Donor communication is essential to the life of a healthy nonprofit. When approaching donor communication, the fundraiser must bear in mind this three-pronged question: “what sort of contact do donors prefer, how will this communication strengthen the relationship, and how will this particular message improve their giving?”

Even though fundraisers can’t always ascertain exactly what sort of communication donors want, they can always be sure that donors want to know, and see, how their donated money is being put to use and how it is making a positive impact in the world.

In a recent survey, the Charity Aid Foundation found that 68 percent of donors believe providing evidence of a charity’s impact is valuable to retaining their support. Such results clearly show that the majority of donors need affirmation that their gifts are accomplishing a good.

Showing evidence of the nonprofit’s impact certainly is an effective way to communicate with donors, but how often can a charity “update” their constituents before it becomes annoying?

Here, a fundraiser must take into account the donors personality type (persona). Each persona requires different communication styles. Women and men, the young and the old, major and smaller donors, frequent and infrequent — all communicate in their own way and want to be communicated with differently. The 2015 Money for Good report takes this concept further and splits donors into a variety of personas: Contented Benefactors (20 percent of donors), Busy Idealists (15 percent of donors), Cautious Strivers (14 percent of donors), Unaware Potentials (28 percent of donors), and Unengaged Critics (23 percent of donors). These groups all prefer different sorts of communication based on their individual persona.

When sending out updates to your constituents, be aware that your donors are not all the same – that they have distinct personas which require a communication strategy that fits. But above all, keep in mind that no matter which persona your donor fits, she will always want to see tangible proof of progress and impact.

See Nonprofit Quarterly for more.