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ICYMI – Elevate Your Impact: Building An Impact-Driven Brand

A recap of the strategies explored in The Anthem Awards’ panel, discussing how non-profit leaders can use impact measurement to advance their work, featuring leaders from Acumen and Billion Oyster Project.

Image description: three women sit on a stage in chairs behind a projector that reads "The Anthem Awards. Elevate Your Impact."

We are at a pivotal moment for social impact. Now, more than ever before, organizations and businesses are being called to consistently make decisions that benefit the maximum number of people. The key for organizations to secure donor support and expand their efforts is, undoubtedly, strong impact measurement. How can leaders better scale their impact, and what tools can they use?

To share best practices, The Anthem Awards hosted a panel discussion and networking event, Elevate Your Impact: Building An Impact-Driven Brand in late May. The panel featured two nonprofit leaders Alexandra Gordon, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Acumen and Helene Hetrick, Director of Communications for Billion Oyster Project (2023 recipient of The Anthem Fund), and was hosted by Patricia McLoughlin, General Manager for The Anthem Awards.

ICYMI – Read a few takeaways from the event that you can use to inform your impact and marketing strategies.

1. Define Impact in Order to Measure It 

Clearly defining what “impact” means for your brand or organization will help you measure it. For Acumen, which invests in entrepreneurs creating global poverty solutions, people are at the core of this definition. “We’re thinking about the lives impacted or how many jobs we created,” said Gordon.

Merging both qualitative and quantitative data should also be at the center of your impact measurement – both share equal weight. This approach is true for Billion Oyster Project. As they focus on restoring New York’s oyster reefs through public education initiatives and volunteer engagement, being able to adapt their tactics, based on numerical and anecdotal evidence, is essential to their mission. This approach has helped BOP engage over 14,500 with their restoration and education initiatives in 2023 alone, and reintroduce 122 million oysters to date.

Image description: Room of 30 people sit in Ludlow House in New York City, attending the Elevate Your Impact event.

The Anthem community attending "Elevate Your Impact: Building An Impact-Driven Brand" at Ludlow House in New York City.

2. Invest in Collecting and Understanding Your Data 

All effective decision making begins with proper investment in your data journey. Uniquely distinct from reach KPIs in advertising and marketing, nonprofit organizations need to collect and really understand data to make informed decisions. Selecting your tools are key to this.

“Do you have the right tools? Are you making the right investments, so that you can look past simple data and views?” questioned Gordon. Being clear on data collection has helped Acumen better select and invest in founders for Acumen Academy, its incubator program for entrepreneurs looking to scale poverty solutions.

Tracking tools should fit organically into your impact measurement strategies. Experiment with which works for you—for BOP, Smartsheet is their platform of choice.

Finally, be honest about your data and be vulnerable enough to report on your failures. Gordon advises generating insight reports as an honest review of your learnings, like Acumen’s Failing Forward Report. Not only can it improve your future strategies and build trust with your audiences, but also it creates a pipeline for other institutions to learn from

It’s hard to measure impact if you can’t define it. - Alexandra Gordon, Acumen.

3. Hone in on Your Storytelling as Your North Star 

There is power in the way we tell the stories of important causes and issues. A well-crafted story—that extends across your branding and marketing—is vital to attract supporters to your work. To attract donors or volunteers to a mission, don’t underestimate the strength in tapping into a smaller audience. “Think about the audience of one,” said Gordon. “Be brave with your storytelling. Be curious and interested in your audiences—get to know them.”

For Billion Oyster Project, sharp storytelling is key to attracting volunteers. According to Hetrick, “The Big Oyster” is essential literature and inform’s BOP’s core mission, and helps in their oyster restoration efforts by offering a look at what New York harbor’s have historically looked like — to inform a hopeful look at what they can look like today.

Moreover, strong storytelling will serve as your organizations’ North Star, as well as filter through which to view potential partnerships. “We also have to say no to investors because their values do not align with ours,” said Hetrick.

This season of The Anthem Awards is dedicated to elevating impact, in all of its forms. If you are making work the seven causes we honor, amplify it by entering the 4th Annual Anthem Awards before our Final Entry Deadline on Friday, July 12.

Patagonia – Don’t Buy This Jacket

Patagonia has put social impact at the core of their brand mission and values from the start, and their iconic Don’t Buy This Jacket campaign demonstrates how brands can use their platform to make an impact — or better yet, to help reduce our impact. This 2011 ad ran in the New York Times on Black Friday, making a lasting impression for its bold message addressing the issue of consumerism head on and asking readers to take the Common Threads Initiative pledge to reduce, repair, reuse, recycle, and reimagine a world where we take only what nature can replace.

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NEWS & ANNONCEMENTS

Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels Movement

Love Has No Labels is a movement by The Ad Council to promote diversity, equity and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability.

Read our Q&A with Heidi Arthur, the Ad Council’s Chief Campaign Development Officer on the team behind LHNL collaborates with partners to combat implicit bias—from crafting PSAs to driving viewers to take action, to how brands and companies should approach corporate social responsibility with authenticity.

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