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Nonprofits’ purpose in purpose-driven marketing

A conversation with ANA Nonprofit Federation & Center for Ethical Marketing's Senny Boone.

4 min read

MarketingMarketing Strategy

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SmartBrief talked with Senny Boone, senior vice president of the ANA Nonprofit Federation & Center for Ethical Marketing, which advocates for nonprofits and assists them by providing the tools they need to be successful. In this Q&A, Boone talks about the significance of ANA’s support of nonprofits and why marketers are recognizing that purpose-driven marketing is more important than ever before.


Senny Boone

What is the role of the ANA Nonprofit Federation? How do you support your members’ nonprofit connections? 

Boone:  Nonprofit organizations are a valued part of the ANA membership and receive a special set of nonprofit benefits tailored to their unique needs as charitable organizations and nonprofits serving missions across the nation. Our organization provides relevant education, tools and insights to help nonprofits grow, whether in marketing or fundraising. Our constant goal is to help organizations be as successful as possible. We work within the ANA’s Washington, D.C., office to keep members in tune with data privacy, postal and giving incentives, which are very challenging issues for organizations seeking to advance missions under many regulatory constraints. As part of the ANA, the ANA NF is one of the forces for good tha is vital to the association’s mission.


Why is it perhaps more important today for marketers to partner with like-minded nonprofits than it has been in the past? 

Boone:   A corporate entity is not always viewed as having a beneficial societal purpose. Today’s consumers and buyers seek out companies that have more than profits in mind. They seek out brands that have a societal purpose and partner with like-minded organizations that are close to difficult issues on the ground. Consumers are more likely to interact with brands meaningfully to raise up societal causes that benefit their communities. Doing good is an important brand value sought by today’s consumers.


How can marketers find the right nonprofit partners? What steps can they take to ensure a good fit? 

Boone:  Our organization has a Mission Portal that lists organizations that seek partners, and we have nonprofit and brand purpose committees where members can connect directly to link up on projects and learn from one another. One consideration for brands is to choose an organization with experience that match your goals. Often, it can be a challenge to fulfill an abstract purpose or charitable objective, so seeking out an established, credible nonprofit organization as a partner makes all the difference.


What is the value of these relationships to marketers? 

Boone: One of the best values is bringing together a brand with a successful nonprofit organization to fulfill a great cause. Doing so is a strong selling point for marketers that want to delight and inspire their audiences. A great relationship with a closely aligned organization can showcase and tell the story of a brand’s values. This can enhance marketing goals in a genuine fashion and will bring in a stronger and larger audience as a result since consumers want to participate in positive accomplishments.


How can marketers build mutually beneficial programs? 

Boone:  Since it is meant to be a partnership, a good project management process is essential; it is not something to do in a casual manner or as a side project. Having realistic goals and objectives – especially starting out – must be factored in because it can take time to develop the right approach to deliver charitable results that both partners are happy with. It also takes a solid review of the target audience to ensure the mission project aligns with the brand’s purpose and has a strong tie to your audience. A test case may be advisable to ensure the partnership will work.


What role can nonprofits play in brands’ purpose-driven marketing efforts? 

Boone:  A nonprofit organization can be a valid partner for a brand if the organization’s mission and brand’s purpose align and capture the interest of the brand’s audiences. Working together with genuine effort and planning will result in victories – perhaps small to start with, but even a small step toward a great mission can open up the brand to new audiences. Such work will offer new insights as to how the brand is viewed beyond the day-to-day metrics, and can inspire not only the target audience to engage with you, but inspire your own internal audiences, as well, who want to work at a company that is a force for good. 


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