03 Feb Ditch the guilt: For-Profit Marketing lessons from non-profits
“…a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offence, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.”
You’re an entrepreneur. You know first-hand how powerful emotionally-driven marketing can be, and non-profits know it as well. However, it also carries a sting in the tail: feelings of guilt.
Where does this guilt come from? Is it just marketers tugging on our heartstrings? Or is there a deeper psychological cause? It may be that we’re conditioned from a very early age toward giving, whether we want to or not. Remember the phrase, “sharing is caring?” There’s a case to be made that such a message reinforces the idea that giving is something you “must” do out of obligation, not something you “want” to do out of compassion.
So how can you leverage the incredible power of non-profit marketing for your for-profit business, without the added guilt?
Know your audience (duh!)
This is the “Golden Rule” of marketing. However, many people think non-profits don’t need to know their audience – it’s a good cause and everyone wants to donate to a good cause, right? Wrong. Non-profits are experts in understanding their donor base. They build a deep understanding not only of who their donors are, but also what inspires those donors to give.
Takeaway: Build a deeper understanding of not just who your customers are and what they like, but also what inspires them to buy. These insights will allow you to make better products and services while making your marketing efforts even more effective.
Giving (and Buying) is Based on Trust
Non-profits understand that people need to know and trust an organization before they’re going to donate time, money, etc. This is done by providing transparency to their audiences, such as donation dollar breakdowns and stories of people helped by the organization. This transparency builds powerful credibility and trust with potential donors.
Takeaway: For-profits are not known for transparency, making it a powerful advantage for the business courageous enough to experiment with it. Look at areas of your business where you could be more transparent and share that with your audience.
The Story of “No”
“No” seems like a simple enough idea, but in reality it’s far more complex. When donors (or customers) say “no,” often what they really mean is, “not now, maybe later.” They often believe that they need more information before making a decision, or one of their concerns/objections hasn’t been met. Non-profits use the deep insights they’ve developed about their donors to anticipate and respond to objections immediately.
Takeaway: Develop an understanding of the psychology of “no.” Develop a picture of your ideal customer’s likely objections though insights you’ve gained and use them to address concerns as they would come up.
What about the guilt?
So you’re now armed with a few of the simple but powerful strategies non-profits use to spread their message to their audience and attract donors who are not only willing but inspired, to give. But what about the guilt? How do you ditch the feelings of obligation and guilt that surrounds charitable giving?
The Stigmas Around Giving
As children, we’re taught an apparent ‘good’ lesson, that ‘sharing is caring’. The flaw with this is that most children are forced to share and then care, rather than a reverse order: Care then Share. And the only way you can care about something is if it’s aligned with your values, personality, mission, vision in life and business. It’s not easy to not feel guilty about not wanting to donate monies to a cause, after all, it may be your best friends brother who has a very worthy cause or saving the oceans from plastic, or in our case, the Empower-over-Pity campaign, which is to build a Bed and Breakfast and Retreat House for the girls and women we’ve rescued from sex and human trafficking.
And although there are a gazillion causes, remember that it’s important to CARE first and THEN share and whilst thinking in that order, you’re slowly able to break the habit of feeling guilty of not donating and feeling good for donating to something that IS aligned with you and your life.