Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents energies into, is discovering what is important to the consumer and
their families and innovating our product offering or communication
strategies to effectively meet their needs.
Irrespective of the ownership mix, the key consideration
of consumers is not the charitable status or otherwise of the
organisation but whether the organisation delivers services to them
that are of a high or low quality.
MISSION’S PLACE IN THE MARKETPLACE
Added to the mix is a new breed of organisation. Not-for-profits
are not alone in delivering a return to the community and many
for-profit organisations are operating a triple bottom line approach
to business, where they seek to monitor not only their financial
bottom line but the social and environmental impacts of their
business as well.
There has been a growing focus on purpose-based for-profit
organisations distinguishing themselves in the marketplace for
the ‘good work’ they do. Globally we are seeing the evolution
of Benefit Corporations and B Corps. These organisations
collectively represent a global movement to use business as
a force for good. Benefit Corporations have developed from a
realisation that businesses and the work they do impact more
than just shareholders.
B Lab, the not-for-profit organisation that assesses companies
applying for B Corp status, is now established in Australia, and
there are currently 76 certified B Corps in this country. However,
there is a push to also enacting legal recognition for B Corps.
This aligns to a strong movement to recasting purpose in
business. With purpose being seen as an integral part of the
business success and reinjecting ‘humanity in business’. Purpose is
being seen as the new genetic code for business.
These movements demonstrate the value of mission to business
and community. It is not surprising then that the paper Changes of
Tomorrow by Hyper Island, a Swedish digital education institute,
identified the rise of purpose-based organisations as being among
the most significant trends in business.
Businesses are being encouraged to embed their culture and
values in their products and services as a way to differentiate
themselves in the marketplace.
There is a growing focus on building and supporting purpose in
and amongst employees, in part driven by meeting the needs of the
millennial worker’s hunger for meaning.
Purpose is seen as returning greater employee satisfaction,
greater customer advocacy and loyalty, and higher quality of product.
This is one area that not-for-profits can, and should, be ahead
of the game because they have a compelling message to share
with their customers and have staff who have self-selected to
work with them because of their support of the organisation’s
values and mission.
The ability to manage this interplay between the organisation
and the individual staff member’s purpose and make them stick
remains a challenge and an area for further work for not-for-
profits. Read the work of Echoing Green (echoinggreen.org) or take
inspiration from US ice cream manufacturer Ben and Jerry’s, which
has established a cross-departmental team dedicated to working on
how best to instil individual purpose and connection.
WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS
The challenge, then, for not-for-profit providers is to ensure
they weave into their culture, business models and marketing
a strong link to their values and mission and strongly
differentiate their mission from that of ‘purpose-based’ organisations.
The Harvard Business Review paper, The Business Case for Purpose
identified the full range of business functions and activities where
purpose or mission should be integrated and embedded. These are:
• strategy development
• formation and community of culture/values
• business model
• customer acquisition and training
• leadership development and training
• product/service development
• operating model
• performance metrics and rewards
• supply chain management
• talent management, and
• vendor management.
Key to achieving this will be selecting, developing and
supporting the kind of leadership that can communicate and align
others around the purpose or mission of the organisation.
Leaders need to be able to express with clarity, enthusiasm and
passion the organisation’s vision, mission and values. Their culture
and messaging must appeal to the hearts and minds of customers
and their community.
Added to this, there is a need to shift from an ‘organisation-
centred’ marketing mindset towards a ‘customer-centred’ or
customer-focussed approach. A customer-centred approach should
explore and address the customers’ needs and wants. It is also about
offering customers a consistently high quality experience in their
interactions with the organisation. The goal is to make the customer
feel that they are the centre or heart of your service offering.
One mechanism to better understand the needs and desires
of your customers is the co-production movement. It provides
a mechanism to hear and gain insights from current and future
clients, and key stakeholders to your business. In using this model
business can design or amend existing products and services to
better meet the needs of consumers, plus gain an understanding of
what is important for consumers to better target marketing efforts.
Lessons in how to communicate mission can be learned from
other successful not-for-profits already achieving success in this
area. Check out charitywater.org in the US as an example.
While the challenges are significant and perhaps only add to
your to-do list, the potential rewards for your not-for-profit and
your clients are significant. I urge you to explore the opportunity
that recommitting to your mission provides you, your colleague
and organisation. n
Helen Attrill is an aged care and not-for-profit consultant.
References used in this article are available upon request.
16 | FEBRUARY 2016
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