Charity and not-for-profit marketers are extremely familiar with the "zero budget" phenomenon. That's why there's some great inspiration to be found in seeing what charities will come up with next.
As a Greenpeace monthly supporter, I just received this clever initiative via email. They're inviting their supporters to get a free, 2 day public speaking course and then "volunteer" in the community to visit schools, community groups, etc and talk about the work of Greenpeace.
Why is this so smart? So many reasons.
1. Talk about a great way to get your supporters involved - especially those more conservative types who wont be volunteering for a trip on one of their ships anytime soon.
2. Get your supporters (or "customers") MORE passionate about your work by teaching them more about it.
3. Get 30-100 (not sure how many they're recuiting) spokespeople for nothing but the cost of a training course, which they may have got pretty cheap to start with.
4. Hit thousands more people with the Greenpeace message than would be possible without this unpaid army of enthusiastic speakers - and in a way that's far more engaging than any other: people talking to people.
5. Tapping into the zeitgeist. Finally green issues are firmly on everyone's agenda and Greenpeace aren't missing the chance to get to people when they're finally paying some attention.
Is there any inspiration in "for profits" in this. Of course. If you are selling a product or service that people are passionate about, why not bestow people the honour of becoming an "evangelist" for you. I'm not suggesting there's a huge public speaking market, but there is a "refer a friend on steriods" opportunity here.
So good on you, Greenpeace. Great cause and very clever marketing.