Surprising Insights You Get When You Ask the Right Way

This year, one of our longtime clients—Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia—decided it was time to re-think their donor magazine.

It’s one of those projects your probably recognize —so much work that it feels like it just isn’t worth the effort. And because it’s hard to know if it’s effective, it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list after projects with obvious impact like events and appeals.

At first, the idea was to simply redesign the magazine. But we knew a redesign wasn’t going to fix the underlying challenges. So, we suggested using our audience-focused AMIE approach to clarify the magazine’s purpose and direction.

The AMIE framework (audience, message, image, experience) was designed to use in our branding projects. With this project, we realized it would be just as helpful in evaluating and re-considering this magazine’s role in donor communication.

But after research, some surprising insights surfaced:

  1. The magazine’s target audience needed to be adjusted.
    In the past, the magazine was produced with major donor prospects in mind, particularly individuals Einstein hoped to move toward the $100,000 level. After conducting a stakeholder session, it became clear that the piece needed to speak to grateful patients and donors at the $10,000 level—a big difference!
  2. Donors wanted a magazine—but they wanted different content.
    In depth interviewing of donors in the target audience, revealed that scrapping the magazine wasn’t what these donors wanted. These conversations clarified and expanded the type of content they wanted to see. And it didn’t include the magazine’s most difficult to produce element—a profile of a high-level donor.
  3. Print was preferred.
    Lots of organizations rush to save on printing costs by going digital—without considering ROI (return on investment). After interviewing Einstein’s donors, it became clear that they valued a printed piece. Older donors were simply more comfortable with paper. Slightly younger donors reported being so inundated with digital content that they stopped reading it.

Even though we’re only partway through the AMIE process, Einstein has already gained valuable insights into the future of their magazine, insights that will make the entire endeavor feel a whole lot more worthwhile.

So that’s what we’ve learned about Einstein’s audience so far. What about yours?

Every audience is different. You’ll never know what yours is thinking unless you ask.

If you’d like to get to know you audience better — or to really tackle that problem piece that’s haunting you — give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at