Ad agencies for humanity

Advertising for Humanity, a creative agency whose clients are all social-benefit organizations, was started by social entrepreneur Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential.

Among the takeaways from Pallotta’s book is that forcing nonprofits to work with a low overhead prohibits them from obtaining the exposure needed to make large-scale social impact. If we could apply business principles like advertising to the nonprofit world, however, they too could create market demand.

Instead of just questioning the system, Pallotta devised a solution with Advertising for Humanity. The agency offers top grade creative services to nonprofits including business strategy consulting, branding, digital and print tools, CSR, event design, media planning, and board and donor transformation. “We help humanitarian organizations succeed by transforming their brands. We help consumer brands succeed by transforming their social initiatives,” Advertising for Humanity says on their site. “We marry marketing and meaning.”

In less than 10 years, Pallotta’s event marketing model—“the long-distance, multi-day pilgrimage model”—has been able to raise $582 million, and raise over $1 billion by inspiring others to start their own movements. The marketing practices delivered by “Humanity’s ad agency” have already benefited organizations like the US National Breast Cancer Coalition, Kenya-originating Kourage Athletics, Gulf Coast Foundation of Community, Helmsley Charitable Trust/Glu, Breast Cancer 3-Days, AIDSRides USA, Kidney Foundation of Alberta and the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Kourage Athletics operates in a Kenyan-owned factory located 139 kilometers north of Nairobi in the Rift Valley, the womb of many of Kenya’s best runners. The products itself combine fashion-forward design, a modern fit and performance-centric quick-dry fabrics that will pump you up at your next race or simply during your next morning jog. “Kenyan runners are world-class,” says 23-year-old Kourage Athletics fashion designer Joseph Kisuli, “we wanted to create an equally impressive garment.” “We combine the fit of your favorite t-shirt with the best performance fabric in the world.”

Kourage is a legal non-profit that strives to reduce poverty through job creation. Revenues from Kourage Athletics are reinvested back into where the brand emanates from, and where it matters most: Kenya.

Another creative agency with an ethical twist is Do Good Advertising that offers advertising and graphic design services to companies and enterprises that also have a social mission. Do Good Advertising strives to stay competitive, and offers numerous services including posters, outdoor publicity, exhibition and presentation materials, web design, television advertising, brochures, reports, branding, logos, stationary design, radio advertising and press advertising.

Founded in 2006 by graphic designer Richard Rogers and copywriter Stephen Simpson, Do Good Advertising has worked with a long list of clients including British Lung Foundation, Children in Scotland, Christian Aid, Veterinary Benevolent Fund, Waterwise, University of Glasgow, Respect Me, Glasgow Drawing Studio, and National Museums Scotland. Its main office is in the East End of Glasgow, Scotland, with a secondary office operating out of the Ethical Property Company in London, England.

Finally, there is Neo that works with a variety of organizations including social businesses, social enterprises, green businesses, public sector organizations and charities. Neo offers a range of services including fundraising, campaigns, media relations, social marketing, events, organizational development, branding, design and marketing. Despite that exhaustive list of services, everything comes back to one thing: creating positive change.

Certainly, it’s no surprise that Neo has a long list of crème de la crème clients including Greenpeace International, WWF, Wellbeing of Women, Help The Aged, ActionAid, Arts Council England, Homeless Link, Counsel and Care and Ethical Trade Initiative.


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