Closing the Gap(s)
In practice, building awareness of the NTFB brand carries with it the responsibility of making sure its many thousands of volunteers are well-treated. Throughout Close the Gap, NTFB worked hard to maintain an authentic, consistent message to volunteers who sorted food and ultimately helped provide about 92,000 meals per day to the hungry.
"You have to make clear to volunteers that you don't have anything tangible to offer," Brinkmann says. "Just your spirit and your promise that the work will be important to them, and that you need them."
Also, you have to deliver on the promises you make in your stories about the campaigns in which you're involved. If you say you can provide the best, most meaningful experience for those who want to help feed the hungry, you should be able to rely on facts to back up your claim. A few such facts: Each dollar donated to NTFB is converted into three meals. Ninety-four cents from each donated dollar goes toward actual distribution of meals, and the other 6 cents goes toward administrative and fundraising costs.
The same consistent, accurate messaging that helps recruit volunteers is also necessary in building a donor base, Brinkmann notes. NTFB's marketing people have to know where donors from previous campaigns are concentrated and where new donors are likely to be found, and which methods — direct mail, phone, social media, e-mail, corporate engagement, special events, media stories and so on — are most effective in reaching specific categories of potential donors.
"We did research on the 13 counties that we serve, on corporate and individual donors, on who might be approached for special gifts of $10,000 and above," Brinkmann explains in regard to Close the Gap. "We asked ourselves where they live, what are their holidays, their points of view on culture and family.