The National Conference on Volunteering is a peak annual event for volunteer involving organisations across Australia. The event was organised by Volunteering Australia and hosted by Volunteering SA&NT.
The Conference had four key themes:
- Lead – to encourage inspirational leadership
- Partner – collaboration to achieve results
- Build – creating innovation
- Sustain – strengthening foundations
During the conference I co-presented a presentation with Julie Pettett, the CEO Of Volunteering Western Victoria. Putting Research into Practice – the Marketing and Rebranding of Wimmera Volunteers. The presentation discussed the importance of marketing and the experiences of Volunteering Western Victoria in re-engaging with its communities.
Volunteering Western Victoria, was formerly known as Wimmera Volunteers and had remained a static organisation, despite the changing nature of volunteering. There was a need to re-engage the community and to broaden its presence outside of Horsham in Western Victoria.
Syneka Marketing assisted Volunteering Western Victoria by developing a marketing plan that identified a future direction for the organisation. The marketing plan identified four goals supported in the businesses plan:
- Be an effective peak organisation
- Grow access to resources
- Build capacity in the volunteer and community sector
- Organisation development
These goals were supported by two further priorities identified in the marketing plan:
- Diversify and Sustain Funding Support
- Rebrand Wimmera Volunteers
A business plan identifies what an organisation wants to achieve and a marketing plan looks how to achieve this vision. A marketing plan then considers the key messages and marketing tools that can reach the required stakeholders.
Diversifying income became a priority, due to the need to decrease dependence on government revenue. The marketing plan identified business partnerships, the introduction of membership, fundraising and philanthropic programs that could add new income sources. These strategies supported the business plan, with membership complementing the desire to be a peak organisation and partnerships, enabling the development of new programs.
The rebranding of Wimmera Volunteers arose due to the need to position the organisation as a peak body and to re-engage with its community. A new name, visual identity, logo and marketing materials were developed in six weeks, to launch the new brand at the 2012 Annual General Meeting.
The name Volunteering Western Victoria was selected, since it clearly defined the purpose of the organisation and the role it has in supporting volunteering across Western Victoria. The tagline Empowering Communities, Supporting Volunteers, reinforced the impact that the organisation has a local and individual level.
Not-for-profit organisations have limited marketing budgets and a result names should be clearly identifiable to avoid the need to explain the purpose of the organisation.
Marketing within not-for-profit organisations requires the ability to reach numerous stakeholders. There is a need for marketing messages that provide a consistent narrative, while being tailored to the needs of individual stakeholders. A not-for-profit organisation needs to not only reach its clients, but also government, business partners, volunteers, other organisations, board members and internal staff.
The aim of the rebrand was to utilise the new name and tagline, as well as modernising the image of the organisation. The rebranding was accompanied by the design of new marketing materials, including brochures, factsheets, posters and website.
The presentation was extremely well received and I would like to thank the many attendees for their interest in the journey undertaken by Volunteering Western Victoria.