Get the message across using the Skoda method

Charities that want to counteract negative stereotypes should adopt the same tactic used to reverse the public perception of Skoda cars as objects of ridicule, according to a new report by the ImpACT coalition and nfpSynergy.

Getting The Message Across suggests that voluntary organisations should produce a series of simple 'pub facts' that would enable supporters to prove a point over a drink. The tactic was inspired by the marketing strategy used by Volkswagen after it bought Skoda, which included slogans such as 'So good, you won't believe it's a Skoda'.

Charities should 'drizzle' their messages by frequently releasing a few key sound-bites, rather than putting out masses of information in one go, the report adds.

It offers a range of practical tips for charities on how to improve their standing and counteract negative stereotypes, such as the perception they are amateurish and spend too much money on administration.

Other suggestions are also borrowed from the private sector, including the use of guarantees. The report refers to Friends of the Earth and Habitat for Humanity, which both saw an increase in donations after offering to return supporters' donations if they felt their money had not been spent well.

"Charities are very good at reporting exactly how much money goes directly to the cause, but we are suggesting other ways in which they can communicate their effectiveness," said Chris Greenwood, joint managing director of nfpSynergy and one of the authors of the report.

"There are simple, straightforward steps that all charities can take."

- The report is available free from www.nfpsynergy.net

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