Care USA Case Analysis
Care USA has been suffering from a lack of a brand identity amongst its primary donor group, this has lead to Care USA to restructure its marketing communications to increase support from the private sector. Reduction of Care USA’s humanitarian relief projects, merging of all Care International groups, and collaboration with other relief organizations are three possible solutions that may be employed to achieve further private support. A possible prioritized implementation plan is also included to achieve the primary objective of Care USA.
Care USA is dedicated to eradicate poverty through out the world through health care, education, agriculture, farming, safe water, basic sanitation and most importantly providing food to the underprivileged. By 2002 Care USA had become one of the largest humanitarian relief organizations in the world. Care USA received the majority of their funding through government with private donations being minimal. So they have tried various approaches in international fund raising and marketing communications to reach their target group of donors which consists primarily of adults 35 and up, college educated, with an average salary above $75,000. To reach this demographic Care USA is trying to develop a brand strategy to make them a relevant global brand on the humanitarian relief front on par with the likes of UNICEF, and the Red Cross whom they have been competing with to acquire donors.
In 2002 Care USA had an income of $427 million, of which roughly 67% was received from government funding. Through this $427 million Care USA was able to directly improve the lives of over 31 million people in impoverished nations. In 2002 the public support of Care USA was at $63 million which only made up 15% of the total income. The reason for this low percentage was due to the fact of a sluggish US economy, a dragging stock market, and the attacks of September 11th. Although all these factors lead to the lowered public donations, another problem also plagued Care USA; they where unable to effectively communicate how they would fulfill their mission statement. Care USA had branched off into so many different areas of humanitarian work that the average donor was unsure of what Care USA was attempting to do on a global scale. Starting as just a food provider for the needy in Europe, Care USA had established a brand as such. When they began their descent onto other platforms of humanitarian relief their vision became incomprehensible among the general public. Whereas UNICEF and the Red Cross have concentrated their efforts on child-care and health-care respectively, Care USA implemented programs ranging from generic care packages to agro-forestry development, which while helpful to local populaces, served to dilute their core message to perspective donors.
Our criteria for selection of a possible solution to Care USA’s problems are as follows:
Increase private donations
Cost effectiveness in marketing
Increase Brand awareness
Alternative I: Reduction of Care USA activities to 2 primary objectives
Care USA shall solely focus on its two core functions: hunger assistance and emergency relief. As such, it will divert any funds and resources currently being used to execute their periphery operations to the above two functions.
a. “Increase Private Donations” will be achieved due to a break-down of asymmetric information. No longer will donors be unaware of Care USA’s core objectives, and as such will have more incentive to donate to Care USA now that they are informed of what specific activities their funds are going towards.
b.”Cost Effectiveness in Marketing” will be satisfied as Care USA will no longer have to waste limited resources in communicating multiple messages. Rather, Care USA can concentrate their resources by discussing their primary operations via focusing on a single message that ties in their two core activities.
c. “Increase Brand Awareness” will certainly be attained as the public will better attribute Care USA to a specific service, much as Red Cross and UNICEF are mainly correlated with health-care and child-care prospectively in the minds of consumers. Thus by limiting their activities to hunger assistance and emergency relief, Care USA can achieve the imprints the minds of donors that the above two groups have.
d. A “Unified Message” will be met now that Care USA only advertises its work regarding its two main activities and reduces their periphery operations. As such Care USA can now “speak with one voice” instead of sending mixed messages and signals by discussing a hodgepodge of activities that they are engaged in, which only serves to confuse potential donors as to what Care USA’s primary goals and operations are.
Alternative II: Merging all the Care subsidiaries into one group
Care began its mission in the United States and subsequently spread out to other countries. When Care made its way outside the United States they attached the particular countries name to its name in an attempt to decrease confusion, hence Care UK, Care France, etc. However Care had a strong association with United States in people’s mind. Care USA sounds more familiar than Care international or just Care. The United States has been the biggest donor of Care and the most powerful member that manages the programs and activities of Care worldwide, even though their expertise may not lie in that particular field. Also, in the case of non-profit organizations the strong association of the brand with one particular nation is not very helpful. Non-profit organizations get donations from government grants and the private sector. Donation’s from the private sector is based solely on donors’ trust because donors cannot experience the actual products or services that organization provides. People may not trust the organization very much if the power is centered on one country. Therefore Care can get more trust and positive image as a non-profit organization from people in other countries if all the Cares merge into one group.
a.”Increase Private Donations” will be achieved because people will not recognize Care as an American organization. Therefore private donations in other countries will increase.
b.”Cost Effectiveness in Marketing” will be satisfied because Care has standardized brand elements and advertisement through the countries. Also all the countries would benefit from one major marketing campaign.
c.”Increase Brand Awareness” may be achieved because the donor will be able to correlate Care as a international relief agency, not one of a particular country
d.It is hard to make a “Unified Message” because conflict is sure to arise between countries. Lead members are not willing to share their powers and roles.
Alternative #3: Care USA can collaborate their efforts with other relief organizations, such as UNICEF, Red Cross, or Oxfam, that share the same goals and vision.
a.”Increase private donations” UNICEF, Red Cross, and Oxfam are all well know charitable organizations which contrasts with Care USA’s obscurity. Should Care USA collaborate with them, then individuals will be aware of their work on the world relief front. Additionally, Care USA’s brand awareness and credibility will be higher than before and as such the amount of private donations it receives will be increased.
b.”Cost effectiveness in marketing” If these organizations collaborate with each other, they can still be in charge of their own operations. For example, UNICEF primarily concerns itself with children’s education or protection, Red Cross with medication, and Care USA with emergency relief, hunger assistance among other items. In this way, Care USA can concentrate only on emergency relief, and not on the other areas such as children’s education or medication. As such, Care USA will be more effective in achieving their goals.
c.”Increase brand awareness” Care USA certainly can open their brand to people that know about UNICEF, Red Cross, and other charitable groups. However, collaboration may be risky for Care USA since it can potentially be absorbed into the activities of other organizations. So, they should focus on their own goals and demonstrate their achievements in these areas. If so, Care USA can garner credibility among people and hence brand awareness will increase naturally.
d.”Unified message” Each relief organizations may have their own messages that they select to communicate. Ideally, when Care USA collaborates with them, this coalition should speak with a unified voice. Nonetheless, it would be difficult for all organizations to focus on one interest.
Effectively Alternative I is the ideal alternative since it satisfies the above criteria, and as such does not suffer from a major Achilles ‘ heel. Instead, it effectively re-brands Care USA by creating an imprint in the minds of donors in the same way that UNICEF and Red-Cross have done by advertising their main operations rather then being a generic organization that wants to “save the world.” It also makes the organization more cohesive by aligning individual units with each other, not expending resources on multiple messages and activities, and finally by bolstering donations.
To implement the prime alternative of reducing Care USA’s activities to two primary and historical objectives (curbing hunger and providing disaster relief), we recommend Care USA undertake a massive reallocation of funds by which resources that are funneled to periphery activities (e.g. agro forestry, planting trees, land management, and others) be redistributed to the above listed “core activities.” To achieve this objective Care USA, will require centralization by which individual units and branches will no longer be allowed to engage in services that deviate from the above two functions, unless they have the explicit consent of the central organization.
Care USA can implement the above “product” towards their target group by no longer sending out four variants of solicitations. Care USA previously sent out four different direct mailings, each of which conveyed a different objective and vision. This practice, which only served to confuse potential donors once they received multiple messages, must be eliminated, and replaced by one, and only one, that emphasizes their core functions. We feel that their “Meal Ticket” message is such a device. This meal ticket message, as displayed on Exhibit 16, conveys the message in an effective visual manner that classifies donation amounts by increments of $15, $20, $50, and up. We further recommend that the Care USA logo be displayed more prominently and in the center of the meal ticket itself. This product does not lend itself to a pricing scheme given that it is a “voluntary purchase.”
Care USA can deliver this direct mail to their target group of donors, primarily consisting of “skeptical progressives,” to convey their focused objectives. Care USA can use this direct mail campaign to showcase their brand identity as an organization which seeks to eradicate hunger in needy countries. By focusing on these objectives Care USA will drastically reduce confusion amongst its primary donor group. This is true because Care USA will be seen as a relief organization which has dedicated itself to hunger assistance, and emergency relief. By doing so they will be able to tap into the donor pool that is currently being dominated by UNICEF, Red Cross, and Oxfam which are effective in communicating one mission.