Changing the Conversation for Social Profitability

Begin by engaging community partners

I had the opportunity to speak at a symposium for a National healthcare charity, bringing together nearly 100 community team members at the managerial level, to connect with their provincial counterparts.

I was asked to lead a session that would provide a strategic review of an existing fundraising event concept, with the goal of creating consensus on a path forward to achieve greater brand awareness and financial success. What is normally done in a 2 – 3 hour, facilitated and participative experience, needed to be completed within a 60 minute window. No problem… right?!?

I’ll jump to the finish line for a moment. 60 minutes had passed and we were wrapping up the session with a 1-word checkout from each participant… “share with us in one… and only one word… how are you are feeling or what you are thinking… first word to come to mind”. Well… we had some amazing responses, but the best came when one of the community participants insisted on sharing one final thought before the session officially came to a close.

To paraphrase, he thanked the organizers for inviting everyone into a conversation about the event concept, indicating that this was a “first”, and acknowledged the value and benefit from engaging with others in a collaborative and inclusive manner.

And there you have it… creating a higher degree of ownership amongst those who are responsible for actually bringing the event to life. I could not have imagined a better outcome.

How did I do it?

I first began with an analysis of the existing market, understanding how the event concept was being interpreted and implemented across all markets. I then summarized what I had learned under the following categories:

What is it?
When is it?
Where is it?
Why are we doing this (cause)?
Who are our partnerships/sponsors?
What is our acquisition/fundraising goal?
Who is our target audience?
What is our theme?
Who are our competitors?

After asking the group to fill in any gaps and offer any additional detail to ensure that we understand the current experience, we reviewed each category to prioritize elements and strive to reach consensus on essential elements.

The results from the exercise above fueled a discussion around the building a brand strategy map for the event concept… singular in vision and representative of the brainpower from all of our community and provincial stakeholders. Working in smaller groups and then coming together to share results, we landed on a new brand proposition that now has the potential and buy-in to form the basis for implementation in a consistent and efficient way… driving a greater degree of donor engagement and social profitability.

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