Every business or non-profit generally has one USP (Unique Selling Proposition). This is the most compelling reason why the target audience should consider you over your competition.
The most successful campaigns, ads, commercials or direct mail campaigns focus on highlighting what makes them unique — different from the competition. For example: Walmart’s USP is price, while IKEA’s is their showroom experience.
Sadly, many non-profits don’t even know what their USP is. When a non-profit doesn’t give donors solid facts about how it is special and why they should donate, they don’t.
Here are four distinctive ways non-profit have set themselves apart by doing things differently, and what you can learn from them:
1. Allocate Funding Differently
Charity: water explains clearly on their homepage the three things that make them different from other non-profits: their 100% model, their emphasis on proving where donations go with GPS tracking, and their collaborations with local partners in the countries to which they supply clean water.
How can your non-profit apply this? Before deciding on a value proposition, get to know your donors and talk to them about what’s most important to them.
Once you’re confident you’ve nailed a unique value proposition that both sets you apart from your competition and represents what your target market wants, make sure to include it on the most important pages of your website, in your headline on your homepage and in every communication piece.
2. Build Support Differently
Prostate Cancer Foundation came up with the campaign called Movember: Changing the face of men’s health through the power of the moustache.
Movember encourages people to fundraise on behalf of Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The campaign works for Prostate Cancer Foundation? because the most loyal donors are willing to urge another donor to sign up for your cause.
When you succeed at convincing someone to ‘recruit’ for you, you not only get the value of the new donor they acquire, you also roughly double the value of the current customer.
Similarly, in England, an organization called ‘London Dogs Rescue’ raises about half its income from individual supporters recruited through friend-get-a-friend initiatives.
How can your company apply this? Think of creative ways to encourage donors to link important personal experiences or events to your cause.
3. Share Your Message Differently
Special Olympics campaigns have succeeded by telling personal stories of their athletes—their trials and tribulations and the extreme hurdles and challenges they have faced and overcome.
A letter from their 2014 campaign is a great example of how the non-profit uses storytelling to communicate its message and inspire donors. It not only got a huge response but donors actually mailed back letters of encouragement as below:
How can your company apply this? Make storytelling a central part of your marketing efforts. Tell your company’s or your founder’s stories, or tell your donors’ stories through testimonials and case studies. Use photos or video to complement each narrative as much as possible.
You also can weave storytelling into your educational content. Ask one of your community volunteers to write about why he or she got involved with your organization.
4. Campaign Differently
Earth Hour is a worldwide movement of the planet organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The event is held worldwide annually encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet.
It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and took off from there.
How can your charity apply this? Sometimes you need to think outside the box in terms of how you campaign for your cause. Stick to one message that highlights what makes you unique.
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