What you need to know about the organization's beneficiaries

The activities of the third sector are based on providing value to groups that need support. These can be a variety of groups: senior citizens, young mothers, male and female students, or even animals or endangered plant species. For the good and effective work of your organization, it is necessary to define exactly for whom it works.

I. Definition of the group of recipients


If your organization already knows its mission, you know what you want to do and what area you operate in. This is a good starting point for developing your beneficiary's persona. A persona is a differently conceived character that fits perfectly with your audience. This is the kind of person you want to reach, offer value to and work with.
(Of course, there are organizations that reach different target groups, such as helping both male and female students and teaching staff. In that case, you should create two separate personae.)


Creating a persona of your ideal beneficiary or beneficiaries will make you better plan all your activities. To offer your audience the best product(s) you need to know them well. What do they need? In what form is it easiest for them to receive it? What is most interesting to them? How will they best benefit from it? Where can you look for them, how do you reach them? It will be easier for you to answer these questions once you understand exactly what kind of personas are involved.

Follow this link for a short video on personas, how and why they are created:

With your team, think about what groups in general matter in your chosen activity. E.g., if you are in the field of education, there will be male and female students, but also teaching staff, school principals, male and female students, lecturers, scientists. You have to choose which group (or groups) is crucial for you. Within one selected group you will create one persona.

Persona, i.e. the typical recipient of your activities, must be described according to:
Demographic data (his/her gender, age, place of origin and residence, education, occupation, marital status, family, assets, if relevant from the organization's perspective),
needs and problems (what problems of this person are important to you? what does he/she not like now, what is missing? or maybe what does he/she have in excess? what would he/she like to achieve?),
expectations of your value (what will he/she find attractive? what will he/she like? what would he/she want most?).

Remember to think about your prospect's time, location or physical capabilities when doing so. Can she afford a long weekend workshop if she is a single parent? Can she come to an event in Warsaw if she is an unemployed person from a small town?

II. Delivering value

When you already know who you will be acting for, it is time to consider what you can offer him/her. Guided by your organization's mission and vision, and knowing your team and its strengths, think about what value will be most valuable to your future beneficiaries. In doing so, you can think about:

What burden / problem can you solve for them?

By analyzing your beneficiary's persona, you can see what causes him trouble. What are the negative aspects of his daily life, what annoys him, what is missing, what is too difficult or too expensive? And what part of these things covers your area of activity?

What benefit will be attractive from their perspective?

Now think about what your prospect might find interesting, worth engaging with. What draws her attention. What solutions has she used so far? What does she like? What evokes positive emotions in her, what does she need to be satisfied with the service she is using?

What form should your offer take?

Once you know what bothers your beneficiaries and what they find attractive, you can think about what you and your organization can offer them. Where do your expectations and competencies overlap? What form will be most accessible to you together?


Add to the information you've already gathered the issues of your environment - consider whether there are external factors that may affect the special needs of your beneficiaries (economic and social situation in the country/region, unusual legal situation, current fashion).

Based on these thoughts, you can already get down to creating value propositions. According to the Golden Circle, these should answer the question "How?", that is, how do you conduct your activities? How do you differentiate yourself from other organizations that want to make a difference in this area? How will you deliver value to your beneficiaries? Below you will find some examples:


We help private drivers "share" their cars with people who need to move from one place to another.

ELSA Poland:

Members of ELSA, participating in the life of the Association, gain valuable experience and a new perspective in looking at the law, shaping future professional life and international relations.

Social Narcopolitics Initiative:

Educate how, if you are already taking drugs, to do so with as little harm as possible.

III. Recipient reactions

Even when you and your team develop the personas for whom you will organize activities and determine what you want to offer them, in practice you won't always be able to hit the tastes of the beneficiaries the first time. You have to be ready for this - consultation, learning lessons and improving the product must always come into play. After all, it is the recipients who are most important in this work.

How to observe audience engagement?


Try different methods to reach your audience and viewers. If you are holding an event, promote it through various channels, such as posters, Facebook ads, TikTok, newsletters, media releases sent to the local press. After your event, send a survey to participants and attendees asking them how they found out about the event. You will find out which method passed the test in this case.


You can set up a focus group (online or offline) of a dozen or so people who are direct recipients of the value your organization delivers. Talk to them about how they evaluate your activities. Ask them regularly what they are missing, what they can suggest, what they would change. This is a hugely valuable source of information and inspiration.


Use tools that collect data about your users. If you have an online business, you have a whole bunch of them, It's stats on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. You can record your results in Excel, for example, so you can compare when your organization has performed exemplarily and when something has failed.


After your events, meetings, webinars, campaigns, etc., send or deliver evaluation surveys to participants and attendees. Ask them questions about the overall evaluation of the activity, the prevailing atmosphere, the level of logistical and content preparation of your team, how much it helped them and what could be even better. The results of such a survey help you to notice spaces for improvement very quickly.

Based on your observations, draw conclusions - if your recipients and recipients receive more and more value from you, they will be more willing to associate with your organization, use its offerings and recommend its services to others. This kind of promotion is extremely effective, because it is based on mutual trust. However, to achieve this level of relationship with your beneficiaries, you must actively listen to them and respond to their needs. Of course, don't give up all your ideas in the process - also trust yourself and your team.

Engagement of beneficiaries

In a relationship with beneficiaries, it is important to sustain their involvement. One of the most engaging types of relationships with your audiences is involving them in decisions about your organization. However, this is very challenging - you need to think carefully about what issues your beneficiaries should have a real impact on and how to let them have their say.

There are applications such as ClubHouse that allow you to have moderated online discussions with a large group. Or you can work more simply and use Facebook's polling feature or Instagram Story. Making real changes after consulting with your audience will certainly have a positive impact on their relationship with your organization. They will feel that what you are creating is also in what part their own.

Such engagement doesn't have to be only about strategic decisions about changes in your organization, it can also occur with minor concerns. Engagement can also be sustained or increased by responding to your audience's comments, asking them questions, interacting at online and offline events, asking for feedback or asking for support.

IV. Stakeholders


Stakeholders are people or institutions that can affect or are affected by your organization. You should know about them, know them and interact with them if it is beneficial to you. How do you list your stakeholders?


Wanting to create a complete list of stakeholders, you will need to do a basic analysis of your environment. Take a piece of paper, open a Google search in a new tab and think about who might have a relationship with your organization. The following categories will help you do this:

Other organizations

What other NGOs deal with the same topic as yours? Which ones are close to you - are based in the same city, reach the same people, deal with exactly the same problem or offer similar activities? Which of them impress you, inspire you? Which of them would you like to cooperate with someday? If you don't know many of them, look for them on the Internet, ask your friends or your beneficiaries.

Public institutions

What institutions deal with the issues raised by your organization? For organizations dealing with culture, this will include theaters, community centers, art and music schools, but also the Ministry of Culture. Think about which beneficiaries these institutions reach, what do they offer them and what they cannot give them? Where (and if at all) will you find points of commonality and opportunities for cooperation, and in what field can you compete with each other? How do you get in touch with them? Perhaps some of these institutions fund projects of social organizations - in that case it is worth following their bid competitions.


Don't forget about business! Private entities can do very similar things to your organization. They differ in that their products and services are usually for sale. So think about whether there are companies that offer products similar to yours? Are they trying to reach the same audience? Can they support you financially, for example, or will you be competing with each other? You can also learn a lot from companies, such as marketing. Observe their promotion channels, analyze products and services, look for inspiration.


What media channels exist in your area? If your organization has a nationwide reach, the task is more difficult because you have to think about the same question on a much broader scale. Consider what channels are preferred by your target audience. What messages are attractive to it. Which media can help you promote your business.

Individuals and community groups

Perhaps there are individuals or groups who, although not your direct audience, can influence your activities in some way (or your organization can influence them). For an educational organization, for example, this could be the parents of male and female students. Granted, they won't benefit from educational events themselves, but they play an important role in deciding their children's activities. So how can you establish a relationship with them? Can you offer them some value, contact them? What can you expect from them? How can they help you achieve your goals?


The list of stakeholders is primarily a useful database of potential partners and competitors. It's worth observing the social media profiles of your stakeholders to keep abreast of their activities, promotional strategy, offers. This allows you to get timely funding for your activity, apply for an interesting training course, attend an industry event or get inspired by a marketing campaign. When working with stakeholders who reach the same target audience, you can also expand your audience.


I. Definition of the group of recipients
Let's start with persona
Creating a persona
II. Delivering value
What problem can you solve
What will be the benefit
Form of offer
What's next
III. Recipient reactions
How to observe engagement
Involvement of beneficiaries
IV. Stakeholders
Who are the stakeholders
List of stakeholders
Why I need to know

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