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How a Mascot Can Help Your Non-Profit Fundraising Efforts

Source: https://salvationarmy.ca/ontariocentraleast/2017/11/salvation-armys-ontario-central-east-division-spreads-joy-santa-claus-parade/#

Corporate brands have utilised mascots for decades. From Tony the Tiger to the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the iconic Michelin Man, many of these characters have become household names, which is the objective of any marketing department. Advertising teams strive to imprint their brand within the minds of consumers, so if they can routinely make a connection to a company’s product with a mascot, the company has done its job well. 

Is it time that non-profit organisations and charities start taking advantage of the power of mascots? Many of these entities have yet to join the mascot bandwagon, potentially leaving money on the table for their benevolent causes. There is great value in incorporating mascots into fundraising efforts, to help your targeted audience bond more closely with your non-profit brand, keeping your organization at the forefront of their mind when deciding where to allocate their charitable dollars.

Although it is safe to say that most charities have not made mascots an integral element of their strategies, there are many well-known mascots for some of the world’s biggest non-profits. 

Well-Known Non-Profit Mascots

International charitable organization, The Salvation Army, supports over 400 communities across Canada, therefore year-round fundraising efforts help to keep this support going. However, the largest and widely recognized public fundraising drive is their annual Christmas Kettle Campaign, which takes place every December and helps raise funds to assist millions of people living in poverty. To boost visibility even further during the Kettle Campaign and at other community events, The Salvation Army has a beloved mascot team (or a mascot army, perhaps) including: Shieldy the Shield, Sally Ann, Bram, and Captain Kettle.

Over in Scotland, two charity mascots established a Guinness Book of Records for the Inverness Half Marathon. Harvey the Heart (Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow) and Bobby the Bee (Highland Hospice) crossed the finish line together with a world record time of 1.37.03. 

Source: https://www.ross-shirejournal.co.uk/news/bee-utiful-highland-hospice-mascot-bobby-hovers-over-world-record-bid-161597/

Whether in Canada, or across the pond, a growing number of non-profit groups are unlocking the fundraising potential of mascots!

Interested in leveraging a little mascot power? We’re here to help guide you through how to improve the visibility of your philanthropic endeavours with a well-designed mascot in the non-profit realm. Check out our top tips to successfully integrate a mascot as a function of your not-for-profit brand: 

1. Select a Mascot That Accurately Represents Your Charity 

While brainstorming mascot concepts, it is important to lean towards ideas that have a close association to what you are raising money for.  So, for example, if you are raising funds for forest preservation, a raccoon may be a more appropriate choice than a flamingo. Invest time and resources into developing an appealing design to ensure that it resonates well with your targeted donors.

Seek the services of a professional character design team to help you design the structure and even the clothes of the mascot. Each colour and design element should tie back to your brand. A well-designed mascot can amplify your non-profit brand voice in a positive way; don’t risk leaving the creation process in the hands of a novice or inexperienced individual to create a character that appeals to donors and can generate some buzz and media attention. 

2. Copyright Your Mascot 

Even if your mascot seems like a benign part of your overall marketing strategy, it is always a good idea to protect yourself from a legal perspective (or else you may be liable to charges of property theft). In this case, it would be prudent to copyright your mascot before you officially unveil it to the public as part of your marketing efforts.

3. Use Your Mascot Regularly

As we love to say, “if you’ve got it – flaunt it!”. Once you have a mascot, it would be best to use it regularly. Any time you have a fundraising event, be sure to put it front and centre of your activities. Or, if you are doing a promotional event, make your mascot an active participant! Exposing your mascot to the public eye, wherever possible, will help deepen the association to your non-profit brand.

4. Bring Your Mascot to Life!

Infuse personality into the image of your mascot!  Try setting up social media accounts for your mascot, to engage with the public and spread the message behind your cause. Use these mediums to define the character of your mascot, whether it is charming, witty, or adventurous! While sports mascots and corporate mascots have been doing this well over the years, mascots within the non-profit realm have less of a presence on these social platforms. This vacant space provides a great opportunity for organisations to bring their mascots to life online to help broaden the reach of fundraising efforts and increase brand awareness year-round.

In the tempered post-coronavirus economy, it will be harder than ever for a lot of charities and not-for-profit organizations to raise money, forcing professional donors to come up with innovative strategies for maintaining momentum towards the cause at hand.  Governments have extended support to the non-profit sector, but subsidies might not be enough to keep these outfits running. Now is the time for philanthropic organisations to flex their creative muscles and consider introducing a non-profit mascot to help breathe new life into fundraising efforts. Is your organization ready to level up your brand awareness with a lovable mascot? Talk to the mascot experts at Hogtown Mascots for a free consultation today!