How can charities begin to restore trust and re-establish their emotional connection with the public?
Listening to, and then acting from, their hearts is just what charities need to do right now. Human beings respond to emotion.
If this isn’t the number one question on the minds of charity sector CEOs, they are doing a massive disservice to their fundraising, communications and membership teams. Without a clearly defined brand, and a powerful (and consistent) plan to communicate it outwardly, how can any charity expect the public to understand – or more importantly care – who they are?
Whilst the symptoms of a poorly thought through brand strategy are much discussed – falling donations, dwindling membership, negative publicity etc – the deeper rooted issues are much less often explored. Organisations in all sectors pour money into digital media, marketing, employee engagement and PR, but the impact of this spending is too often undermined by failing to recognise that brand is what sits at heart of it all.
And listening to, and then acting from, their “hearts” is just what charities need to do right now. Human beings respond to emotion. We respond to authenticity. We respond to powerful stories, well told; publishing results and increasing transparency may neutralise criticism, but these measures alone are not enough to restore the connection charities have lost.
From our perspective, charities cannot afford to ignore or dismiss these difficult findings or the falling levels of trust that accompany them. Those who continue to remain aloof from the public; to focus too heavily on data over emotion; to shut their supporters out – those charities need to undertake a serious risk assessment, and the results are unlikely to paint an encouraging picture.
On the other hand we believe there is ample opportunity for charities who get in touch with their emotional side, and harness the power of brand to regain momentum. You don’t need to look far for the success stories, but look closer and more often than not these come in the form of flash-funded disaster relief campaigns, or support for socially minded for-profit businesses, and increasingly less so in the form of traditional, established charity brands.
Which fork in the road will your organisation take?
We’d love to talk to you about how your brand can ‘get more emotional’ and reconnect with the public – if any of this feels relevant to the challenges your charity is facing, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org