Develop a campaign to encourage more people to have fun fundraising in support of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Bring research to the forefront of the NBCF DIY brand.CHALLENGE
Australia has nine charities focused on breast cancer, and some have a very high profile. All use pink and /or the pink ribbon as key parts of their branding or messaging. We needed to make sure that what we did was unique to the NBCF, while still leveraging the strength of pink as a cultural shorthand for the breast cancer connection.SOLUTION
We developed a solution with two levels: visual and verbal. The first task was to clarify what NBCF does. Research is central to this: the NBCF funds research programs directed at early detection, treatment, prevention, survivor care and more. The research is led by highly qualified scientists. That become the insight that led to the campaign thought: you don't need a PhD to help with breast cancer research. This put research front-and-centre in the campaign. The second element was the DNA bra visual. This connected genetics with breasts in a distinctive, fun way that connected with the core of what NBCF does and helped differentiate them from the other charities operating in the same area.
Develop a campaign to help increase AFFORD’s profile amongst potential clients and supporters, and to differentiate the organisation from other disability services providers.CHALLENGE
AFFORD works in a competitive sector, alongside many other organisations of a similar scale and profile, and with a similar story to tell.SOLUTION
As part of its service, AFFORD runs businesses that provide employment for people with disability. Vitamin X recommended making this fact the core of the campaign. While not unique, it allowed us to focus on AFFORD’s business-like approach as a proven way to make a positive difference in people’s lives. We featured AFFORD’s clients in the campaign to bring the promise – We Help People Grow – to life.
We commissioned a photographer known for his work with famous actors and musicians to capture portraits that projected the clients’ personalities.
The campaign was designed to drive traffic to a new website and provide context for a multi-channel marketing push that included digital and fundraising DM.
Develop an identity for TechCollect, a startup providing a free, national e-waste recycling service for the general public.CHALLENGE
Large quantities of e-waste are dumped in landfill each year because people are unaware of the risk it poses to the environment, or of how and where to recycle. TechCollect’s identity needed to play a part in changing this behaviour.SOLUTION
The problem of e-waste shows how, as a society, we need to do more to keep our nest clean. This led to the idea of using ants as a symbol to show how many individuals working together can achieve great things. The identity embodies both the spirit of the endeavour and factual information by showing ants carrying each of the main types of e-waste recycled by TechCollect. Because of its distinctiveness, the logo attracted attention at collection sites and in the media, and we used the ants as additional branding elements in advertising, collateral materials and digital assets.
Develop a campaign idea to raise awareness of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation’s work, and of the condition and the effect it has on people.CHALLENGE
Muscular dystrophy covers a range of genetic conditions. Many first appear when people are very young and can lead to severe disability and an early death. To avoid causing distress to the children and families we were trying to help, we needed to find a way to keep the campaign positive.SOLUTION
During the research phase of creative development, we uncovered the fact that facial muscles are often the last to be affected by MD. People can still smile, even when they are in wheelchairs and require ventilation. We turned this into a brand-relevant campaign idea and call to action – Give Us More To Smile About.
We photographed the kids holding drawings that expressed their aspirations and their indefatigable spirit. The campaign idea was extended into TV, print, brochures, DM appeals and even the signage on the MDF bus.
The Cennential Parklands was hosting a major concert by Jack Johnson. As part of the deal, Jack offered stand space within the concert area to 12 charities and offered to match any donations dollar for dollar. We were briefed to help the Centennial Parklands Foundation take advantage of the opportunity.CHALLENGE
We were competing with 11 other worthy causes right next door. Oh, and Jack Johnson stipulated that he didn’t want any printed material on the stands or handed out!SOLUTION
We’d already developed an umbrella fundraising idea for the Foundation (the Seven Leaves campaign) so we built on this for the concert. Faced with the ban on paper, we focused on generating buzz to attract people to the stand. The idea: A leaf necklace. We sourced a biodegradable material to act as the cord (raffia), researched knots and identified one that would hold the leaves vertically, and created a mini-site and a rubber stamp. The Parklands team picked hundreds of Moreton Bay Fig leaves, attached the raffia and stamped the back of each leaf with the Seven Leaves URL. Jack came around and got one, and within an hour queues were forming as word spread, making the Parklands stand the most popular at the show by far.
Along with the proliferation of channels and the fragmentation of audiences, they must deal with particularly intense competition for awareness and mindshare, the precursors to attention and support. Comparing the NFP sector with other industries highlights the problem: in supermarkets, most people would be aware of Woolworths and Coles, and a few of the smaller chains. In finance, an average member of the public could name the Commonwealth, Westpac, NAB, ANZ, and perhaps a few of the international or regional banks.
These industries are relatively uncluttered, making it easier to carve out and hold a position. In comparison, the smaller not-for-profit sector swarms with well-known names.
Most people could easily name a dozen or more without prompting: the Red Cross, St Vinnies, Greenpeace, CARE, RSPCA, OXFAM, The Smith Family, the Salvos, World Vision, The Heart Foundation, WWF, the Wilderness Society, the Australian Conservation Foundation and so on.
And there are dozens and dozens more names that would emerge, if prompted: a wealth of worthy causes ranging from humanitarian (Medicines sans Frontier) to social action (GetUp) to animal welfare (WSPA) to human rights (Amnesty International).
Although these NFPs serve different end-users and advocate for different causes, they are all competitors in one critical area: for support and for funds. And that means they are competing with one another for attention, and for awareness – with far fewer resources than the players in the private sector.
To stand out in this group, to achieve above average awareness or increased memberships and fund flows is a significant achievement. And for those who aspire to increase their awareness / funds / membership, it’s a significant challenge.
Whether you’re trying to nurture donors, attract major gifts, increase bequests, or encourage retention, success comes down to the ability to cut through and communicate effectively in a crowded and competitive market.
The challenge exists at every level, from high level brand campaigns and mass market broadcast, through the digital and social channels to traditional fundraising methods like events, direct marketing and even unaddressed mail.
Amid the cumulative clutter, the NFP marketer needs to leverage a proliferating range of channels, balance a daunting array of variables and still keep everything, somehow, together.
Surprisingly, in this age of micro-niches and mass personalisation, the best solution can be to do the exact opposite. Instead of draining your resources trying to customise everything for everyone, you can instead streamline by building your marketing around Big Ideas. Culturally resonant, distinctive, well-crafted Big Ideas are powerful tools that can help prioritise options, populate channels and connect all your work to a brand relevant core.
All else being equal (they never are, of course, but the point stands), one of the few ways for NFPs to quickly sharpen their competitive edge and leverage their marketing investment is with good creative work.
And that is something we can provide.
Vitamin X is a generalist creative boutique (find out more) founded and led by a hands-on art director / writer team with over 20 years experience developing campaigns for clients in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
We don’t specialise in not-for-profit work. Instead, we earn our bread and butter working with clients like Toshiba, Challenger and Mastercard, competing successfully against much bigger and better known agencies.
We always aim to do good work, but we also want to do work that does good. So we like to work with not-for-profits. It's good for morale, good for society and good for the NFPs.
We’d like to work with a not-for-profit that is committed to investing in marketing to achieve its objectives and, as part of that process, wants to take its creative thinking to the next level.
We’re happy to work with staff at any level, from the CEO, CMO, head of communications or the fundraising director through to individual program managers in direct mail or bequests – as long as there’s an opportunity to add value. Can we help you?