From Charity Organization to Charity Brand: Qualitative Research into the Importance of Brand Orientation in the Charity Sector
The question this study tries to answer is whether non-profit organizations (such as The Institute for the Blind, the SPCA, etc.) accept the theory, practice and effective implementation of branding, and whether or not they regard it as strategically important to endorse the conversion from charity organization to strong charity brand. An organization that centres around the brand in this way can be described as brand-oriented. “This organization thus recognizes the value of the brand and takes the brand as starting point in all its actions, ranging from communication with all stakeholders to distributing the responsibilities concerning the brand” (Kooiman, 2010).
The study aims to ultimately explore, through the use of exploratory and qualitative research (in-depth interviews, focus groups), the level of brand orientation in specific charity organizations, where brand orientation refers to the extent to which the organization regards itself as a ‘brand.’ Usually, exploratory research provides a greater understanding of a concept and idea, or crystallizes a problem, rather than providing precise measurement of a problem. According to Zikmund (2003:111), “the focus of such qualitative research is not on numbers but on words and observations: stories, visual portrayals, meaningful characterizations, interpretations, and other expressive descriptions.” The research that will be conducted would thus strive to further more explore how a charity organization is perceived by the public and specifically by those consumers wanting to take part in donating practices, and how the strength of the organization’s brand impacts on and influences their donating behaviour. The primary purpose of the study therefore is to determine whether or not the chosen charities, if not already, are able to make the shift from being a charity organization to becoming a competitive charity brand in the non-profit sector.
Research needs to be done to determine the set dimensions which influence the donor choice process between competing charities in the charity sector and thus the role an effective brand-orientated approach plays in this process. Non-profit organizations are usually well defined in terms of their target market or target donor segment, but the question this study would aim to address is whether marketing managers understand donor’s expectations of a strong charity brand and the influence the lack thereof has on their donating behaviour. The Research Report compiled afterwards will therefore serve as a window into the complex and extraordinary world of the non-profit sector, and the major role that brand orientation plays in this sector as a response to this increasingly competitive environment.
Kooiman, N. 2010. The success of ideals [Online]. Available: http://sites.google.com/site/nataschassite/publication [2012, February 16].
Zikmund, W.G. & Babin, B.J. 2008. Exploring Marketing Research. Louisiana: South-Western Cengage Learning.