello, everyone, welcome back to nonprofit Nation. I'm your host, Julia Campbell. Today we are going to be talking about frameworks to prioritize your audience which is something that I'm incredibly passionate about. I think it's incredibly vitally important to an effective communications plan. And we have my guest Farra trumpeter, as big ducks, co director, Farra ensures the big duck is a healthy, thriving company. She directs big ducks marketing and business development efforts, seeking to build relationships with nonprofits who want to use communications to achieve their mission. That's amazing. I know that she's a frequent speaker around the country. She does a lot of trainings, a lot of communication planning, and donor engagement at all giving levels. And Farra is an adjunct professor at NYU, where she teaches a class about communications and branding for nonprofits. She's a member of big ducks board. And She previously served as the board chair for n 10, which is I think, where we met, and the NYC anti violence project, she holds a Master of Science in nonprofit management from the new school. So welcome, Farra.


Farra Trompeter  2:29  

Thank you, Julia. And yes, we did meet it. And then 10 conference, I don't know when


Julia Campbell  2:34  

many years ago was probably the first one the one in DC. Yeah, one of the ones in DC. Yeah. Right. And I always say this was my first conference that I'd ever been to as a consultant. And I finally found my people, I was so happy, it was amazing and thrilling. And you put on an incredible event.


Farra Trompeter  2:57  

Well, I can't take any credit the staff and 10 is amazing. And just to put a plug in the end, 10 conference in 2023 is going to be in mid April, in both Denver and hybrid. So if you get to n 10, and Ten.org/and TC for Nonprofit Technology Conference, you too can check it out. 


Julia Campbell  3:12  

And I'm submitting my proposal right now. So by the time this comes out proposals for speaking will definitely be closed. But you should definitely come to the conference. It's so fantastic. I'm so excited. It's in person in Denver. It's just such a fantastic city as well. So before we get into audience identification, and the frameworks that you've developed, I want to know more about big duck, and how you got into working in nonprofit communications and fundraising.


Farra Trompeter  3:41  

Yeah, sure. So big duck is a worker owned cooperative, and we help nonprofits use communication to achieve their mission, as you noted earlier, and we focus on doing that by building strong brands, strong campaigns and strong teams. A lot of our work centers on developing strategies and tactics that are rooted in understanding who your audiences are, what they need to read, hear, experience, etc. About an organization or its work in order to engage in its mission or the broader movement that it is part of, personally, I got into nonprofit work actually, as a kid. I was involved in elementary school in a group called The Hunger Project that my father was very active in and then through middle school in high school, I got involved with a group called Students Against driving drunk and was one of those one of those kids who was an activist kid throughout Student Body President all the things and then when I was in college, I created an organization at American University in DC called students for healthy decisions. That really was about bringing education and awareness to a number of issues to the campus community. We also did a lot of activism we got the campus to participate in the AIDS Walk in DC back in the 90s. And then while I was in school, I also was a telephone racer or telemarketer so as a part time job, I had a side hustle, raising money for nonprofits and who knew I was a good fundraiser. It turns out if you are passionate about what you are promoting Seeing people respond. So that job really kind of brought me into the fundraising world. I had other jobs while I was in college afterwards where I worked in nonprofits, which seemed like, oh, wow, here's a field where I can bring my passion and my talent, and I can actually get paid for doing it. It's not just a balance of volunteer job, it's something I can do full time. So I've always worked in the nonprofit community, Now basically, over 30 years, either on staff at nonprofits, or as a consultant to nonprofits, at agencies like big duck whose clients are nonprofits. And I started off in fundraising, but then got into broader online communications and engagement, and then really into branding. And 15 years ago, I found a place where it all came together. And that place was big duck, and I've been here ever since 2007.


Julia Campbell  5:43  

I'm such a huge fan of big duck and talk about a great brand. I feel like I really know. And I've been watching a lot of making the cut lately, and Project Runway and all those shows, and they always talk about, you have to know your brand, you have to be able to express it in your communication in your photos and your visuals in your designs. And I really think that big debt gets it in a way that a lot of other platforms, you know, agencies don't get it. So I've always loved that. But I want to talk about audience identification, and also audience prioritization. Because when I try to create communications plans for my clients, for my online course, students, I get pushback, because a lot of nonprofits have a wide variety of audiences that they need, or maybe they think that they need to reach right, but they need to reach with their communications. So clients, donors, volunteers, community partners, online donors, you know, just to name a few. So I love that you're here today to really illustrate, you know, building an understanding of your audience. So why is that a foundational part of a compelling and effective brand strategy?


Farra Trompeter  6:59  

Yeah, we'll start talking about branding. And then I think get into broader communication. It's


Julia Campbell  7:03  

more than a logo. We know. That's right. Hopefully, we know that maybe we don't know that.


Farra Trompeter  7:07  

But you will know that after this podcast, yes. I mean, to that point, we define or think about branding as the ideas and feelings that people associate with you. And more deeply a big duck, we see that actually as an ongoing practice. So to your point, it's not just a logo, or it's not just something you do once every five or 10 years, it should be something you're thinking about all of the time. And it's about aligning your organization's identity, internally and externally with who you are. And that has to start with clarity at the Insight all staff have to participate and understand as you clarify and develop that understanding of how you want to be seen and felt, then you can use that to create experiences of the brand through your communications channels, through your events, through your programs, that shape perceptions and behaviors that help advance an organization's mission, and hopefully, are part of something bigger and spark what we consider a collective change. You know, most organizations go through some sort of strategic planning or theory of change every few years, some of them are now approaching ongoing frameworks. When you pause and say, who is my organization? And where is it going? You are typically clarifying your vision, your mission, maybe your values, we sometimes think about as the why the what and the how. And that's where we have to start. So when we do branding, we start with understanding who is this organization? What are they trying to do for the world? What is the environment they operate in? What is happening right now that impacts the community they work in? Where is this organization trying to go? And when you think about the context of your organization, your strategic plan, what's happening with the people in your community? What's most needed for your brand right now? Do you have a big demand for your services that you can't meet? So you need more funding to expand? Are you a best kept secret, and more people actually could benefit if they knew what you were and could participate in your program? Do you have to change how people think or feel or act about an issue? And when we answer those questions, we usually start by setting a goal or goals for the brand and communications that we often bucket in fundraising programs and advocacy. So again, it's not to communicate or develop a brand for the sake of it, it's to think about what do we need to advance right? Where are we trying to go? Once we have those goals, we can say great, if we're clear that our priority goal right now is in one of those areas. Sometimes it's all three fundraising programs and advocacy, then we can talk about audiences who really needs to know and understand what we're about so we can achieve those goals. And we often start generating that list. Many of us can think about that. But once we have those goals and audiences in mind, we can then get into brand strategy and epic duck, we define brand strategies, the concepts of positioning and personality. Positioning is the single idea you want people to have in their minds about you. When we're thinking about those priority audiences. And personality is basically your tone and style. It's the feelings, the emotions you want associated. So another way that I sometimes think about this is the brand strategy, the positioning maybe the feeling people have in their brain about you And the personality might be the emotions in your heart. And the statements that you come up with might be aspirational. But they should still be rooted in who you are and be authentic to who you are. And we can't begin to be intentional about what we want people to think about us. If we haven't started clarifying what that is and know who it is, we want to have those associations. So as an example, one of our clients we've done a lot of work with is the Center for Constitutional Rights, their positioning, and this is an internal tool that you can decide whether or not use externally, they actually haven't adopted some of this language externally, but their positioning is we dare to fight oppression, regardless of the risks, standing with social justice movements and communities under threat. And the personality is unapologetic, agile, tough and impassioned. Once we created that together, we then looked at the expression of their brand their identity, and could see what needed to change, agree on the direction of change, and then change that. And if you're curious if you've got a big duck.com/ccr, or go to big data, comm slash work, you can see examples of that work and some others.


Julia Campbell  11:04  

Wow. I think what I pulled out most from this is that famous Maya Angelou quote, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. And I teach that a lot of my storytelling work. But what you said and I wrote it down, you know, positioning is the single idea you hope to establish in the minds of your priority audiences and personality is your organization's tone, and style. And I really believe and I know I'm sure you see this all the time that nonprofits struggle with creating a personality, they struggle with creating a tone and style, because they're so worried about alienating people. What I love about the Center for Constitutional Rights, I mean, they, they speak to me like they I am their people, right? But personality, unapologetic, okay, on apologetic first of all, I think all of us should be unapologetic. But that's just me agile, tough and impassioned. That speaks to a really specific kind of person and gets me riled up, you know, we dare to fight oppression, regardless of the risks. That's exciting. That's provocative, that's compelling. And I think that I mean, I really know that nonprofits struggle with this, because they want to make their mission statement, their position, they want to just make their you know, strategic plan, their position. So if we have not started this work, like, where do we start? How can we start doing this? How can we start being more innovative in our branding?


Farra Trompeter  12:43  

Yeah, and I would also say, because I'm a big fan of CCR to the Center for Constitutional Rights, if you go to CCR justice.org, you can get involved with them to want to send some love their way,


Julia Campbell  12:52  

drinking 100% of the Kool Aid.


Farra Trompeter  12:55  

Yeah, I just met up with our executive director last night, we did this work maybe four or five years ago, and he just spoke about how transformative it's been for the organization. And that's to your point you made earlier, sometimes you're taking risks when you're developing your brand. And you're saying, we may have to be ready to let go of some people who aren't with us. But ideally, what we're doing is we're opening our doors up to more people to get involved, we're inviting more people to participate. And if there are people who no longer connect with what we're about them, that's okay, there are plenty to go around.


Julia Campbell  13:22  

And we're being authentic, we're being more authentic to what we stand for. And then in that way, we're going to do better work more important work, and create longer term relationships, rather than just kind of fly by night relationships.


Farra Trompeter  13:37  

Exactly. This, again, is about moving from transactional to transformational, moving from one time to ongoing, that's what we're we're trying to do with the brand and the communications. And I would say specifically, if you're curious about how to get started with brand, strategy and branding, we've got an ebook. On our website, I think just go to big duck.com/insights, you'll see a section called books and ebooks, there's lots of free downloads there. That's one of them. That can be really helpful. Sarah Durham, the founder of big duck wrote a book called Brand raising over 12 years ago, that really captures a lot of what we're talking about in branding, that book is available, you know, in all the places books tend to be available, like bookshop.org. And you can find that at your local bookshop. And that might be very helpful just to kind of walk you through. Or you can, again, we do lots of webinars and blog posts about these topics.


Julia Campbell  14:24  

And the reason that I really thought that this topic would resonate with my audience is a blog post that one of your colleagues wrote called Four simple frameworks to prioritize your audiences. And I would love if you could just maybe highlight go through some of those frameworks. I think it'd be very helpful for my audience of marketers and fundraisers.


Farra Trompeter  14:45  

Yeah, that so that post was written a few months ago by one of our strategists named K yin and again, Big Data comm slash insights you can find all the goodness and K also wrote a follow up about how you can engage audiences to in that post K laid out for different framework Because the first is really kind of primary versus secondary, that's often what most people can do. We can brainstorm in a session, a list. So our top row audiences are A, B, and C are secondary audiences or x, what we often do is first get everybody to list all the audiences and then you can start ranking them. So for example, the media is that a primary audience or secondary audience, funders, volunteers, donors, staff, let's not forget about them as an audience, please, I often remind people that that should be a primary audience generally. So the first is to you know, one framework you can do, especially if you're just starting off this work is just list them all out and then really rank them. And it is hard it is it is often hard and difficult to say who's primary who's secondary, who's maybe even tertiary. But that's the place to start because you can't reach everybody. I'm sure you This is one of my pet peeves, Julia, I'm gonna guess it's one of yours too. When people say our audiences, the general public, I'm like, That is impossible. You don't have the money and you don't have the need to reach every single person there is out there. And not even Apple can reach the journal Right? Exactly. And not even Apple should like people who love their PCs. Let them go. Yeah.


Julia Campbell  16:04  

So that's a great example.


Farra Trompeter  16:07  

You know, like I'm, you know, ever since I became someone who uses Apple's products, I'm going to want my MacBook, I'm going to want my iPhone, I'm not getting my brother is the opposite. Like, he doesn't understand he's got his Samsung phone or whatever it is. I don't know. I've got my Google Pixel. Love it. Yeah, exactly. Total Google person. That's cool like that your people but you so in the nonprofit world, you know, really understanding who are the most important audiences for us to reach, we all say we don't have enough time and money. So with our limited time and budget, who should we be focusing on? So that's what this is all about. The second option that Katie laid out in that post really follows a framework that's in another book that Sarah Durham wrote called The nonprofit communications engine. And in that book, Sarah has a bull's eye diagram. So you can imagine at the center of the diagram is, you know, audiences, people that must know us, we must connect and engage with the next outer ring is people who we should connect and engage with. And then the third outer ring are people we could connect and engage with. So this is a similar way to think about ranking, but the must, the should, and the could. And I think What's hard is that we often get caught up in the Quds. Right, like, oh, let's get on Tiktok. 


Julia Campbell  17:16  

It's, oh, we focus all our time on the kids. Right?


Farra Trompeter  17:19  

It's so exciting. We should get on tick tock, that's where everyone is. And maybe you should and I'm sure you have a lot, a lot more opinions about that than I do. But do you have the time to do that? Well, is that where your people are? Or should you be focusing on another place? So let's first clarify, you know where that should be. And as we're making decisions, we can say like, how will this impact our musts or shoulds, and our codes? And, you know, early in, in the initial part of the COVID pandemic, which we're still in, people had to make choices, do we do A or B? Well, who are the people who have to still know what we're up to? That needs to be where we put our energy. So I think that is another helpful way to think about it. So the third option is something that's more of a spectrum, you can imagine kind of a straight, horizontal line, and you're plotting audiences around the certain goal. So for example, who are we reaching? Now? In the future? On the left? Who are we reaching? Now? On the left? Who do we want to reach in the future? On the right, or who do we have time to reach who's kind of, uh, easy to reach, who's going to be harder to reach or take more time to reach and you can plot those audiences along that spectrum like, so for example, the media, we'll just use that because that does come up a lot. Maybe we've never done PR, we don't have a media list. There's a lot of other organizations who are known for our issue and get called for quotes above we do so it's actually going to take a lot of time to reach that audience, we don't have them now, that might still be a decision we make, we might say, Okay, this is going to be the year that that becomes a priority for us, we have the resources, we're going to invest in that. So that plotting along different spectrums can be helpful and can help us prioritize, or D prioritize which audiences we should think about when we're creating our communications. And you can even take that primary and secondary list and combine it right. So all of these things don't have to be used in isolation. Last one, in some ways, you know, starts getting a little bit more complicated. And that's more of a matrix structure. I don't know any of you read The New Yorker magazine, but I always loved it's called, like the daily intelligentsia. And it's like lowbrow, and highbrow, they have I forget the all of the rankings, but it was kind of fun. Anyway, so you can imagine here now more of a cross, or a plus sign, right, and we've got now an X and a Y axis. So instead of just the one we had before, so when you think about that spectrum, we're now adding another dimension to it. And we're getting a fuller visualization of how we rank our audiences. So in the example above, we might start with an X axis of engagement today, but then we might layer in the effort to engage as a dimension and make that the y axis. And we think about who we have the capacity or the resources to actually reach these folks. So we can then start mapping out are key audiences in these different quadrants, right, the top left might be you know, who are the ones who are most aspirational, they are going to take the most time to reach they're not engaged with us right now. Whereas the bottom right my be those who are safer and more familiar with us easier to reach. And then the people who are in between might be in different places along that, you know, all audiences are still important. And we still have to do, you know, analysis and what we're doing. Each of these audiences or approaches to audiences have pros and cons. And you know, there's lots of different things to think about, again, as you're considering who can i Who do I reach now and who do I want to reach? Who do I have time to reach? And most importantly, who do we have to reach to take action with us so we can achieve our mission. So again, if you go to big duck.com, you can find case posts or search audience priorities, I'm sure you'll find that you can always email me. And I think it just really walks us through and can be helpful to just, you know, review in a team meeting at some point and just have an exercise and see where you get out from that.


Julia Campbell  20:45  

Now, I will put all of this in the show notes. And I think this is incredibly tactical, I'm sure people are pausing, rewinding, taking notes, I will definitely link to the blog post and frameworks in the show notes where people can go more in depth with it. But what I love about it is it's very step by step. So when you talk about, oh, let's prioritize audiences, sometimes people's eyes glaze over, because they don't know what that means. They don't know how to start. They don't know really like how to find out more about their audience or even who to prioritize. But I think the simple Bullseye diagram, you know, the must connect with should connect with could connect with, and I can already hear the questions. Well, how do we know who that is? Well, you know, it depends on your goal. And your mission hands on what you're trying to achieve. Like it depends on are you doing advocacy? Are you doing awareness raising? Are you needing to raise $10 million this year for a capital campaign? Like I think organizations really struggle with this because they haven't done the work of identifying their goals first.


Farra Trompeter  21:52  

Right? And we're also not talking about excluding, right, we're talking about prioritizing. So for example, if I'm, if I'm in a place where I've got a $10 million capital campaign, I might be thinking about a lot of high net worth individuals and major donors and foundations. But that doesn't mean I should exclude the people who are still supporting us with a $25 gift that people who are taking action when we're sharing an alert who are following us on our Tik Tok or wherever it may be, right? We can't lose those audiences. It just may be the balance of time I'm spending or maybe one person is focusing on one segment, another person is focusing on another. So we're not talking about only we're just talking about kind of prioritizing, if that makes sense.


Julia Campbell  22:30  

No. And that completely segues into the next question, which is about bias and avoiding bias. And that's a question that I actually do get a lot. So what are some strategies that we can use to avoid bias when defining these nonprofit audiences?


Farra Trompeter  22:45  

Yeah, you know, for me, I got into one of the first communications jobs I got when I was segwaying, from fundraising to more of a broader comms lens was doing website marketing. Back in the late 90s. When websites were first coming, it was actually for government agencies. And I started learning about the concept of user personas for websites. And back in the late 90s, early aughts, user personas took a very certain format, that meant some people still do today, they had a picture on them, they had the name of a person, they had that person's age, their race, their gender, their gender, identity, whatever, like some kind of demographic perspective. So this is Sarah, she's you know, a 48 year old who lives in Brooklyn has two cats is married to a woman, you know, all my things loves the color purple, what that can do is actually all of a sudden, that can create a lot of bias and in fact harm. So we want to things we've been talking about with audience personas is first and foremost, when you are making those personas or profiles based them on research, it shouldn't just be well, this is what I kind of know. And make sure you're researching from a sample of people that actually reflects your community. So we often recommend if you're doing interviews, you should talk to at least five people who share a certain characteristic. So for example, five major donors from our last capital campaign, five volunteers who have volunteered with us in the past two years, whatever it may be, do that, and then talk to several groups of folks. Focus groups. And surveys can also be great to hear from either more people or have a richer, deeper conversation. And you want to make sure you're not just looking at what people say. But even more specifically, you're looking at what they do. And you're looking at the data. So another part of understanding our audiences is to look at the Google Analytics to look at our email reports like what are people actually clicking on? What are the things when we post on Facebook are getting actual comments and shares and not just likes. So first, we need to just understand what we can see based on both what people share with us but also what they do and what the data says, then we need to really try to make sure we don't have bias in the profiles we're creating. So generally, we've moved away from demographics as much as possible. We're not naming the profiles, either. We're really just focusing on psychographics, which are the values the motivations the beliefs people have. So again, going back to me as an example, it might be more like people who are passionate about LGBTQ IA issues, who take action with nonprofits on reproductive rights and justice, right? It's more who believe in XY and Z, right? It's more that kind of profile. And just question if you have profiles or personas already, do you need that demographic data? If you have photos and names, can you remove them? So for example, just saying crisis donors, as opposed to you know, Farah, blah, blah, blah. And then finally, have someone else look at it, you know, this is there's always, you know, I used to always say, because I've been wearing glasses since I was 11 months rolled, you know, four eyes are better than two or whatever it may be. So having another person review what you've done, can help you check your own bias. You can even go back to the people that were in that research phase and say, Hey, we've created this profile of crisis donors does this sound like you? Laura Fisher, who is a former senior strategist on our team actually wrote a great post on our site about this, you can I can ping you later, we'll put it in the show notes. And I also interviewed Mike Bebbington from humanity and inclusion us about a year or so ago about donor personas on our podcast, the smart communications podcast. Again, all of that said, big duck.com/insights. But I can follow up with you to get the direct links.


Julia Campbell  26:08  

Perfect. I will put the link in the show notes. Yeah, donor personas, oh my gosh, how we used to do those in the olden days. And wow, some of the things that we worked on were incredibly, incredibly problematic now. But I love that this work is evolving constantly. And we're always learning new things. And I think that's just, that's fantastic.


Farra Trompeter  26:33  

always problematic, we're now just aware of


Julia Campbell  26:37  

the word problematic is problematic. But we're now just more aware. Like if we knew then what we know now, but you can't you know, you can't have a time machine, sadly. So how else can nonprofits get clarity about their audience priorities? Because I feel like a lot of people listening, they'll be like, Oh, just you know, donors. Or I actually just got a question this morning. You know, we want to be on Tik Tok. What should we be looking for? Who should we be trying to reach there? And I'm thinking, what are some, you know, strategies that we can use? What are some questions we can ask to get clarity about audience priorities? That's that goes kind of beyond branding.


Farra Trompeter  27:21  

Yeah, sure. And again, like prioritizing audiences are the heart of all good communications and fundraising. But some of the questions I would encourage folks to think about is, why is this audience group important for us to communicate to?


Julia Campbell  27:33  

Yeah, why? Why? Why? Why do you want to reach teenagers? Right?


Farra Trompeter  27:38  

Well, we start with the why great, but why? Yeah, so we'll use teenagers, as you know, so why is this audience group important for us to communicate to? What are they looking for that we can offer? Right? Like, you might have a prior to reach teens in this example, but like, what do they need from you? What are going to be their goals that you can meet? How will they be motivated to care about what you're doing? What do we hope they will think or feel about us? Right? Like, if we can come up with what do I want them to? My organization is x and it makes me feel why Right? Like, what are the answers to those questions? What actions do we want that audience to take? What gets in the way of them actually taking those actions? What are the barriers? And where does this audience engage with us today? And where could they engage with us in the future? So again, in this fictitious example of teens and Tik Tok, you know, they're not engaging with us on Tik Tok. They're not engaging with us anywhere. So this is about building an audience. is the place to build it on tick tock, is it somewhere else? Where are we going to need? Like, where are they engaging with groups that are similar to us so we can learn about what's happening there. And when you ask these questions, you can help determine are there new approaches or activities, we should start things we should stop, or things we should test, we often when we're building communications plan, will use that framework, what do we start? What do we stop? And what do we test and give a period of time to do that, and then always make sure to build in time to reflect to not just look at the data? Well, first of all, look at the data. Then second of all, look at the data and say, what is it telling us? Are there things we're learning like, wow, oh, my God, we just were amazing. And TikTok, we should do more there are well, nothing really happened. Maybe we should switch our energy back to Snapchat, or Instagram or whatever


Julia Campbell  29:08  

it may be. I love start, stop, test and reflect. Because then that's how you're being strategic and not spinning your wheels. That's exactly the difference between being proactive and reactive in your communications. So my last question, I do ask this to most of my guests because it is a huge challenge, that getting buy in that constant, trying to say like people are listening to this podcast, and they say, this is fantastic. I love this. I totally want to go all in on this. How do we get buy in how do we present this to higher ups or our boss, to the board for centering audiences in our communication strategies?


Farra Trompeter  29:50  

And I was just talking about this briefly earlier. I mean, first of all, I recommend you look at peers. So the audiences you're trying to reach for your mission area for your goal. Who else are they engaging with? So where are they going to for that? So depending on the kind of organization I am, my peers is going to be different. And then the data, what is the data already tell us about what we're doing not doing, what's working, what's not working. And when you're thinking about this just generally encourage you to approach this exercise in the spirit of abundance and optimism versus fear and competition, right? We have moved, a lot of people will say, these are my competitors. That's a very kind of for profit mindset that has kind of unfortunately, taken over in the nonprofit. And we instead say, Well, let's think about your peers and partners. Because again, we shouldn't think about our mission in isolation, or is better than one another. But it's something that collectively we're trying to do to make the lives better for people who are without meals without adequate health care, without jobs without benefits, whatever it may be. So what's happening with our partners in our community? Where do we need to show up to meet our community where they are, and we can't do that if we're not first aligned, again, on the must or should or, or the could, or any of the audience priority frameworks. So I generally recommend if you're not sure, start small with a survey or some interviews, talk to people generate a conversation. If you're trying to get buy in for something new that you're going to do do a small experiment on one channel and see what happens there. But sometimes it's about education. Sometimes it's about showing people like, Okay, we've all agreed that our strategic plan is trying to take us to this point. So based on that these are the what we need to do for communications. And here's how x is doing it, here's how Y is doing and just show them what else is out there. So that that fear that they may have that competition they may have you can kind of allay it with like it's happening, it's working. It's okay.


Julia Campbell  31:35  

I'm a huge fan of sharing examples. And keeping an entire Google Drive of just screenshots, emails, communications, and showing what is possible, and showing what other people are doing. And I love that idea. Because it's so hard to go to your boss and say, we should be doing this well, okay, on top of everything else that I have to prioritize, like, why should we look, you've got to really convince people. So I love that look at peers look at the data, testings and reflect on what you're doing that's working, and what's not working. So this has been amazing. This has really been one of the most tactical episodes we've ever had. So I know people are gonna go back and listen to it. Where can people find you learn more about you and work with you, Farah?


Farra Trompeter  32:24  

Yeah, well, if you want to connect with big duck, definitely go to our website, Bigduck.com Big ducks, also on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn. And at some point, we have to bring our Instagram account back to life. But we're mostly big duck in in those places. And then if you'd like to find me, you can find me on Twitter and LinkedIn. I am just Farah. F as in Frank, AR a on those platforms. And yeah, we'd love to connect and learn more. You can always drop a line at Hello at Big duck.com as well.


Julia Campbell  32:50  

You got that Twitter account. Never give it up. That's amazing. Were you one of the first people on Twitter?


Farra Trompeter  32:56  

I think it's uh, yeah, probably Oh, seven or Oh, eight and I've been on Twitter. I have to go back in time. Yeah.


Julia Campbell  33:03  

Yeah, I remember John Hayden telling me I had to be on Twitter. I was like, I don't want to be but now I actually really like it. So will you be in Denver?


Farra Trompeter  33:11  

I hope so. Yeah, that's my plan. We can have a nonprofit nation meetup.


Julia Campbell  33:16  

Yeah. Oh, that'd be amazing. All right, everyone, live my listeners, definitely check out big deck. I'll put all the links in the show notes to all of the resources, the blog posts, everything we talked about today. Farah, I really appreciate it. Thank you. This was so rich, comprehensive and useful and helpful. Thank you so much for being here.


Farra Trompeter  33:34  

My pleasure. Thanks for having me.


Julia Campbell  33:43  

Well, hey there. I wanted to say thank you for tuning into my show, and for listening all the way to the end. If you really enjoyed today's conversation, make sure to subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast app, and you'll get new episodes downloaded as soon as they come out. I would love if you left me a rating or review because this tells other people that my podcast is worth listening to. And then me and my guests can reach even more earbuds and create even more impact. So that's pretty much it. I'll be back soon with a brand new episode. But until then, you can find me on Instagram at Julia Campbell seven seven. Keep changing the world. Nonprofit unicorn