At the end of each financial year, CEOs and Marketing Executives would usually be focused on setting revenue forecasts and budgets for the following year. Talk is usually centred around return on investment, above and below the line publicity, campaigns, and event activations.
But this year things are a little different.
If you are unsure how best to market your business during COVID-19, I very much doubt that you would be alone. In times of financial downturns, organisations are traditionally encouraged to continue with marketing and to ensure that messaging directly targets clients.
Many of the traditional marketing and communication strategies are simply not appropriate during times of a health pandemic. Businesses are seeking to ensure that brands remain relevant and meaningful but struggle with how best to do this.
At Cystic Fibrosis Queensland, we believe that this challenge is really an opportunity to try something a little different. By aligning your business with a charity like ours, your business will inherit the social capital of our charity and provide you with a unique point of difference. You are telling your employees, your clients, stakeholders and even your prospective clients that you care about the role business plays in supporting community at this time of need.
If you think that swapping your marketing budget for your philanthropy budget sounds like a bad business move, then you need to rethink your brand equity!
Philanthropy does not always have to be in monetary form. You can engage staff, clients and stakeholders through workplace giving, volunteering, online fundraising events and sharing charity publicity. Small donations of your time or your expert skills and knowledge can be just as powerful as a monetary donation and can bring about change to a charity in a very meaningful manner. You can also create links between your business’ objectives and those of your charity of choice. Share these links with your stakeholders, clients, and employees. Formalise these links, set yourselves challenges and reward achievements as this can lead to positive and healthier outcomes for all involved.
Cystic Fibrosis Queensland is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year. That is 60 years of providing support, services and hope for people living with the most common chronic, life-shortening illness. While we may not be holding events to celebrate our July birthday, we are focused on our future and have created a Diamond Jubilee Donors Club to support the perpetuity of our organisation. Our charity is the peak not for profit community organisation supporting people living with cystic fibrosis who rely on Queensland Health for clinical care. We look after almost a third of the Australian cystic fibrosis population.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for our services has increased by 144% since March. Cystic fibrosis is a debilitating disease which impacts the lungs, airways, pancreas, and digestive systems – slowing shutting the organs down. There is no cure and median age is less than 47 years.
Throughout the pandemic we have provided medical equipment – nebulisers, spirometers, and physiotherapy airway clearance equipment – to support our members to remain safe and well at home. We have also delivered welfare payments by subsidising medication, hospital parking expenses and physical activity expenses.
Autumn and Winter are traditionally a time of fear for our members as it is the start of the life-threatening cold and flu season, this year COVID-19 has heightened their anxiety. By supporting our cause and our fight to breathe, you will be providing a tomorrow for some of the most vulnerable people in our community today.
To find out how you can swap your marketing budget for philanthropy, please contact our Head of Fundraising, Gemma Nolan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to celebrating with you all on the other side of this pandemic.
CEO, Cystic Fibrosis Queensland