Bringing purpose to a global NGO: a story in multiple parts

En route to Africa to help a global development NGO to determine its brand's purpose

This is the story of a current client. It’s one of the most inspiring projects we’ve been involved in, and an absolute privilege to work upon.

Their tale begins in the 1970s, when a passionate group of around 40 young friends decided to abandon Western comforts and jump into a couple of minibuses, on an extraordinary mission: to change the world for the better. The thing is, they did.

Today, those same people run a 16,000 strong team running over 1500 programmes to help 16 million people every day, in some of the poorest communities of the developing world. Some big numbers, right there.

They train teachers and help them build schools to those for whom education has been a distant dream; they run some of the most successful HIV and TB education and vaccination programmes in the world; they teach farmers new agricultural methods when the old ones no longer work due to extreme climate change; and they run clothing recycling programmes to fund all of this.  It’s an exciting, committed, vibrant organisation. Utterly inspiring. When I met them, they could tell amazing stories about their life-changing programmes. They simply couldn’t articulate why they did it all.

If you read the last blog post, you’ll understand why purpose is a vital part in your brand armoury. Why we do something, what motivates us and how we go about it: this is where the magic happens. Without those things, your brand is reduced to merely product, service, output – the human driver is missing, there’s nothing to make us truly feel something. Here’s an example from  this client: after thirty years pioneering HIV education and vaccination programmes, everyone knew their HIV programme by name, with no idea who was behind it. This meant that they had no profile. No voice in many places where it mattered.

We’ve been in Africa, working with them and after a week with their leadership team – including mountain bush hikes at 5am (‘Just keep your eyes peeled for baboons, Jo, they can be a bit feisty’) – we’ve made terrific strides, both literally and metaphorically. Together, through a series of tough workshops that have been both a total brain squeeze and a bloody good laugh in equal measure, we’ve emerged with a story about themselves that they are comfortable telling , one that sets them apart, celebrates their uniqueness. The next, exciting step is working together to bring that story to life.

Watch this space.

© 2018 Run Jump Fly