What is a Fan Base?

I’ve been writing for A Small Change for more than 2 years now. I am always trying to keep track of what you, my readers, are reading, what your expectations are when you come to my site, and what content you’d like me to create in the future. It has been interesting to start watching online group dynamics, and where my readers visit and comment. For example I know that the vast majority of people who read this post will never comment, send it off to a friend, or tweet about it. In fact, a large number of readers will not even spend enough time on this page to finish reading this sentence.

Over the last couple of years, I have started to think of my readers as a uniform group or fan base (I don’t like the word fan base as it sounds so egotistical, especially in my context, but the trends describing a fan base illustrate my point really well). Although I have not had the opportunity to meet each one of my readers, there are specific trends that are consistent. Within that group, there are smaller sub-groups that follow behavioral and/or viewing patterns even more closely. For example readers in New York read my posts earlier in the day than readers in Seattle or California so I try and make sure my posts are live by 5 or 6 a.m. Pacific time so that people on the east coast can sit at their desks to read my blog first thing in the morning. Another example would be that a number of my readers write blogs of their own, these individuals have a higher propensity to leave a comment or share my posts with others.

For your nonprofit organization, it is valuable to know this kind of information about your donors. What cities and neighborhoods do they live in, what kinds of homes do they own? From that information alone you can make some general assumptions that will better resonate with your donors in your annual appeal or at events. As you track this information, you can use it to create a stronger relationship with your donors. As they become more responsive, you can ask them to do more, to come to another event or give an additional gift.

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