How branding can help philanthropic ventures attract funding, Marketing & Advertising News, ET
Well, the answer is the “cause” in itself for which the fundraiser is being organised, and secondly, the recognition of the GiveIndia platform. Non-profit organisations and NGOs do “soft branding”, as opposed to the “hard branding” techniques adopted by corporations. By talking about their good deeds and conveying the impact of their work, non-profits create a name for themselves. Soft branding techniques help these organisations stay within the eye-span of donors and rich patrons. Perhaps, this is what helped billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott select 286 NGOs as beneficiaries of her $2.7 billion grant package.
“Non-profits don’t have money to promote themselves. Doing good work is the only way to brand value. Everything boils down to how well-connected you are with the aam janata,” says Anshu Gupta, founder, Goonj.
Goonj, GiveIndia, The Nudge Foundation, Act Grants, Cini, Digital Green, Dream A Dream, Jan Sahas, MagicBus and Mann Deshi are among the 14 recipients of Scott’s grant from India.
“For an NGO to be a high recall brand, it must straddle two very distinct demographics: The beneficiary target that the NGO is impacting, and the donor base,” says Suchetha Bhat, CEO, Dream A Dream. “We ensure regular communication with our donors through newsletters and impact reports. We also use social media to reach target audiences outside our immediate influence.”
Spreading the word
All NGOs are expected to do good work, that’s a given. Key is how they spread the word of their good deeds. Established NGOs use the internet and social media to raise awareness around the causes they work for. Small-ticket donors who make regular contributions prefer to know the impact they have made over time. Corporates and foundations — which make large one-time donations — rely on testimonials, action reports and pitches.
“A non-profit weighs heavy on the trust they bring — and trust has to co-exist with capabilities and transparency. Free-huggers and do-gooders do not get grants,” says Atul Satija, CEO of GiveIndia and founder of The Nudge Foundation. “NGOs can start off by being transparent about their true intent, build on capabilities and then scale up.”
Thanks to social media, even small NGOs have an opportunity to showcase their work to the world. Jan Sahas, a Madhya Pradesh-based NGO which works in the field of migrant worker protection for over 20 years, is a good example of how smaller organisations can amplify their work. “You have to be innovative; people like new ideas and strategies,” says Ashif Shaikh, founder of Jan Sahas. “To communicate better, you need a simple model that can be replicated in any part of the world. Once the model is in place, and you’ve created a profile of good work, you can widen your support base by reaching out to more people.”
Having the pedigree and the backing of a few reputed donors can also help. Most NGOs are structured around individuals who are hard workers, know the space well and have a spotless image. “They have to be seen as champions in the space they work, and they have to keep championing continuously,” says Harish Bijoor, a prominent brand consultant.
“For easy fundraising, these individuals have to be well-known in the donor market. Careful use of social media is a good way to stay relevant. But the medium they use must also reflect the sobriety of the work they do. Not all platforms are good for NGO brand building,” he says. Quality work and positive impact are all signs of a good NGO. But for an NGO to truly become a brand, it has to stay in the minds of people, he adds.
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