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Industry Spotlight; Not-for-profit & Charity Meets Zoolander

06 February 2018

Similar to Derek Zoolander’s “Centre For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too”, not-for-profits/charities are often perceived as being less businesslike and bottom-line driven than their for-profit counterparts. So let us expand on this very important business sector…

No better model for learning how to cultivate passionate and loyal “customers.”

Not-for-profits are masters of engagement and often finding creative ways to do more with less. Not only do they know there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, really, ridiculously good looking, they also know how to spur their stakeholders to action, grow their support base and maintain those supporters for life.

So, whether you’re a start-up, setting up a centre for ants or an established business selling bandannas, technology or educational service, your business may have more in common with not-for-profits than you realise.

Start with these four lessons about marketing your product in the Derek Zoolander way.

1. Nail the value proposition

Best-in-class not-for-profits make sure their donors can easily wrap their heads around where their money is going and what they will get for it. They really understand how to make their message resonate with their audience.

Think about how powerful and effective the “for the price of a cup of coffee, you can feed one child” value proposition is. It brings us to a place of great perspective, motivates us and, in the simplest and most related way, illustrates the amazing impact one person can make.

2. Research your constituents, not just your market.

Budgets are always an issue for not-for-profits. Their lack of available funds often forces them to be more creative and resourceful. It also means they can’t afford to miss the mark when it comes to understanding their client base.

Market research is just as important for not-for-profits as for any other business – it’s the best way to understand what motivates their clients, what needs they should serve and how they’re doing. Even large not for profits such as Red Cross regularly check in to see which causes are most important to donors and volunteers, so they can market accordingly.

3. Use emotion to tell your story.

Not-for-profits are renowned for humanizing stories and using emotive messaging and language to reach their clients. “Centre For Children Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too” sums this up pretty well. The people, cause or issue takes centre stage, and the organisation follows. These organisations also never let you forget that there are people involved.

They keep their beneficiaries and benefactors out in front, making personal, memorable connections and invite individuals to share their own stories and images as a part of their campaigns. Even if your product or service doesn’t feel inherently emotional, embrace emotion as a marketing asset.

Stop talking about features and benefits, and message around the relatable emotion behind the problem, cost or pain that your solution addresses!

4. Create a clear and compelling call to action.

While not-for-profit branding initiatives do exist, when they put energy into promoting their cause, you can expect a clear and timely “ask.” Every business should have clear-cut calls to action for each target audience and make sure the entire company is trained on them.

Horner Recruitment is an end to end HR consulting organisation with many years experience of working with and recruiting for not-for-profits and charities. We are small enough to be personalised and well-resourced enough to help our clients achieve business agility and outcomes.

We have experience and can recruit all categories of staff from sorters at a charity warehouse to the Chief Executive Officer for a multi million dollar business. Services can be tailored to meet your organisations specific needs.


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