According to the inaugural BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, the first major study to combine field observations with a national survey on purchasing behavior and social values, increasingly conscious consumers are demanding that companies (and, by extension, nonprofits that they support) be transparent about their practices and accountable for their impact on people and the planet.
Overwhelmingly, conscious consumers demand that organizations put their money where their mouth is; in other words, “back your words with social responsible actions,” says Raphael Bemporad, founding partner of BBMG. Although the research focused on how the five core values impact buying decisions, they have equal impact on these folks’ choices of nonprofits to give to, volunteer for and participate with.
Here are some of the key findings from the study and a sense of they shape your ability to engage prospective donors, volunteers and participants, and maintain existing supporters:
- Personal issues are most influential in engaging audiences: Nothing engages prospects more than connecting your organization’s work with issues they’re facing in their own lives. The study points to health and wellness issues — such as safe drinking water — as the most important ones.
- Socially-responsible is a tag that appeals; green far less so: Structure your messaging accordingly; matching what you have to say to what’s important to your audiences (when you can do so truthfully).
- Honesty counts — Big time: Nothing is more important to building loyal supporters than honesty about processes and practices, and keeping your word. Do it; don’t say it.
- Make it easy: To give, join, register…just make it as easy as possible. We’re all faced with ever-increasing time constraints. So make it a pleasure for audiences to learn about your org, and to interact with you.
- Showcase the people you work with and for, rather than focusing on your organization: Organization’s aren’t interesting; people are. Audiences want more meaningful relationships with the organizations they’re involved with, and want to know who you’re working with, what they have to say and how your work changes their lives.
“We see a trend toward ‘self-centered consciousness,” where consumers want companies to meet their personal needs and positively impact society,” says David Libensky, founder of Bagatto, an ethnographic research firm that partnered on the study.
My experience shows conscious consumers want the same from the nonprofit orgs with which they’re involved. So make it easy for your supporters to get personal satisfaction from supporting your organization — keep them up to date on how you do things and why it makes a difference, share your org’s stories and thank them, frequently and profusely.
Dig into the report’s findings for more insights about how values-driven consumers are changing the marketing landscape. There’s a lot of useful information here that will help you shape your nonprofit marketing strategy to today’s audiences.
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