Cause Doctors: It’s Good To Be Good during a pandemic

The first in a new series, Target’s Noel O’Dea gives the non-profit actionable advice.

By Jennifer Horn from Strategy

For generations to come, 2020 will be remembered as a year of innovation, reinvention and collaboration – among businesses, people, even governments. Strategy is taking a page out of the books of many others during the crisis, and doing its part to help organizations today survive for tomorrow.

Our new “Cause Doctors” is the cousin of “Brand Doctors,” a content series from strategy’s archives that enlisted marketing and advertising vets to devise solutions for a brand facing new and ongoing struggles. Now, we’re turning experts’ attention to vulnerable non-profits, which are suffering from major disruptions that hinder their ability to fund life-saving and life-changing programs.

Strategy asked a dozen creatives, marketers, academics, consultants and strategists to offer their guidance. And we’ll share their recommendations, one cause brand at a time, throughout the month. So check back here regularly, and make sure to visit CauseConnect to find out how you can personally give (and get) help.

Noel O’Dea, Target

The Diagnosis:

Donation Interruptus, caused by a nasty COVID-19 virus which triggered safe distancing reaction, shutting down all live music and event fundraising functions.

The Prescription(s):

We love this brand name. It instantly connects to our altruistic soul, to the good person we all deeply want to be. In a world gone wrong, it’s perfect for inspiring people to, well, do good.

With that said, here are our 10 prescriptions for short-term and long-term health of the Good To Be Good brand:

1. ‘Donate’ Button. Make it easy to donate. Amputate the website ‘Form.’ Install an ecommerce plug-in such as ‘Give WP’ to enable instant donations via credit card or PayPal. Or use ‘Canada Helps,’ Interac etransfers, or an old school 1-800 line. Because good intentions evaporate quickly.

2. Add ‘Sign Up’ Button. To build a community of supporters and brand evangelists, communicate frequently, provide recognition, and reinforce donation behaviour.

3. Simplify Website. Focus on visitors’ information needs. Make it easy. Put the important info upfront (what we do, where the money goes). Make every word count. Be simple, direct, and uncomplicated. Amputate flowery generalizations.

4. Be a Good Storyteller. Leverage the emotion and symbolism in your brand name. Tell stories – who you are, who you’ve helped, and how that’s made a difference. Speak simply, with humanity, versus in the lexicon of vision statements.

5. Expand Social Media. To tell your story, expand your audience, and strengthen tribal glue. Add “Donate” and “Sign-up” buttons.

6. One Cause. It’s impossible to know how, or for whom, our donations will be used. Focus on one problem. For example, safety is a basic human right. But no homeless person, or victim of domestic violence, has a safe place to go during the lockdown. Be known for one thing. Or not be known at all.

7. Virtually Good Ideas. Convert live events to online virtual experiences – like virtual concerts, comedy and open mic shows, and auctions. “Good to Go” sounds like a good title for a series broadcast on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Add “Donate” button.

©David Howells 2019

8. Good to Be Good Hotel. Domestic violence is like a prison. So, partner with a hotel(s) to provide emergency shelter to women and children in need. “Donate today to help put a roof over someone’s head tonight.”

9. Good to Go Concerts. Pivot, and convert concerts into the largest Instagram Live concerts in history. Add “Donate” button.

10. The Be Good Tanyas. Partner with this Vancouver group for virtual concerts and events. Tap into their fan community (and expand yours).

Repeat as necessary.

Noel O’Dea is the president of Newfoundland & Labrador-based agency Target.