Profile: Brown Bread
Could you describe your organisation and the work you perform?
Brown Bread is a Christchurch-based philanthropy, communications and events agency. We package up missions, causes and brands with communications, events and partnership strategies. We build communities around game-changing socially driven ideas – engaging people so much that they’ll give money or participate in some way to move the mission forward. We’re the agency you find when you want to make something happen that’s going to make a difference – whether you’re a non-profit with a game-changing ambition, or a business that ‘wants in’ on bringing social impact to its community, customers or audiences.
What are the core values of your organisation?
We’re a BCorp, so we’re accredited (and have to work hard to keep the accreditation) to do business that benefits our people, our community and our environment. The BCorp global movement is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee.
We exist to create a culture of giving in New Zealand, and we do this by creating meaningful movements.
Our nature is driven by:
· Defying the odds. We break new ground, we take on projects others wouldn’t and we are happy to ‘crap ourselves’ daily. We like being on the edge of a new culture, we lead and take brave souls with us.
· Being a good influence. We work with projects that will influence communities and the way people live in a positive, Brown Bread way.
· Keeping it real. Having an open communication culture and only saying what we mean.
· Believing in abundance. We believe in extreme plenty, overflowing fullness in our work satisfaction and impact, and we believe in the generosity of humankind.
· Nailing it. We’re known for delivering for our clients, communities and each other.
How would you describe the profile of your (prospective) audience and customer?
We have a range of long-term non-profit customers including Christchurch Art Gallery Foundation, Objectspace and Māia Health Foundation, the new philanthropic arm of Canterbury District Health Board. We also have commercial customers who want us to help them build genuine followings and communities around their products or services – and ‘want in’ on how to partner with great causes, and the audiences of those causes. Examples include Kathmandu, IAG and BMW Christchurch.
We put each potential new client through a matrix, to check they’re the right fit for us. We also make sure the whole Brown Bread team agree they’re ‘us’. The criteria we look for with our clients include:
· Does the client have an almost impossible mission?
· Is the mission new, filling a gap not tried before, relevant to the market?
· Does the client have a great leader who can carry the vision and is into risk (to lead a philanthropic mission takes guts, and is not for the faint hearted).
· Does the client have the capacity to take this mission fully on once we’ve moved on? We often work alongside the client for 1–2 years to get a movement going, and are interested in empowering our clients to build capability and eventually bring expertise in house.
We also deliver our own range of events/projects in the arts and on gender issues, and are generating a good database of followers who want to be part of our events, community and give to our causes through crowdfunding.
How do you currently engage your (prospective) audience and customer?
We undertake quite long searches before engaging our non-profit clients. We end up living and breathing our client’s vision with them so we only have the energy to work with around three causes at once at the moment. So we take our time to find the right client. One that has a mission that will have long-term and significant impact, and one that has the leadership to ensure the mission endures.
We engage our direct giving community directly through social media, digital eNews and through our events. We engage our sponsors/brands/large donors to our projects through building long-term trusted relationships.
How do you bring together parties and help them find their match?
We are building a database that tracks the motivations of our commercial partners so we know what opportunities they look for, and our individual donors to identify what motivates them and how experienced they are at giving in major ways to projects.
It’s our intention to also segment our digital givers within the database, that is those who give via crowdfunding or giving to an event, by geography, interests and motivations, and capacity to give.
We make it our business to collect this information and then we’re then able to match them with an opportunity when a good fit arises. When we pitch, we pitch creatively, with honesty, and with as much hard data to show a return to the possible sponsor/giver.
Could you describe the value shared and received beyond the dollars?
We’re finding individual/personal giving offers long-term legacy value to the institutions they support. There can even be multi-generational relationships formed that will offer long-term support to the institution.
To secure commercial partners we’re required to show a lot more tangible return on investment. While this can be time consuming, and commercial sponsorship is often less than individual giving, companies offer huge value to the sponsee when they leverage the partnership properly. We find only a handful of large NZ corporates really know how to leverage – but when they do – the cause/event/charity gains credibility, profile and positive positioning that it could never do alone.