Nonprofit News from 4imprint
How well does your charity communicate its core purpose? Could you sum up what you are all about in a single sentence? If you are struggling to answer these questions, then it might be time to re-evaluate how you are marketing your brand. After all, it can be easy to fall into the trap of simply telling people what you do without actually saying why you do it.

This dichotomy was highlighted recently by charity consultant Carla Miller, who said the most purposeful organisations are those that put the reasons why it was set up at the heart of everything they do. She believes that while charities should be particularly good at explaining their purpose, many businesses are in fact doing a better job of this and commanding extremely strong loyalty as a result.

Just look at how people are so enamoured by Apple’s products, to the point where the launch of a new product is a genuine media event and people are queuing up around the block outside its stores. This happens simply because Apple has promoted its purpose to consumers extremely well, with innovation, strong design, simplicity and a desire to make life easier being placed at the heart of everything it does. In other words, people associate it with much more than a product. They connect it with an ethos and set of values – and charities must do the same. So how exactly can this be done?

Look at what other charities say & do
If other charities work in the same sphere as you, review their marketing activity from the advertising they create to the social platforms they utilise to engage with followers. Do they sell printed items such as trolley coin keyrings and cotton shoppers to raise additional funds and do they give out printed balloons or stickers to raise awareness at their events?

Pay close attention to what words they use, particularly on slogans and straplines. You might quickly realise that many of them are saying broadly the same thing as you and use very similar words and phrases.

This ultimately means it’s hard for people to distinguish between you all, so you need to say something unambiguous and distinctive that clearly sets out what you’re all about. Ms Miller believes Parkinson’s UK is one charity that has done this especially well, as its strapline – Change attitudes. Find a cure. Join us. – does “exactly what it says on the tin.”

Think about your purpose every day
Your purpose, ethos and values must be more than mere marketing fodder. It all needs to be part of your organisation, so think about your purpose regularly and consider it when decisions are being made. Your purpose must guide everything you do, from taking on new members of staff to when and how you communicate with existing and potential donors. It places it at the centre of your organisation in a very real and meaningful way.

Tell powerful stories online
Digital platforms such as Facebook, blogs and YouTube have given charities lots of ways to tell engaging stories, all without breaking the bank. The story of one inspirational individual could be exactly what is required to help you stand out from the crowd and rally the masses into donating to your cause.

Businesses with loyal customer bases know how to communicate their unique selling points and place their fundamental purpose at the heart of their operations. Charities need to do the same and instil their ethos into everything they do, especially when they are trying to persuade people to donate. This approach could be exactly what is required to gain a steady stream of donations from a sizeable group of loyal followers.

 

Sources / Further Reading
Charities need to remember why they exist – and shout about it The Guardian
Sample Mission Statements For Charities and Non-Profit Groups Better Fundraising Ideas
Four big reasons to invest in digital Charity Digital News