Marketing and Comms – Think, Do, Feel, Be

I’m putting together a course specifically for charities and non-profits. This piece is part of a collection of materials that you can get as handouts, but I’ve also posted it online because even though it was made for the Building Value program, it could be useful for lots more people.

When we talk about marketing and communications for charities and non-profits, taking a holistic approach means covering all bases—how people think, feel, do, and identify with your cause. It’s like putting together a puzzle where each piece is crucial to seeing the whole picture. Let’s break down these pieces:

  1. Think (Strategy): This is your game plan. What are your goals? How will you reach them? For a charity, this could mean figuring out the best ways to spread the word about your cause, like using social media or hosting events.
  2. Do (Implementation): This is where you put your plan into action. If your strategy includes raising awareness through a social media campaign, implementation is actually creating and posting those social media posts.

Now, let’s add the often overlooked but super important parts:

  1. Feel (Connection/Emotion/Empathy): Charities have a powerful tool at their disposal—emotion. When you tell stories that move people, you’re tapping into their feelings, making them care about your cause on a deeper level. It’s about creating a bond that goes beyond just knowing about your work; it’s making them feel a part of it.
  2. Be (Values/Identity/Purpose): This is about aligning your charity’s values with those of your supporters. People want to support causes that reflect who they are or who they aspire to be. It’s about showing that supporting your charity isn’t just a one-off action but a reflection of shared values and identity.

The Value of a Holistic Approach:

Taking this well-rounded approach is incredibly valuable for charities and non-profits because it ensures you’re not just asking for support or donations but building a community around your cause. It transforms supporters into advocates and partners in your mission.


Let’s use “Ocean CleanUp Initiative,” a non-profit focused on cleaning the oceans, as an example:

  • Think: They decide their goal is to increase donations by 30% over the next year by engaging with young adults through Instagram and TikTok.
  • Do: They start posting engaging content, including impactful before-and-after cleaning videos, stories about marine life, and educational tidbits on how pollution affects the ocean.
  • Feel: They share personal stories from volunteers who’ve seen the impact of ocean pollution firsthand, creating emotional connections with their audience. They use imagery and narratives that make people feel both the urgency of the problem and the hope their efforts bring.
  • Be: They make it clear that supporting the “Ocean CleanUp Initiative” isn’t just about cleaning the oceans; it’s a statement about who you are as a person. You’re someone who values sustainability, cares deeply about the planet, and takes action to make a difference. They create a hashtag, #OceanGuardians, for their supporters to use, building a sense of community and shared identity.

By addressing all these aspects—think, do, feel, be—”Ocean CleanUp Initiative” not only achieves its immediate goals but builds a lasting movement. Supporters aren’t just donors; they’re emotionally invested and see their involvement as part of their identity. This holistic approach is what makes marketing and communications truly effective for charities and non-profits.