First, fast, furious...Bangladeshi business blog

We provide
--social media strategies for Bangladeshi businesses worldwide
--public speaking on Bangladeshi businesses and social media
--paid product/service/website reviews of Bangladeshi companies

Interested to place an advertisement for your business?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cause marketing for Bangladeshi NGOs

This is that one time in the UK when patriotic Britons don the poppy in response to the annual call from the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal - As they mention that "each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for The Royal British Legion's charity work through the Poppy Appeal. Our emphasis this year is the need to help the Afghan generation of the Armed Forces and their families - today and for the rest of their lives. Our target in 2010 is £36 million and we call on the nation to give generously and to wear their poppies with pride". Starting from day to day commuters to TV presenters,from football fans to students, Britons from all walks of life proudly seem to show off their support and engagement with the cause, as appealed by the British Charity. Some key observations which the Bangladeshi NGOs and charities can take note of.

1. Performing a ritual
One of the most important elements that binds together a group, a tribe is the act of performing some routine acts depending on the time of the month, sighting of the moon or it can be any other relevant social norm to which everyone adheres to at the same time. British Legion has successfully branded this period of the year as if its the 'poppy period' where every interested British citizen buys a paper poppy clip from off-licence shops, tube stations for a pound or more and puts it on their clothes to show their affiliation to the cause. Its pretty amusing to see every next person around the city wearing it, be it on TV, work, public transport etc. As if its a yearly ritual which is unwritten in any holy script or in the country's constitution, but its the charity's appeal to practice this ritual for a noble cause it has been advocating for.

2. Connecting patriotism
The British Legion successfully linked its cause to a wider hook - patriotism. Whether the UK should have sent troops to Afghanistan or not, that might be entirely a different discussion. But the dignity that is involved in serving the nation wearing uniforms and the pain and losses that the families endure is something which has a very strong emotional appeal, much beyond any political myopia. Its very likely that social causes related to patriotism will almost always appeal especially to the young generation and prove more effective than calls and causes related to religious beliefs.

3. Using technology
The charity has made it easier for donors to make their contributions in a variety of ways combining mobile and web based channels. They have made it easier for people not only to donate money but also to track their contributions by providing transparency enabled by technology. They have also opted for outdoor advertising.

4. Adding glamour and peer pressure
The charity has successfully endorsed famous celebrities and media personalities to wear the poppy without signing any of them in exchange of any fat checks. The glitterati have picked this up as an accessory, as a 'must wear' during this time of the wear, lest they get branded by the British media or public as 'insensitive' to the heroics and sacrifices of the British troops. This sense of obligation is a type of peer pressure which spreads in common public as well, when you will see majority of the fellow commuters in the morning bus/tube wearing that, either you will become curious to know more what this is all about or you will end up getting one for yourself too, in order not to be left out of the current craze.

Once upon a time Bangladesh was called the land of mosques. Now its also the land of NGOs. We are so used to asking for alms to foreign donors with our palms up that we have completely forgotten to put our hands back in our own pockets. I wonder what does it take for a social enterprise or any NGO to release coatpins, badges of Bangla alphabets from a week before 21 February every year? NO. We would rather sell red roses and red baloons during that time because that's what 'others' are doing. Why doesn't Muktijoddha Foundation come up with such schemes which say a campaign called 'Amra ekti phul ke bachabo bole juddho kori' every December and asks for a donation of 5 tk. in exchange of a Shapla (water lily) pin or a wrist band which everyone will feel like wearing? Shapla - the national flower of Bangladesh, to remind the new generation that the valiant freedom fighters of Bangladesh had taken up arms to protect the innocent flower and the innocence of our motherland in 1971. Cynics will always claim that we don't have money, but I really don't have any urge to refute these claims, everybody knows very well how rich some rich are getting and how poor some poor are becoming in Bangladesh. Moreover when we already have a socio-religious ritual of zakat or fitra every year, I honestly believe that even religious NGOs could add some sort of innovation in their appeals for causes which can give them some uplift from stereotypes and prejudice. Finally, I can safely claim that Bangladeshi NGOs have enough clues and hooks in our culture and history to innovate the way they go about doing their business. Atleast this time, we should not wait to see first in Zee TV or Star Plus how this is done and then try to duplicate it.

No comments: