The non-profit sector is often regarded as slow to adapt and lacking in commercial sensibilities. Much has been written about how charities could borrow ideas from the private sector to increase their impact. After all, the private sector is incentivised by profit, so it's no surprise that it has become adept at parting people from their money.
But charities possess something that most businesses do not: a purpose
Purpose can roughly be explained as a set of values, put into action. It makes it clear to all and sundry what the entity actually stands for.
Purpose does not necessarily mean social purpose, but it does indicate a reason for being. And charities, by their very design, have this in bucketloads.
What having a clear sense of purpose enables organisations to do, is communicate more directly with their target audience. Purpose draws a boundary around who your product or service is for, making it equally clear who it isn't for.
Charities, by their very design, have purpose in bucketloads
If a local homeless charity recruits for an outreach worker, their reason for hiring is dripping with purpose. Everybody knows exactly what that role is setting out to achieve. It requires very little definition. By contrast, I see a lot of companies simply advertising for "a web developer" or "a copywriter" with very little else to go on besides the job title. With such a vacuum of purpose, it's no wonder that so many businesses struggle to find the "right" people. Companies, and candidates, could both work much harder to figure out what they're about and then find others who share similar values. It would save everybody a lot of time.
Marketing is not a thing that you do, it is a way of being. It encompasses and impacts hiring, as I have just outlined, but purpose is at its most potent when used to find new customers.
As in the example above, most charities have this sussed. They serve a clear purpose and reach out directly to those who wish to support them. They get donations because their message resonates with people who feel the same way.
And this is the crucial factor that so many businesses completely miss. They don't work out their purpose (or at least, they don't articulate it and live it), and as such they never find a core community. Without an underlying system of beliefs, marketing is just tactics. And tactics can cost a lot of money, drive little return and deliver some big stress-related headaches.
Without an underlying system of beliefs, marketing is just tactics
If your business needs some help figuring out what it stands for, I can help coach you and your team to find their shared values so that you can begin to connect with your purpose and reach your perfect clients. Check out my workshops to get started.