Unless the nonprofit organization (NPO) you are working for is called the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Amnesty International, or Habitat for Humanity - in short, popular and well established, you will definitely be hard-pressed pushing for your NPO without knowing your target audience. Everything pertaining to a business or helping others out through funding need a target audience both for receiving and helping - honest truth. If you don't have a target audience, you are sincerely lost.
Don't throw in the towel just yet. There are ways of unearthing your target audience.
- Write and speak to every media outlet in your vicinity. Finding your target audience means getting the word out that you are looking for them. Get the information out by seeking interviews through print, radio, and TV. You can even participate in podcasting sessions by websites who share your NPO's mission to reach a global audience. It will keep you busy making appearances and will most probably test your endurance (and make you lose your voice for a while) but there is no other way unless you are willing and able to take this project on through newspaper ads (expensive and sometime useless).
- Branch out to specialty publications. If your NPO is into housing or education, you can look for like-minded publications and tap into these as your points of contact. By all means, seek an audience with the editor and ask for help.
- Lay down your PR blitz. It's charity dinners and benefits now and sports later. Target the public now and focus on your big-buck donors later. This is the benefit of using a PR plan. The PR plan helps you follow a schedule that slowly drum rolls your NPO into public consciousness through carefully mapped-out events and activities. Without a PR plan, you are blindly searching in the dark for mere pennies when you can collect greenbacks in broad daylight.
- Rally your people. Every person in your NPO staff should share your passion about your cause. They are your biggest and most effective endorser. When all is said and done, the power and influence of word-of-mouth advertising can't be beat. Just remember to properly orient your internal staff a.k.a. cheerleaders what kind of demographic you want to capture then let them loose into the world.
- Employ marketing tactics. Treat your NPO like a brand. No, wait! Your NPO is the brand! Employ marketing tactics like social media! Twitter and Facebook are free marketing strategies that you can employ to push your NPO. Just sign up for an account. Even if you do get asked to pay a fee, it will be minimal so go ahead and sign up using twitter and Facebook.
- Be present and make sure people know where to reach you. Don't go traveling around the country if you have not saturated your market in your immediate location. Work from the inside out. Once this has been accomplished, pack your bags and promote your NPO elsewhere and where your target audience awaits!
Keep your eye on the prize and as long as you and your team work hard to reach your target audience, you will get to your goal in a slow but sure way!