Once in a while charities target supporters by sending out free gifts; bookmarks, pens, stickers, wrapping paper and calendars. These are mainly promotional items and ‘conversation starters’. Once in a while charities need to feel as though they are giving something back to their committed donators. Realistically all of this material costs thousands to print and send out, and is this really money well spent?
Just as much as any branded product, consumers like to know exactly what they are getting for their money before making a decision to purchase the item. The same applies for any charitable donation; people wish to know where their money is going…
The charity sector is now one of the most challenging and competitive branding sectors. 15 years ago charities had logos and occasionally advertising agencies would create posters, with more with the intention to please the client and ‘win awards’. The first rebrands were subtle rather than dramatic.
The market began to change slowly, and charities started to understand that it is important that they are clear what they stood for. It is important that a charity and the branding convey what it does, and does not confuse people.
A UK breakthrough moment was when charities began to activate their names. Macmillan Cancer Research amended their name to Macmillan Cancer Support. Macmillan Cancer Support later incorporated a series of ‘we’ statements ‘We are Macmillan’. The idea was that the ‘We’ was all of us. And ‘we are all Macmillan’ and this had all of a sudden gone public. There is no doubt that Macmillan made people see how charity brands could become active, campaigning schemes in their own right and perhaps negate the need for advertising.
In a recent interview I had questioned a designer who has recently been hired to design for a specific charity. The charities aim was to hire someone who could take their current campaign in a different direction, with no control and something more creative.
I am currently investigating the methods charities use to successfully seek donations during this time of austerity and recession. I am particularly interested in how the donator seeks and chooses a charity to sponsor.
In the interview I questioned the targets. This particular charity’s primary concern and focus is to get people to donate. In order to do this successfully they send out separate campaigns to those who have donated before and those who have not. The focus on each is very different; those who have donated to the charity will usually include a case study to remind those of where their money is going, and the second campaign will focus heavily on getting those not donating to donate by highlighting the costs of everything including equipment.