Connecting with donors is as important as ever in our digitally-connected world. 76% of consumers now expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 61% expect brands to tailor experiences based on their preferences.
One way to better understand your donors is by building an empathy map.
We typically start with a grid that captures key pieces of information about your donors or supporters. Our template looks like this:
Empathy map template. Source: ntegrity
We use these to brainstorm key pieces of information about a particular audience segment.
This information should go beyond demographic information (such as where your supporters live or how much they earn) and focus on psychographics: getting to the bottom of how they think and feel, their habits, what drives them and what their pain points are.
At ntegrity, we then refine this empathy map brainstorm into a one-page artefact that highlights the key elements of the customer group that are relevant to the marketing team. This might include:
It’s important to note that an empathy map is not the same as a marketing persona. A persona is a fictional representation of the real attributes exhibited by one of your target audiences. It tends to tell a more specific story about who is in a particular segment, while an empathy map is more generalised.
Source: DMA. A persona is more specific than an empathy map
Usually in product development, a persona comes before an empathy map. While personas are very valuable, we’ve found that empathy maps can be a more effective and user-friendly brainstorming tool. This is especially true when working with teams who are less familiar with the process.
When we create personas first, we can get stuck on “that one person we know”, rather than considering all the possible information about a particular group. An empathy map depersonalises the process, allowing us to take a step back and capture more of the information we need to make effective marketing decisions.
Striking a chord with your supporters is as important as ever. Thanks to the rise in digital over the past decade, we’ve seen huge changes in consumer behaviour. Your supporters now have all the information they need at their fingertips, and are empowered to make choices based on what’s best for them.
In short: in the old marketing world, brands had the power. Now, customers have the power.
Because of this, we must ensure we know our customers well and build our strategy around their wants and needs.
It’s also possible that you might not be focusing on the things that matter to your supporters.
Sometimes, we make assumptions about the best way to tell the story of why we’re trustworthy and why our supporters should choose us. Empathy maps help us go beyond our usual ways of talking to find messages and approaches that will really resonate with our supporters.
Here’s an example: many not-for-profit employment services focus on their status as a not-for-profit, believing that this will build trust. But at the end of the day, the clients care most about who will be the best at helping them gain employment.
Before jumping into your marketing strategy, make sure you undergo this exercise to really understand what resonates with your customers. And if you need a hand, feel free to reach out to one of our not-for-profit strategy experts.
We create empathy maps in four stages:
The first step to understanding your customers is to gather data in order to build an evidence-driven view of who they are and what matters to them. This ensures we’re not grounding our empathy maps purely in assumption.
Some key ways you can research your supporters include:
Once you’ve found some key data points on your audience, identify groups that you’ll create empathy maps for. Use your research to guide your segmentation, but also consider:
It’s important to ensure that empathy maps aren’t created in isolation. You must draw insights from multiple staff and teams who know your customers well. This should include people who speak directly to your customers, such as call center staff or face-to-face representatives.
You can run this process through a workshop, using the grid above or an online workshopping tool like MURAL (we’ve done this a lot in 2020, and it has been great!).
Source: MURAL. Work collaboratively to build out your empathy map.
Once you’ve completed your empathy map, refine it into a final product to make them useful for the the implementing team.
The most valuable pieces of information to include are:
Here’s an example of an empathy map:
If you need help building your digital marketing strategy, ntegrity has worked with hundreds of not-for-profits across Australia to do just that! Reach out to us, we’re happy to chat.
The global pandemic has meant 2020 is far from ‘business as usual’. The behaviours of everyday people have changed. In…
When COVID first hit, not-for-profits were thrown into the deep end. The ntegrity team wanted to help, but social distancing…
In the time of social distancing and lockdown measures, more than ever, video is queen. 7 million Aussies watched YouTube…
Connecting with donors is as important as ever in our digitally-connected world. 76% of consumers now expect companies to understand…
We rocketed forward 5 years in consumer adoption of digital in the eight weeks since the beginning of the global…
WISE Employment is a leading disability employment services provider. Yet when their main referral source stopped providing them with leads, they partnered with us to develop a digital strategy and help execute the campaign to attract job seekers and employers, and fast.View Case Study