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The third sector needs a rebrand

Monday, March 22nd, 2021
“Charity is a UK term. It’s a nice term. A kind term that conjures images of hugs, pocket change and lots of cake. But it’s not doing us any favours in the corporate space.” – Amy Hutchings.

 

Last week I spoke to a few hundred keen fundraisers about the rise of purposeful brands and what it means for charities. If you missed it, you can catch it here.

In short, a new wave of ‘purposeful’ brands are making bolder claims about their impact on society and the planet, restructuring their strategies, and making it easier than ever for people to do good. The lines are blurring for the public and for us. 

Purposeful brands are now our competition. We can’t beat them, so we’d better join them. There’s huge potential right now because they need us too. We can offer purposeful brands a safety net against backlash. Partnerships offer a brilliant way to combine the integrity, ethics and expertise of the third sector, with the resources, innovation and budgets of the commercial sector. 

There’s just one problem – they don’t know who we are or how we work. One CMO even told me, “We don’t partner with charities, we only partner with NGOs.”

Charity is a UK term. It’s a nice term. A kind term that conjures images of hugs, pocket change and lots of cake. But it’s not doing us any favours in the corporate space. Maybe it’s time we moved away from positioning ourselves as kindly and passive, showing people instead that we can be dynamic, expert and bold. To do this, we need to stop being afraid of our own opinions and reclaim our sector voice. What does it mean for us if Nike and Ben & Jerry’s are more vocal on key issues? Isn’t it time we started leading the conversation? Taking a position on the issues that matter to society and being the source of expert information that people can trust.

Ultimately, we are the masters of purpose. Saving lives is our bottom line. We can’t go on letting commercial brands do a better job of articulating the good they do. 

Because it’s not only potential partners who are confused about who we are. For the consumer whose lip balm is providing clean water, beer is planting forests and dishwasher tablets are capturing carbon – Not for Profit is a term with an important message. That even the best of businesses still have shareholders to satisfy. For us, purpose goes deeper. 

We are Not for Profit.

– Amy Hutchings, Strategy Director

 

To find out how we can help you articulate your purpose, offer your supporters greater value and compete in the world of purpose-led brands, get in touch for a chat.


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