Not-for-profit providers pushed to market
The National Disability Insurance Scheme, NDIS, was designed to support a better life for Australians with a significant and permanent disability, and also their families and carers. But the implementation of it, is having far reaching and costly implications for the not-for-profit provider brands who service what is now becoming a market. One of the key differences of the NDIS is that individuals who qualify for funding for disabilities can now choose their service provider, where previously they were assigned a provider. Choice is great if you have the understanding and knowledge of the benefits each provider may bring, but as both sides of this choice are new to this, there’s going to be some challenging times ahead for both the brands and consumers as they learn how to sell what they provide.
On top of this there will be new funding challenges for providers, who up till now counted on receiving grants before anybody was assigned to them which meant they had clarity on their financial security each year. Now providers will only receive funding after being chosen by consumers and only for the number signed up. This has effectively turned their financial model on it’s head. Now the not-for-profit providers must scramble for consumers to select them, so it’s crucial for them to understand how to position themselves to market for the very first time.
Here are some key things we’ve learned from working with many different kinds of not-for-profits across many different sectors and markets.
5 checks for successful not-for-profit marketing:
1 Not-for-profit brand health check.
As a not-for-profit, your brand was probably not created to sell your organisation and it’s products. It was probably created on a budget and likely hasn’t been updated in a while. What differentiating brand strategy underpins your brand? Do you have a clear brand essence? Brand personality? What are your brand values? With this new funding and financial reality it’s going to be worth checking if your brand is still appropriate for you audiences. You are about to spend a lot of money on media and campaigns, make sure your brand is fit for purpose. A good brand strategy and identity multiplies the effectiveness of every advertising dollar spent several times.
2 Know your audience.
You probably won’t have budgets for in-depth market research or tracking reports on your audiences. But you probably have huge organisational, personal and community based knowledge of your audiences. Tap into these and document the findings, these will help focus and target messaging, proof points and in the end, the effectiveness of any campaign.
3 Find the path to purchase.
Even though the people you provide for know had no choice in selecting you, they are a good analogue for how future consumers may think. Track their path to you to uncover opportunities to promote your brand and services. Start with how parents find services for children with disability and work your way through the life stages to reveal more opportunities.
4 Be smart about media.
Media is expensive because it is still an effective brand building tool and will make up the majority of your total budget so make sure your media choice is targeted, supported and effective. What other layers are you creating around your big spends that make sure it’s as powerful as possible? What fundraising and brand building activities are you coinciding with your campaign? How are you socialising you brand, your products and your campaign?
5 Activate your community.
Most not-for-profit organisations have a huge loyal and active community supporting them. It’s time activate them. How do you change your organisational culture from a passive provider to an activated engager? What tools do you provide the community to help support them? Now that you’re in competition with other providers there’s probably some shared work you can do together, you’re all in the same boat, you all need to educate your audience. Industry Super Funds are a great model for this kind of consumer focused cooperation.
If you’d like to talk to us more about how we can help your not-for-profit brand give us a call.