in Companies, Nonprofits, Tips & Tools

Learning from Nonprofits: Passion & Purpose Go Hand in Hand

This is the third blog in Catchafire’s series, What For-profits Can Learn from Nonprofits 

At successful nonprofits, passion and purpose go hand in hand.

Nonprofits devote a great deal of thought to defining their organization’s mission. Rather than making generalizations full of good intentions, they focus on specific strategies needed to attain the primary goal. For example, Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty and Make-a-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Nonprofits start with the outside community they are serving and translate that into action.

That mission creates loyalty by building an emotional connection with customers and stakeholders. Nonprofits in telling their story and getting funding give donors an opportunity to be heroes and to have a role in the success of the mission. Giving customers a chance to connect with the company is something that would build loyalty in a for-profit enterprise as well. For- and nonprofit enterprises want engaged communities that believe in the mission and the product or service, and will advocate for the brand.

Customers want to be aligned with what the brand means and the company’s mission largely for what it says about them. Many brands such as Apple, Nike and Patagonia have succeeded in doing this for years. Companies like Tom’s and Warby Parker connect with their customers not only in these ways but also have a charitable component woven into their mission.

The focus for corporations today should be on how they will create real and meaningful impact, as evidenced by 89% of consumers expressing a responsibility to purchase from socially responsible companies.

Having a cause has helped many corporations get noticed and rewarded through customer loyalty and innovative charitable business models. Having a purpose is not simply a cause marketing initiative or creative way to build brand equity; it needs to be woven into the mission much like a nonprofit in order for it to feel truly authentic to the consumer.

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