Reaching your target audiences - Did I get it right?

4 Tips to Get to Know Your Target Audience

When implementing a study, you need to know who you want answers from and who accesses your results. Defining these two pieces of information is vital before you begin your study or your data could be misleading. You risk not having accurate results and ultimately losing the ability to make data-driven decisions. Ask yourself, who do you want responses from? Is it your clients, or is it employees or volunteers? It could be a mixture of both! Then, who do you want to read your results? Why are you doing the evaluation? Is it for your own organization or is it for your stakeholders? Knowing who you want to hear from and who you want to read your results is essential when planning your evaluation. This blog offers 4 tips to help identify your target audiences.

1. Develop Your Key Questions 

What questions are you trying to answer? Are you asking how your product or program impacts individuals who use it, or do you want to know how to support staff or volunteers more in delivering it? Or is it a mixture? Before learning about your target audience, you must identify what you are trying to learn. When deciding which questions to ask, consider who will utilize the results. If your evaluation is for your stakeholders or funders, gather their input. What do they need to be measured? Maybe your evaluation is for the general public to recruit more clients. What would they want to see?  Deciding what questions you need answered and who will see the results will tell you who you should be trying to reach. You can then begin to define your target audience further. 

2. Talk to Your Audiences 

Sometimes the easiest way to learn about your target audience is by talking to them. If you do not already have background information on your audience, start by asking some simple questions or conducting a survey to learn more about them. Include questions that ask about their demographics, their interests, how they found your organization, and how they utilize your services. Before your organization puts time, money, and effort into an evaluation, use this step to get quick and essential information. REC can support your organization with this step by helping you design a survey and distributing it to your clients.

3. Consider Demographics 

Once you have gathered your audience’s information, define their demographics. Demographics will be important when deciding how you will share your evaluation and the results. If you do not consider demographics, your information may not reach who you intended. While age and socioeconomic status are two of the most commonly used demographic factors, there are several others to consider.  

The audiences involved in your key questions have their own unique characteristics. While age and socioeconomic status are pieces of this, what else is unique to these populations? Does your organization serve a vulnerable population? If so, what factors do you need to consider when working with them?

For example, an organization serving victims of domestic violence needs to consider different factors than an organization serving owners of dogs. It might not be safe to call victims of domestic violence after they have utilized services, whereas a follow-up call with a dog owner could be a great option. Begin by looking at your organization’s data first. Your organization may already collect some of this information. 

Other important demographics to consider are language, education levels, and location. Each of these factors can help you learn more about who your target audience is. When you have a better idea of their demographics, you can begin thinking about how those demographics contribute to their behaviors. 

4. Consider Audience Behaviors 

Audience behaviors are an additional factor to consider regarding your target audience. For example, suppose your program is an after-school program for teens and you want to evaluate its effectiveness. Teens might be more active on social media; therefore, you could use Facebook or Instagram to publicize your study while a program aimed at older adults might need to be publicized via flyers sent to their homes or a phone bank. Audience behaviors are going to vary based on their demographics, thus it is important to consider those characteristics, as well. While this list of audience behaviors is not exhaustive, some important ones to consider are:

How do the people you serve communicate with you?

How does your audience communicate with you? Do they call or email you? What about your audience that is receiving the results? How do you interact with them? One way to learn more about your audience communication is by talking with your volunteers and employees. They may have the best up-to-date information on the clients they serve. REC can support your organization in finding the best way to communicate with your audience. 

How does your audience pay for and/or receive your services? 

How your audience pays for or receives your services can indicate how to reach them. Clients who pay for your service online without help can probably complete an online study. On the other hand, clients who only pay in person with cash might need support filling out something online. Use your internal data to quickly establish your client’s patterns. 

How did your audience find you? 

Did your audience find you with an online ad or from word of mouth? This can also help you decipher where to publicize your study and its results. In the same way your audience pays online, if they find you online, you can assume they can do an online study. Again, use internal data first to see if your organization already has this information. 

What are your audience’s interests?

Finding out your audience’s interests will help you narrow down where to publicize your study or its results. If your audience is interested in sports cars, then publishing the findings from your new car accessory satisfaction study in a car magazine could reach new customers. If your audience prefers to shop online, sending a survey invitation via email instead of only asking in person could reach more people.  Learning their interests will save your organization precious time and money! 

Want to dive deeper into your target audience? 

Reach out to REC to schedule a free 30-minute consultation session. We are experts in data and evaluation. We are here to help your organization!


BetterEvaluation. (2022). Develop Agreed Key Evaluation Questions. BetterEvaluation. Link:

Marketing Evolution. (2022). Steps to Find Your Target Audience. Marketing Evolution.

Schneider, D. (2021). What Is a Target Audience and How You Can Analyze Yours. Research Intelligence.

Shtivelband, A. (2021). Collecting Quality Data – 4 Questions. Research Evaluation Consulting LLC. Link:

Shtivelband, A (2023).5 Program Evaluation Questions to Ask Your Funders. Research Evaluation Consulting LLC. Link:

Ventiv Technology. (2022). What’s the Difference Between Internal and External Data? Ventiv Technology. Link:

Related Posts: 

Data Collection in Practice: A Non-profit Case Study

4 Dos and Don’t for Creating Youth Surveys 

Quantitative Versus Qualitative Data 

When to Hire an External Evaluator – A Checklist!

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