Last night before my sorority’s chapter meeting, Kalli Veldman, a junior at Elon University, and one of her Sigma Sigma Sigma sisters came to share with us a cause that their organization cares deeply about: Home of Hope. Now, by no means is my sorority a quiet group of girls- I would describe us more as extremely opinionated and social girls- but for the entire ten minutes that these girls talked to us about Home of Hope, we were dead silent. She described the orphanage as a safe place for children and women to escape cycles of prostitution, and that their chapter alone had raised enough money for a plumbing system for the orphanage. When she played a short YouTube video to wrap up her presentation, you can tell that everyone in the room felt compelled to help.
And then it hit me: we really are a more socially-aware and environmentally-conscious world. We are compelled by causes and want to make a difference.
According to the Edelman Goodpurpose Study 2012, 53% of people would be compelled to buy a certain good based on social purpose, if price and quality were the same as other products. In 2011, Forbes reported that 94% of Americans alone would purchase a product with a social purpose over a competitor’s with similar price and quality, according to Cone Communication’s research.
So, what drives people to support non-profits?
Since the beginning of this semester, my class has been observing and researching different marketing techniques and brand trends in the non-profit sector and cause marketing. The following are factors that I think are essential for non-profits.
- Emotional connection: From my interviews with other students last week, I found that people want to be enticed to help. According to Cone Communication’s customer survey post Cyber Monday and Black Friday, “consumers’ heartstrings are leading their purchase decisions and putting brands’ support of social issues at the top of their gift lists.” People are much more willing to spend money or time when they feel a tug at their heart. Compassion is the first step towards persuading people to get involved.
- People involved want to see results! They want to know that THEY are making a DIFFERENCE.
Jenna Sonlin and Tori Sonlin, a junior and freshman at Elon University, both paid $50 to the Home for Hope Orphanage to sponsor an orphan. After they donated, they received pictures of the orphan they sponsor and a collage from the orphan. Each month, they receive cards and letters from their orphan and can pen pal them. Fifty dollars is a lot for college students without jobs, but they both believe that it’s rewarding because they get to see their orphan grow and can interact with them.
People want to see their results, no matter how much they are able to contribute. Donating and volunteering today is about making a difference more than anything else.
- Power of Story: In one of last week’s classes, Holly Stewart discussed the importance of building a story. Every brand needs a story- why it was started, it’s mission, it’s vision- and consumers and customers want to be able to envision themselves in this story. Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, the elements that make ideas and brands memorable, also believe that creating a story is essential for non-profits and for-profit organizations. ” The story’s power is twofold: It provides stimulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act)..both benefits, stimulation and inspiration, are geared to generating action.”
- Heartache to Hope: It’s important to make consumers feel emotional about a cause, but it’s also important to establish how the organization and it’s volunteers and donors are making a positive change. You never want to leave your consumer feeling hopeless.
Trending…Teaming up with For-profit organizations
After discussing so many different organizations that team up with non-profits in class, it’s crazy to think of how many companies would want to get involved (Pampers and UICEF, National Geographic and World Wildlife Foundation, Dawn and the International Bird Rescue/The Marine Mammal Center, etc!). It’s beneficial for both parties- providing larger audiences and donations for non-profits, while the for-profits can expand their image of being socially responsible.
A great example of strong co-branding between a non-profit and for-profit organization is Disney and the African Wildlife Foundation. Disney released African Cats in 2011, a documentary of African wildlife similar to March of the Penguins. Disney then donated a percentage of the first ticket’s sales to the African Wildlife Foundation. This drove people to go see the movie the first week it was realized, and it reached an audience that cared about African wildlife.
This brings us to… ABAN
This semester, a team of three other students and myself are working towards increasing traffic, awareness, and sales of a non-profit organization started in the North Carolina community.
A Ban Against Neglect (ABAN) is a non-profit organization that strives to improvement Ghana’s environment and empower street women and children to restoring themselves and creating better futures.
40 tons of plastic is thrown on the street everyday. 30,000 children sleep on those same streets.
They provide a 2-year program for 20 street women that heals their body through providing a safe home, nutritious meals, and healthcare, develops their mind through educational classes (math and reading), life-skills courses, and responsible living, and nurtures their spirit by helping them develop positive views of themselves, community engagement, and spiritual life. By the end of the two year program, these girls have learned life skills and trade skills that will give them the opportunity for better futures.
ABAN Community Employment (ACE), ABAN’s for-profit subsidiary, sells bags and accessories made of the plastic littering that they collect from the streets of Accra, Ghana.
Ultimately, ABAN strives to create a place where women realize their worth and dignity and empowers them to transform their futures.
In the future, ABAN hopes to be able to help more women and open other locations.
I am extremely excited about the opportunity to work with ABAN and help them strategize marketing techniques to reach their goals. It’s an exciting project considering how socially-aware my generation is and how willing people are to be involved with products and organizations that make a difference.
I am especially looking forward to researching for-profit companies that support and co-brand with non-profit organizations like ABAN. I think this is an untapped trend that ABAN could really benefit from.
This post is a part of a series of posts for Integrated Marketing Communications class that explores strategies of integrated marketing communications and recognizes strong and weak branding strategies today.