“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” This quote originated over 1,500 years by the priest Saint Jerome (you may recognise it as the lyrics to a 1980’s Telecom jingle) is advice that will never go out of style.
The Third sector is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth. This means that not only are organisations competing over funds from private and government granting bodies, but individual donors now have a larger range of charities that they can choose to support.
In order to ensure that your organisation continues to thrive in the current market place, you need to be playing your A-game; going above and beyond what is expected. Funders, individuals and organisations want to ensure that they are supporting projects and organisations that will be the best and most effective to achieve their vision.
You need to be able to demonstrate to your supporters that your organisation is the most qualified, equipped and experienced to deliver a particular project or program. There are a number of steps you can take to help your organisation stand out from the crowd and gain an edge over your competitors.
- Be realistic – there is little that worries a donor more than seeing your organisation aim for something far beyond your reach. Projects that know their limits are the ones that succeed as they are able to realistically identify the opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed. While it may seem appealing to promise the world to your supporters, many donors are savvy and can recognise when an organisation is promising something it does not have the capacity to deliver. Donors want to be assured that the support and funds that they provide will have a tangible benefit, and are more like. Donors would support a smaller project that will succeed, rather than a grandiose project that may fail.
- Consider Positioning – What separates the not-for-profit leaders to the stragglers is not necessarily what cause or projects that an organisation supports, but rather how the leaders position themselves in the market place. Some of the most identifiable organisations are those that have managed to brand themselves in a manner that reaches out to the public. 20 years ago, the “cause ribbon” was the du jour of not-for-profit marketing, first implemented by the iconic red ribbon for AIDS awareness, and quickly adopted by other charities, most notable the pink ribbon for breast cancer. Then along came Lance Armstrong with his yellow “For the Cure” bracelets, with bracelets then being adopted by charities, large and small worldwide. People want to be able to show their support for a cause, evidenced recently through the rainbows pouring out over Facebook in support of the legalisation of gay marriage. By creating an image, or brand or piece of memorabilia for your organisation, supporters are more likely to jump on board.
- Collaborate – whilst this may seem counter-intuitive to wanting to be the premier not-for-profit provider in your sphere, collaboration is actually key for growth and development. As an organisation we always want to be working towards our best, but it is important to recognise that one organisation most likely doesn’t have all of the answers. There are gaps in knowledge and being able to identify these and reach out to other companies, not-for-profits or individuals to come together and learn from one another will allow you to reach your goals. Your supporters want to ensure that as a not-for-profit organisation you are doing everything in your power to achieve your aims, and reaching out to people that you may deem competitors to work on projects demonstrates that you are able to share, empower and improve.
Having OKP on your side, is like having a high performance coach. We help our clients be the best they can be and achieve heights they never thought possible. If you think your organiation could benefit from the OKP advantage, please give us a call on 1300 721 799.