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Digital Alchemy. Human Experiences.

With the advent of the social impact companies comes the dawn of a change in thinking away from charities with cap-in-hand. This represents victims towards profitable organisations that produce results and social return on investment.

Marketing for these new age organisations becoming a lot more like normal commercial communications – no more pro bono; rather we have proper commercial agreements with agencies in order to produce tangible results. What that said, let’s take a look at some of the marketing trends within the industry and how we can apply them to our own organisations:

Move away from a victim narrative to a victor narrative: We see so much plight in the world that we are becoming immune to the pictures of the malnourished African boy with the flies buzzing around his head. Everyone talks about the misery – too many messages that follow the same vein. To differentiate yourself you need to take a three-prong approach with your messaging:

  1. Talk about the problem – introduce the bad guy / trough
  2. Introduce the good guy / peak
  3. Help the user and make it measureable, transparent attributable in order to create engagement.

We need content that is going to stimulate other parts of our brain in order to wake us up and make us active again. Check out what is being done with Charity: Water – it’s sensational and hopeful and transparent. Of note is also the inspiring work that Macmillan does in combating cancer by getting their community to do walks and shave their heads as signs of solidarity.

Measurement, transparency, attribution and personalisation: We’re seeing a move towards social impact organisations as less of a funds black hole than their charity predecessors by showing measurement of their impact, where the money is going and towards what, as well as personalising their stories towards the donor. Let’s take a look at how Charity Water does it:

Charity: Water affixes transponders to each of the wells that they dig around the world. So if Amy, for example, sponsors a well we can see that Amy’s $5 has gone to a community in Rwanda and that has produced a certain amount of water per day based on the measurement of the transponder:

On the communications side of things, the donor gets a personalised story which indicates the progress update of their project as well as how the community is benefitting:

Blockchain technology for tracking impact: Aside from the crypto bloodbath of 2018, Blockchain technology has some seriously potent applications like authenticating a more accurate account of a company’s social performance. One such example is IBM which has created a food trust that aims to use the blockchain to make the world’s food supply chain safer, more efficient and more sustainable. Other startup to take note of is Motive Ventures, which has certification technology called Goodchain.

And, lastly, Corporations will put their money where their mouth is by extending the current trend of brand activism and making a stand against contentious issues. One such company is Patagonia, which is giving back the $10m it made from Donald Trump’s “irresponsible” tax cuts. Patagonia and Donald Trump are not friends and they’ve been a thorn in his side when it comes to environmental issues as these are very much part of their company mission.

We’re also seeing impact investors who are actively looking at impact-driven startups that deliver environmental, social and financial returns on invested capital. Aside from being purely about return on investment, these are crafty business moves that enhance their existing brand investments to create an ecosystem for consumers to by into and the data is solid: companies that have social impact baked into their brands sell 20% more and grow 50% faster than those that don’t.

Are you thinking of changing your approach to fundraising? Want to change the world? Get in touch!

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