As General Manager of Marketing and Engagement at Sydney-based Macarthur Disability Services (MDS), Caitlin Pearson has steered the organisation through a massive rebranding and sponsorship strategy that has increased fundraising revenue by more than 50%.
“I’m just beyond excited,” Caitlin revealed to The CEO Magazine after being presented the award for Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year, sponsored by Change Makers Rule Breakers. “I can’t believe it.”
The native Tasmanian developed a new brand image for the organisation following a survey given to stakeholders on what the MDS brand meant to them.
“We created a competition to identify where we had started using our new logo and this created a sense of excitement among people who incidentally were also reinforcing the new brand in their minds,” Caitlin explained.
The logo quickly became identifiable as being synonymous with the brand that stakeholders were accustomed to, without negatively impacting sales or brand equity.
In addition, Caitlin revamped the organisation internally, developing customer engagement guidelines and a customer-centric training package. These combined efforts culminated into the biggest rebranding the organisation has ever had.
Furthermore, Caitlin overhauled MDS’s sponsorship strategy by simplifying the process and making it easier to understand. She established opportunities for potential sponsors to meet with service participants, shifting away a strictly financial transaction into a more human interaction.
Caitlin also reduced the number of fundraising events and instead focused on doing a few of them really well. This led to a marked increase in fundraising revenue.
While the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 created significant challenges for the disability sector, particularly in terms of limited funding, Caitlin used her creativity to work through them. She switched from the traditional – and more expensive – platforms of print and radio to create more exposure through online resources.
Caitlin said winning the Not-For-Profit Executive of the Year Award was not something for herself, but an acknowledgement of the hard work put in by her team. “I’m just one of a small team that has had a really big year,” she stated.
“It’s been tough for our organisation with big changes going on but we really pulled together and did some amazing things.”