Finding Your Ideal Member: A Process for Non-Profit Organizations

    May 5, 2003

The right time to create a fact sheet is any time you need to spoon-feed a reporter on a complex subject.

Reporters don’t mind thinking, they just don’t want to think too hard. They simply don’t have the time. They are writing history in a hurry. The accent is on “hurry.”

When you know who your ideal member is, you’ll spend your time and energy directly on the individuals who will want to join your organization! Makes sense, doesn’t it?

One tool very important tool to help you market to your ideal member is called your “Ideal Member Profile.” Designing this profile is a great exercise for non-profit organizations.

To make sure that you know who your ideal member is, create a survey for your current membership to complete. Then before you finalize your profile, ask others who you’ve told about the organization to tell you who they think your ideal member might be. Don’t forget to ask new members why they joined. I bet you’ll learn a lot!

Once your profile is completed, use it when evaluating a new marketing tool. Asks yourself Is this something my ideal member would need, enjoy or purchase? Will this attract my ideal member to this organization?

If the answer is no, then skip this idea, and save yourself time and money.

Things you can do with your Ideal Member Profile:
1. Give a copy to all your friends, family, employees or contractors.
2. Find a terrific frame for it and hang it on your office wall.
3. Use it on your Web site.
4. Carry a copy as a reminder.
5. Create an affirmation (special type of positive statement: ) that will help you to attract your ideal member.
6. Review your ideal member statement or list every six months as part of your overall business plan.

Over time, your Ideal Member Profile will change as your organization evolves. To be prepared for such re-evaluations, take note of who you are really attracting to your organization: who is not coming back and why, who is staying, and who is subscribing to your newsletters. Keep track of these things over time, analyze the patterns you see and use the information to your best advantage when deciding on, and marketing to, your ideal member.

Step 1: Answer these “Ideal Member Questions”

If you are completing the area below using Word 2000, put your cursor in the gray shaded area, which will expand as you type. If you print this page, you’ll have enough space to write your answers in the areas provided.

1. Age, gender, sexual preference, religion and whatever demographics fit.
2. What attributes do they posses? (Passion, consistency, committed)
3. What are they passionate about?
4. Where do they live? Where do they work?
5. What types of people, places or things do they like?
6. How do they learn and where do they like to go to learn?
7. What do they read? When do they read it? Where do they read?
8. What shops, Web sites, etc. do they purchase products from?
9. What meetings, groups, and classes do they attend?
10. What type of people are you attracting to your organization?
11. Add the answers to other questions you determine are important here.

Step 2: The Format

Once you have the answers to “Step 1”, the 2nd part of this process is to create an Ideal Member Statement.

1. Take everything from above and remove all duplication.
2. Design a 3-sentence description (less if possible) about your Ideal Member. Consider age, where they live, why they want to join, and what things they enjoy.
3. Create a list of places where you’ll find your ideal client.
4. Get to work on creating your marketing plan.

2003 Maria Marsala. I help business owners make and keep more of their hard earned money. Join “Elevating You” ezine and request a complimentary consultation at