July, 2008Today we look at foundations and their grantees as drivers and pit crews – together driving global vehicles for transformation, and many of them find increased strategic communications actually augment their efforts to continue social change.
Now consider their grantees – creative and talented purveyors of change across the globe. Thrilled and anxious to put their grants and success stories out there, many find few takers of their news. Even stories aligned with big foundation grants oftentimes aren’t picked up by the news.
Electric ideas for future vision
Today it’s all about marketing a cause, an idea, a mission that can make life better. You have to sell the idea to raise the capital (or funding) it takes to make it happen. That means observing, learning, connecting the dots to see what might work to solve a problem and then wrapping it all up into a sellable and engaging package to attract funders and the community.
And how do you bring the whole community on board? You sell to people’s sense of values.
One concern I have is that we are over-saturated and jaded by crime dramas on TV, news overload and our over networked self that we don’t look at tragedy as tragedy anymore? Are we used to seeing and living with it as a fascinating thing that happens to “them”? Not really real because we didn’t see it or feel it? How do you put a message out there when some people are numb?
Ultimate marketer and futurist Faith Popcorn says, “The decisive force in every successful marketing effort, today and in the future, is cultural relevance. It is through culture that marketers will reach consumers in the ad-less future now unfolding. Culture is the new media.”
Popcorn’s colleague Tiffany Wasilchik explains that the future isn’t ten years away. The light bulb goes on when people figure out the future starts now… we should take actions now. Good marketing and media can leverage energy and resources to attack a prevailing problem with urgency. Remember the concept of S.O.S. = Saving our Society? This responsibility trend is the basis of all social marketing.
How do we get things done and fund them too?
1. Large and meduim size foundations have the funds to do the due dilligence necessary to launch important and necessary movements in a community. Gathering data and understanding the goal can help create strategic communications to get all interested parties on board including funders, nonprofits, individuals, and government.
2. Once a movement or program is identified and deemed necessary for community, foundation, and funder PR can serve to inform and align interested parties so that partnerships can evolve. Collaboration can bloom.
3. Foundation and funder PR can serve to transform public opinion.
4. Highlight grantee success and demostrate impact. When published, this can stimulate other communities to take action.
5. Can inform and establish a foundation and their grantees as assets in the community
Moreover, that’s what it’s all about isn’t it? Getting a big rally together to bolster change can move mountains…nonprofits, foundations, and community leaders together to design and implement a plan for big change – and then promote it bigtime by getting everyone you can find to support the effort.
Foundations in collaboration with their grantees can propell social change forward faster than a speeding bullet...and let's face it....the itme is now for the sake of all future generations.
Most recently, Glimmer of Hope and KDK-Harman Foundation in Austin recently let nonprofits know exactly what their giving focus will be for the next year and/or introduced new programs to help community organizations. Bravo!