Years ago, I bought a birthday card. On the face of the card was a colony of penguins. The birds all looked alike, except one. One was bright, blisteringly red. The greeting read something like: Happy birthday to a rugged individualist.
What does this have to do with the case for support? It begs the question, to what degree does your case for support stand out and to what degree is it being noticed? Is it the red penguin or one of the many in the background?
Positioning is a foundational marketing concept that centres on identifying and demonstrating how you—the cause and/or the organization—are different from like causes and like organizations and why that position matters in the marketplace.
Let’s say you are working for an organization that funds well-water projects in Africa. Yours is one of dozens of organizations with a similar mandate. So, why should a donor give to your organization? How are you different? Maybe you are the sole organization that is active in a geographical location that has a particularly urgent need. Maybe you are using superior technology that enables you to be exceptionally efficient. Maybe the strength of your volunteers reduces operating costs. The point here is to think about what sets you apart and share it with your donors. How are you the red penguin?
Being different is not enough. You need to show why the difference matters. An organization that raises funds to help families who have a problem with moss in their lawn is different, all right. But who cares? That’s a ridiculous example to demonstrate a point. A less absurd and more common example is differentiation by longevity. While being ‘in business’ since 1973 says something to a donor, it is a weak lead position to take unless you can demonstrate how past performance will affect future performance. The point here is to know why being the red penguin is important.
And lastly, set yourself apart visually (that is if you are publishing your case for support). I know, it is comfortable to blend in, but the point of marketing is to stand out and be noticed. So, take a deep breath and let the visual presentation be arresting in a way that will set you apart from the crowd and speak to your donors. Embrace your redness. Flaunt it.
So, how is your organization red and why is being red important?
The links below take you to sites with advice on how to write a positioning statement:
Make a great case for your cause!
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