Brand awareness for others tops nonprofit’s initiative

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DO MORE GOOD provides educational workshops, online content such as blogs and it hosts various conferences, including an annual national conference for its members. Courtesy Anne Kendra

One West Michigan nonprofit is aiming to educate other nonprofits about improving the value of their brand.

DO MORE GOOD is a nonprofit that was founded last year by Bill McKendry, the founder and chief creative officer for HAVEN | a creative hub. It serves as a platform for advertising, marketing, media, branding and public relation leaders to share their knowledge and expertise to help nonprofits do more good.

“DO MORE GOOD is a movement by thought leaders in marketing and communications,” he said.

The organization has over 100 members, both inside and outside of Michigan. Katie Appoid, executive director of DO MORE GOOD, said some of the members include GEMS Girls’ Club, Lakeshore Advantage and Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance.

Although DO MORE GOOD does not offer direct services to nonprofits, Appoid said it provides educational workshops, online content such as blogs and it hosts various conferences, including an annual national conference for its members.

She also said the nonprofit facilitates grants of in-kind services from its for-profit members for other nonprofit members.

“It is all about education for us, both on best practices and helping nonprofits value their brand, and to see how important it is to everything else they do,” she said.

Appoid said through her experience of leading human services-based nonprofits, she knows there is a need for education.

“I was on a board that was a real big believer in just direct fundraising, man-to-man combat as we call it at DO MORE GOOD, but it was a struggle to get them to see the overall impact if we invested in our brand and grew it how much easier fundraising would be,” she said. “I went on to lead other nonprofits and it was always a similar story. Nonprofits are evolving, but not as quickly as we would like them to.

“We really want to see them put effort, energy and investment into creating more awareness about what they are doing. Nonprofits always think they are competing with each other, but they are not. They are competing for people’s discretionary time and money, and when it comes to doing good, we have as many for-profits that have social impact causes as we do nonprofits. So, the time for them to figure out their story, to get out there and build a brand, is now.”

In an effort to broaden the reach of his organization to the eastern side of the state, McKendry offered a platform to Chris Grindem, executive director at Utmost Group in the Detroit area. He was the DO MORE GOOD speaker for the BRANDING IS SPIRITUAL presentation at co.act Detroit in February.

“Many nonprofits have historically thought of branding, marketing and communications as a necessary evil,” he said. “The system has been biased (and has driven nonprofits) away from making an investment in those things. In the real world, we know that (those services are needed.) So, our job is to help nonprofits understand the truth and those who want to act on it. We want to be there to help them.”

As an expert in branding, Grindem said it is important for nonprofits to showcase their brand on their websites. He said oftentimes the homepages of many nonprofit websites are crowded, presenting a lot of information at once, which can deter people.

“If you go to a website, we know that people are going to bounce in six seconds or less,” he said. “If you don’t capture someone’s interest in six seconds or less, they are gone, and perhaps forever. We know that 80% or 90% of the time the first (view) of a brand is on their website on a mobile device. That is where you say, ‘Hello.’ You have six seconds to say hello properly or they are gone. So, all you should say in six seconds is ‘Hello, would you like to come in?’ in an authentic way so that those who are interested do come in.”

Grindem, who also is a member of the DO MORE GOOD board of directors, said it is important for nonprofits throughout the state to understand how to market their brand to the public in order to encourage more people to join their cause.

In addition to branding, McKendry wants nonprofits to know the value of having a connection with the media. One of the events that was hosted by DO MORE GOOD earlier this month was the Meet the Press | West Michigan Media Panel Discussion.

The event was moderated by Craig Clark, who is the CEO of Clark Communications, a public relations firm in Grand Rapids. He also is a member of the DO MORE GOOD board of directors.

The purpose of the event, according to Clark, was to help nonprofits understand how public relations works and what the return on investment is, whether that involves internal public relations support or outsourcing to firms such as his.

Clark said he thinks there is a desire among nonprofits to partner with for-profit firms, but the cost associated with either internal hiring or the fees that are associated with external hiring can be prohibitive.

“For a 12-month retainer engagement, to have a company to work with an agency like mine, could easily be $12,000 to $25,000,” he said. “So, DO MORE GOOD is a great outlet because it helps me to give back and connect with the nonprofit community in a way that empowers them and it is not financially driven.”

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