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What us charity folks can learn from Dilbert


I saw a blast from the past when reading a blog on customer retention this week from The Agitator.  I hadn’t seen a Dilbertmanagement-speak’ cartoon for ages so thought I’d take a quick look to find out what else could be learned for us not-for-profit folks…

Brand is more than just a name

Dilbert brandname

We know this, right?  What we do choose has to support what we do day to day, month to month and year to year.  Being clever isn’t enough in the eyes of our supporters and teams – we need to our brands to bring our vision to life!

Audience goodwill (brand equity) is SO worth building…

Dilbert on crazy marketing - Apple

Charities get forgiven for the odd mistake if our audiences feel our brand is worth sticking with.  They might not be as loyal as historical ‘engaged supporters’ but we’ll be in their memories and experiences for the right reasons in advance of the next time they want to consider making donations.

Social media is not going to work unless we trust our people to build a community of supporters

Dilbert social media policies and trusting staff

Enough said?

Word of Mouth marketing only works when we give people something positive to say first

Dilbert WOM marketing

Particularly important now social media enables us to reach much wider audiences at relatively low costs.  It’s not the broadcasting that counts, it’s what we’re talking about… making good on our promises, tangibly delivering our mission and sharing the evidence of the good we’re doing.  A million twitter followers aren’t adding much value if they aren’t actively supporting and sharing the good word that we prompt them with.

Not everyone wants to give money to your charity

Dilbert not everyone wants to give to charity

Between street fundraising, tele-fundraising, door-to-door and endless events, the process of donating has taken a bit of a battering in the popularity stakes lately.  However, this is a lesson in targeting and timing, not in how to employ strong-arm tactics… (although getting some celebrity patrons in a headlock may sound appealing to some of you)

Control the volume

Dilbert timing - comms touch points

We should start to think about how a ‘less is more’ approach to our communications might actually make them more powerful to recipients.  Mix up the type of activity with your audience across, say, social media for maintaining awareness and credibility with timely campaigns sent direct when you want specific action.

It’s tough to be outraged by various injustices, social issues and other causes every single week… let’s keep some of our powder dry and not bombard our audiences with messages just because we can afford to do so.

None of this is rocket science, of course, but at least it made me smile whilst thinking about some of the principles we try to follow.  What are your favourites?


With thanks to Scott Adams for creating Dilbert and the web for sharing. (none of this genius is down to me)

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