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June 24, 2009 8:48 AM Age: 11 yrs
Welcome to the 15th edition of Branding Bytes.
Category: Larry Checco
Source: Larry Checco
In this issue:
- Adjusting to the new face of need
- Bits & Bytes
- What clients say
- Speaking schedule
Adjusting to the New Face of Need
Not since the Great Depression has our nation experienced such a wide distribution of need throughout all socio-economic levels.
It started out as a snowball at the top of the mountain with the subprime mortgage debacle. But as it continues to make its way down a steep slope, millions of Americans are getting swept up into what amounts to nothing less than an avalanche of personal destruction. Many, through no fault of their own, are losing their jobs, and as a result, are losing their homes, healthcare, life savings, sense of self respect and more.
These are folks who once felt secure believing they were firmly ensconced in the middle-class. Many never before in their lives have had to ask for help from anyone.
But nonprofits are seeing changes in the demographics of those seeking their services.
Several of my community development organization (CDC) clients who focus on affordable housing and community revitalization issues are reporting that people who once drove up with their families in BMWs and Audis to volunteer for neighborhood clean-up days are now knocking on the doors of these very same nonprofits to seek assistance with mortgage workouts or foreclosure proceedings.
Nonprofit-run thrift stores are finding more "upscale" shoppers purchasing their used goods, and former thrift shop donors are now selling their used items on Ebay or at yard sales to earn extra cash.
A friend who volunteers at a soup kitchen says that not only are the numbers of those seeking a hot meal up, but more women and children are waiting in line to be fed.
From housing to food banks to health care the story is the same.
What does this mean for nonprofits accustomed to serving predominantly low-and moderate-income people? Quite a bit, actually.
Given this shift in demographic need, here are a few things to consider:
Change your messaging
If your mission statement and external messaging focus exclusively on serving low- and moderate income people, you may want to consider revisiting both. If you decide to expand your mission to include the new demographic of people in need your messaging needs to reflect this shift.
Aggressively promote your expanded mission
Reach into your community-including your civic organizations, PTAs, churches and local media-and aggressively promote the fact that your organization understands, and is ready to help anyone in the community in need of its services.
Sensitize your staff
People who have never had to ask for help before are often embarrassed or inhibited to do so.
Reinforce with your staff the need to make everyone they serve feel welcome and deserving of help. When parents are embarrassed to ask for assistance it's usually their children who suffer the most.
Don't abandon your original mission
Low- and moderate-income families need your support more than ever. Don't abandon them in their greatest time of need.
Expand your referral list
The human service needs in many communities are currently overwhelming. All the more reason to collaborate, cooperate and partner with other organizations and extend your referral list of service organizations.
Clearly understand what each of these organizations is capable of delivering in the way of services. At the same time, they should clearly understand your service capabilities and limitations.
If you can't help someone, do your best to refer them to an organization that might be able to meet their needs. But avoid sending them on a wild goose chase. These folks already are under enough stress.
Bend but don't break
Many nonprofits are already stretched thin. Despite the need to help more people, your primary goal is to remain solvent so you can continue to keep your doors open and your mission alive.
It may take a while, but eventually many of these people will get back on their feet. As a consultant who specializes in branding, I can assure you that by helping someone out of a jam during these critical times they will favorably remember you and your organization long into the future.
NOTE: Please join "De-Mystifying Nonprofits" host Celeste Terry and me when we discuss "Adjusting to the New Face of Need" on Global Talk Radio, Wednesday, June 24, at 5 p.m. ET. Simply log onto www.globaltalkradio.com at the appropriate time, depending on your time zone and click on "Listen Live".
Bits & Bytes:
- "Branding Beyond the Logo" is the title of a FREEGuideStar-sponsored webinar I will be conducting on Wednesday, July 29 at 1 pm ET. For more information click here: www2.guidestar.org/rxg/news/webinars/index.aspx
- Do you work for a government agency and want to learn how to improve its image to both internal and external audiences? I will be conducting a full-day workshop, entitled "Rebranding the Federal Government--One Agency at a Time," at EEI in Alexandria, VA, on Monday, August 3. For more information, click here: www.eeicom.com/training/dispclas.cfm?classID=15233
- My thanks to GuideStar (www.guidestar.org), Accountability Central (www.accountability-central.com), Community Investment Network (www.communityinvestmentnetwork.org), About.com (www.nonprofit.about.com), Contributions Magazine (www.emersonandchurch.com) and National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) for publishing my articles and inviting me to be a guest blogger on their websites. Special thanks to NCRC for uploading a clip on YouTube of a portion of the presentation I gave at its national conference this spring. To view the clip, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjJyIFJ_SFs&feature=channel_page
- For compelling insights on how to mobilize the power and passion of volunteers I strongly recommend you seek out the services of Tom McKee. I had the pleasure of presenting with Tom at a recent gathering of Friends of the Library of Southern California. He knows his stuff. For more information, I suggest you log onto Tom's website: www.volunteerpower.com
- My thanks to Politics and Prose, the highly acclaimed independent bookstore, located at 5015 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC, for carrying my book, Branding for Success.
What Clients Say:
- "Since taking Larry's class I have expanded in a way I never thought I could. The class gave me so many tools, ideas and information to launch a comprehensive branding strategy. I even had my Executive Director and the President of the Board eating up the ideas
I brought to the table."--Jennifer Jonassaint, Homeowners Rehab Inc., Cambridge, MA
- "Larry's class was an excellent learning experience. Not only did I learn about branding, I learned about the new way in which businesses and non-profits manage their employees, structure their staffing and present a unique, successful brand to the outside world. I strongly recommend it for people who want to learn more than how to build and maintain a
My Latest Speaking Schedule:
- Global Talk Radio's "Demystifying Nonprofits", Wednesday, June 24 (see above).
- EEI one-day course, entitled "Rebranding the Federal Government--One Agency at a Time, Aug. 3, Alexandria, VA
- Weinberg Fellowship Program, July 14, Baltimore, MD
- GuideStar Webinar, Wednesday July 29, 1 pm ET
- NeighborWorks Training Institute, Chicago, IL Aug. 20-21
My book, Branding for Success can be ordered on line at my website (www.checcocomm.net), as well as through www.amazon.com, www.trafford.com, and the websites of numerous organizations.
As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer or branding consultant/coach, I invite you to contact me or log onto my website for more information.
In the meantime, good luck with your branding!