How can we get our supporters to love us?

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Love might be stretching it but the opportunity to create ambassadors, increase fundraising and secure policy goals was a hot topic for delegates at DSC today. One of the key tools in creating that successful relationship is the charity brand – one of the most significant resources of any organisation yet too many leave its role to chance. Workshops, key note speeches and informal conversations meant the annual Charity Writing and Communications conference was alive with voluntary sector professionals exploring how to do things better.

How to get to grips with our brands took us on a journey encompassing the role of behavioural science in engaging with audiences through to the practicalities of reviewing and refreshing charity vision and values, with a smattering of ‘how to manage a rogue chief exec!’

Participants were from household name charities through to niche organisations of two people. The challenge they all face (to varying degrees) is how to cut through the noise to ensure that key audiences – funders, supporters and users know where to find them.

What do audiences want?

Seeing each stakeholder interaction as a chance to build brand and secure loyalty (or at least not put them off) was the topic of discussion for many as we considered how to create an emotional aftertaste that means audiences will chose your organisation over another.

Psychological bias, convenience and salience play a large part in how and why audiences interact but there’s a great deal comms and marketing departments can do to attract and retain support.

Delegates were offered a practical approach to the brand review process, planning the project and questioning the aims:

  • What do we seek from a brand review?
  • What is the problem we seek to resolve? Do others in the organisation share these concerns?
  • What evidence do we have that backs up our concern or ambition?

Planning done and goals identified we considered audiences – who are they? what do they want? And then: What does good look like?

Attendees at our brand session were left in no doubt as to some of the must-haves for anyone considering a brand review:

  • Make sure you have senior level buy in (you’re sunk without it)
  • Secure early input and support from some key colleagues (everyone else can be ‘inspired’ later)
  • Be honest about your goals and opportunities
  • Set clear goals and see the process as a learning opportunity
  • Test ideas and evolve the approach – be open to what the evidence and feedback reveals.

And finally:

  • Bring in outside help!

Securing some external brand expertise will make the process much more rewarding (and potentially successful) for you and your colleagues. And aside, it will mean that when a challenging conversation is needed with the office ‘stick in the mud’, you’ve got an expert to convince them of the approach.

Too often training days and conferences can leave delegates feeling uplifted but unprepared. Feedback on the practical approach of this DSC event suggests charity delegates will be striding out on the front foot with a plan to tackle some of those big comms issues.

Well isn’t that a good feeling?


PS If you want to find out more:

#charitywritecomms or

And if you missed it – there’s only 364 days until the next one!


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