How Mother Teresa Can Help your Marketing

This last week I have been consumed by brainstorming for a non-profit. When I was in grade school, we were assigned projects that usually involved some sort of craft or creative strategy. I always loved them and as soon as they were assigned I’d start raking materials together and strategizing different ways to bring them together into TBPE: The Best Project Ever. I want nothing less for this non-profit; in fact, I want more. I keep coming back to a life-changing TED talk – surprise! – by Dan Pallotta: “The Way We Think About Charities is Dead Wrong.”

Personally,Ā I’m slightly in love with social entrepreneurship. It’s possible to make money and make the world better at the same time, and I don’t believe that limits us to simply donating money. Money doesn’t solve problems, humans do. If you love to read and haven’t read “Start Something that Matters” by Blake Mycoskie, please add it to your list. Actually, while I’m at it, add “Wisdom Meets Passion: When Generations Collide and Collaborate” By Dan Miller as well. He wrote the book with his son, Jared Angaza, who decided to move to Africa 8 years ago to help the people there build their own successful businesses. What I really love about this book is that the father-son duo write separate entries, so you read the unique perspective of each.

I pulled this quote from Jared’s blog because it means so much to me:

“Life is easier when we keep to ourselves and create a habit of compartmentalizing and keeping humanity at arms length. They say ignorance is bliss. For most, ignorance is a choice. A choice not to engage more deeply with humanity. But we can choose to go deeper; to allow ourselves to empathize. To truly understand the lives of others. To experience life more intensely. To open ourselves up to the extraordinary relationships and experiences discovered only through difficulty. To allow ourselves to be truly human.”

Go to his blog, you won’t be disappointed.

A couple things I’ve learned involving nonprofit marketing:

  • Figure out the core “why” behind your organization
  • Connect the actions and events of your organization to specific messages (values) from your core “why”
  • 2nd degree of connection rule: How is the above manifested in the real world? Who do I know, and who do they know, whose story parallels mine?
  • Blend these all together for a message and a perfect target audience.

Couldn’t be more simple! šŸ˜‰

As a marketing student, sometimes I wonder exactly where to start. Usually the most common advice I’ve heard is that marketing for nonprofits is disparateĀ because it has different goals. Is that the right place to start though? Marketing is telling a story of your brand, which I would think is at least parallel to a major goal of any nonprofit. We need compelling stories, concise information, and sharable calls-to-action.

Moreover, I believe most nonprofits have huge dreams to change the world. Changing the world doesn’t mean resting after a donation of $50,000. Of course, any money is fantastic, but you have to do something with it.

Dan Pallotta believes our problem is that “these social problems are massive in scale, our organizations are tiny up against them, and we have a belief system that keeps them tiny.”

I believe nonprofit marketing is the essence of marketing at it’s best: beckoning to people to really engage. It’s an appeal to the full spectrum of human emotions.

Happy Motivation Monday!
Thanks for reading,



2 thoughts on “How Mother Teresa Can Help your Marketing

  1. Fantastic post, Ashley! You brought in great resources (videos, books and quotes) and simplified what you have learned (easy for the reader). Catchy blog title too! Just to think, Mother Theresa was quite the businesswoman – to manage an organization/funds, which allowed her to open so many homes (for the aged, orphans, lepers, and AIDS patients). Great vision, great provision. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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