Charities need to develop ‘Brand Ambassadors’

Every charity needs ‘donors’ and essentially, that’s where it all starts with that single donation. Charities need volunteers and they need supporters too. But imagine a world where that person is ‘all of the above’ – we call them brand ambassadorsa supporter base that commits to the charity in more than one of the above ways – the holy grail of supporters. In short ‘charities need brand ambassadors’.

Of course charity fundraising, starts with a single donation. And we all know the challenges that poses in this climate where ‘giving’ has reduced – in fact by 20% in the last year. Charities are being forced to diversify and explore other potentially more stable revenue channels like coffee shops as well as refresh the iconic charity shop approach. But what about those smaller charities that just don’t have the resource to do this – what should they do?

Consider your donors needs

With an abundance of Charities registered each year (01 October 2011 – 31 March 2012 saw 2,615 Charities registered in England and Wales), there has never been a wider landscape of causes out there to attract your donors attention to their needs before they fully commit to you as their ‘charity of choice’. Charities can’t expect donors to just fall in love with their cause, particularly when they haven’t been helped by the cause, or the great work of the cause isn’t particularly visible in the press. Charities have to motivate their donors to become brand ambassadors. But how do you get your donor to become more than just that?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs specifies that ’us human type’ are initially driven by our physiological needs, we have basic needs that need fulfilling food, sleep, security, love etc. Once these basic needs are met, we’re motivated by the desire for self-actualisation. BUT, a donation is a gift given by physical persons, typically for charitable purposes and/or to benefit a cause – but there is always a way in which ‘giving a donation’ comes back to benefit the giver. It’s this feedback loop that smaller Charities can really tap into. It would be nice to think that a donors’ motivation to give to comes through their desire to receive nothing in return, but essentially don’t we all get that ‘great feeling about yourself‘ by having donated to a charitable cause?!

Develop strong relationships

Our advice is to start by getting personal. The first step on the route to converting your ‘donors’ to brand ambassadors is to make them feel special and satisfy that need of ‘self actualisation’. Make your communications as much about them and the wonderful things their donations or repeat donations have achieved as much as it is about your cause and the need for continued support. Donors, just like everyone else in this world, have this very basic physiological need to be ‘loved’. Building strong relationships is never all about your Charity. It’s about the donor too, respond to their needs and ideas and continue to engage them in the cause – eventually, they’ll take ownership and become ambassadors for your cause. However you do this; whether it’s introducing a supporter newsletter, writing an annual thank you letter or simply tweaking your current communications to include more personal information into your packs, charities will achieve better returns on their investment and also get on track with converting their donors into brand ambassadors.

In the end, if charities work hard to develop donors into brand ambassadors, love, honour, cherish and appreciate them – then the supporter and the purpose will become one, and the charity will be the beneficiary of the resulting enthusiasm. Charities need brand ambassadors, because brand ambassadors give their time and money, and become ‘friend-raisers’, amplifying a charities message, much alike a fanatic of their favoured band. The great news is that the time spent in building a solid relationship through engagement strategies will pay dividends. 

To find out more about your ‘charities need for brand ambassadors’ get in touch


By Leah Marley

InsideOut Creative is a Derby Based Design Agency with an appetite for third sector marketing. Learn what our clients have to say about us.