Step 3. Know your target group
Decide who you want to reach
Identify, get to know and involve your target group early in your project.
You will need to clearly identify your target group and gain an understanding of their current knowledge, attitudes and practices concerning the issue.
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- Understand the characteristics of your target group. This will make it easier for you to select the most appropriate method for achieving your educational objectives (see step 4).
- Spend some time finding out about your target group and where they stand in relation to the issue. This will help you define your project's objectives and outcomes more accurately.
- Involve your target group. As well as providing important information for your project design this can also open up 'potential access points', or opportunities for approaching your target group, once the project is under way.
- Consider doing some preliminary research to find out and record your target group's current knowledge, attitudes and practices relating to the issue. This will help in evaluating the project (see step 8).
- Define your target group in terms of characteristics such as age, gender, culture, locality, interest and occupation. These can have a strong influence on your group's current knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour.
- Researching your target group need not be complicated: it may simply involve setting up a focus group or discussion with a sample of people (say, 5-10) who are representative of the group.
- Remember that your target group will also be a stakeholder in the project. If possible, find representatives from your target group to be part of your stakeholder network.
- Be aware of the possible negative aspects of the project (threats and risks) for the target group. Find ways to turn these around to benefits.
- Try to find a 'hook' or motivating factor that will encourage the target group to be on side.
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Questions you can ask
- Who are we trying to reach/influence through this project?
- Is there more than one target group? (Define each group precisely.)
- What incentives are there for the target group to be involved with the project?
- What does the target group know, feel, want, believe and value about the problem or issue?
- What are the threats, risks, costs and benefits for the target group?
- What is the best way of reaching the target group?
- If they are not already involved with the issue, what will motivate our target group to be involved?
- What support do we need to give the target group to help achieve the project's outcomes?
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Case Study: Shoalhaven Business
Who we identified as our target group
Our target group comprised:
- owners and operators (primarily males aged 18-50 years) in small industries and businesses in two industrial estates in south Nowra
- priority industries: motor vehicle repair and servicing businesses.
What we knew about our target group
- We had limited information about the current knowledge, attitudes and practices of operators in the industrial estates.
- There was a general lack of resources and support services for small industries and businesses.
- The group would respond best to a positive approach that identified solutions.
Money, good publicity and community citizenship were the motivators for change.
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Page last updated: 27 February 2011