On Wednesday, September 28, 2011, I had the honor and pleasure of discussing the subject of Branding 2.0 for NGOs as part of a joint collaboration conference between Microsoft Egypt, UNDP and ICT Trust Fund, entitled “Nebny Masr” or “Building Egypt,” that was hosted by the Sawy Culture Wheel in Zamalek. Over 200 NGOs from all over Egypt gathered to learn how to make the best use of technology in fighting for their cause (read more …).
The truth is Branding for NGOs is not very different from branding any other product/service or even personal branding. During my presentation, I asked the audience if they agreed that fundraising is the main problem of NGOs, to which I got a confirmation of more than 90%. However, that is not true.
Money is not an obstacle, nor is it a goal!
Contributor/Donors are all around and they do have the money, but we need to take a closer look at their thought process.
- Transparency – Donors would like to know if their donations are being spent in the right place and for the right cause.
- Conversion – Donors attention span is similar to any consumer, continuously bombarded by different messages. Once the donor has landed on the NGO’s site, knowing how he/she can help should be obvious. The “conversion” rate from potential donor to an actual one should be made simple.
- The Right Cause – with millions of NGOs around the world, choosing the right one to support can become a nightmare.
So if money is not the problem facing NGOs, then what is? Branding! Yes, the right branding allows NGOs to stand out from the crowd and earn the attention of the “right” donor.
Right donor? Just like any other brand, an NGO should never try to position itself as a crowd pleaser and seek the attention of everybody – it should aim at staying true to the cause it serves and the values its build on. The right donor is the one that shares similar values and beliefs.
But what strategy should NGOs follow to brand themselves? The one I’d recommend is Storytelling. We can all remember a story from when were 5, even younger … as humans, we always relate to stories! Storytelling is the perfect branding tool: unique, memorable, and sharable. Seth Godin detailed the art of great story telling that I think you should all read.
- Character-driven storytelling
- Action-driven storytelling
- Atmosphere-driven storytelling
- Emotion-driven storytelling