Create a Style Guide to Ensure Audience Recognition & Boost Engagement

Create a Style Guide to Ensure Audience Recognition & Boost Engagement There’s never enough time when you’re getting your nonprofit’s communications out the door. But when two different spellings of the same word (both correct) are used in a membership drive campaign, or the way your nonprofit is described varies from email to email or letter to letter within a fundraising campaign and your logo appears in different colors and different sizes in different places, your audiences will be confused. Promise.

That’s just not the kind of mistake you can afford to make, especially now when attention spans are harder to get than ever. So I urge you to  define editorial and visual identity standards and publish them in a style guide.

Style guides aren’t sexy, and they aren’t top of mind right now when you’re focused hard on what’s next in uncertain times. But a style guide is a straightforward way to make sure you get the most from your communications for no cost and not much time.

As a bonus, your organization’s style guide will cut confusion big-time among your content-creating colleagues, since all their questions are answered in a single, accessible document. Less waiting on answers, less frustration, double fun.

Here’s an outline of the core editorial and graphic elements to incorporate in your style guide. Digest these guidelines, and with that framework in mind, dive into the 10 nonprofit style guide models ( at bottom of this article).

I challenge you, my friends to dig into these models, harvest what makes sense and put together a guide for your nonprofit before the end of the year. It won’t take long, but will generate substantial return for your organization in 2009 and beyond.

P.S. Yes We Can! When a powerful tagline is joined to a compelling mission…nothing is impossible! Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz on December 11, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Social Media, Web 2.0 | 4 comments
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  • We’ve found that our style guide has been very helpful in keeping our communications consistent. I truly enjoy your blog – you always have great posts.
    Tara Pringle Jefferson
    Public Affairs Associate
    The Cleveland Foundation

  • Thanks for this style guide, it is really help to boost any business/organization.

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