As one of the “newbies” at Blakely, this was my first time attending a #BlakelyMixer. The session was focused on experiential marketing and featured dynamic speakers and engaging stories. As the non-profit sector continues to become more competitive, and donors and prospective donors become harder to reach, this type of engagement really cuts through and can start — or strengthen — your relationships with donors.
We had two amazing speakers, along with our very own Amy Pawluk, share the stage and walked through how experiential marketing is shaking up the not-for-profit sector.
We first heard from Claire Lamont, the powerhouse and co-founder of Smak, an agency known for creating authentic brand experiences.
For those who weren’t there, here are my top three learnings from the day:
LEARNING #1 — THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR PURPOSE
Claire spoke in depth on purpose — about BIG P and little p.
The BIG P was all about defining what your organization’s higher purpose is. We quickly realized this was not an organization’s vision or mission.
The little p was about an organization’s functional purpose. This is how you deliver on customer or donor wants or needs.
Claire had groups discuss what each of their BIG P and little p’s were and it was actually quite difficult to distill it down so simply — but that is what is important.
It needs to be simple. Intentional. To the point.
If you can’t express your BIG P and little p in a few words, then how do you expect your donors to understand?
LEARNING #2 — BE REMARKABLE
This was eye-opening. The concept of budget vs. remarkability. You don’t have to have million-dollar budgets to make a splash. Claire talked about how important it is to be “remarkable in your own space.” Meaning, no matter how big or small your organization is, you can still be remarkable. If you are a small community hospital, what does that look like? If you are a national disease charity, how can you stand out even more?
Next, we heard from Ali Jones from Oxfam America. Ali shared first-hand knowledge of the strategies Oxfam America has been using to get donors more engaged, as well as what they have been doing internationally in the way of experiential.
This brings us to learning #3.
LEARNING #3 — DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL
After hearing Ali talk, one of the main things that resonated with me was the idea of not being afraid to test, to do something different, and even fail. She gave examples of when certain things didn’t go as they had hoped, and when certain things that came up they hadn’t even thought of or planned for. But that is how you learn, how you grow, and how you make the next time even better (which they did).
Safe to say it was an awesome day of learning, soaking in new ideas, and chatting with clients I hadn’t met before. It was also a day of seeing people connect and talk about areas of fundraising that may not get talked about every day.
I can’t wait for the next one!
– Danielle Boyle, Account Manager