Shortcut to Campaign Conversion

Your response to findings from our  Nonprofit Messages Survey highlights your desire for messages that connect quickly and strongly with the people whose help you want and how few of your organizations have those messages in place. This is a huge opportunity to improve your connection with your base, and one that’s absolutely doable by organizations of every size.

Now I want to focus hard on one of the most valuable opportunities there is, in part because it’s seldom used by organizations like yours—taglines for your advocacy and fundraising campaigns, and your special events.

Get this: Just 33% of nonprofits with advocacy initiatives in place have used a tagline for one or more of their advocacy campaigns (see chart). That means 67% of advocacy campaigns (probably more, because respondent organizations may have used an advocacy campaign tagline just once) have a clear path to stronger results.

Advocacy campaigns are finite in time frame and must be absolutely compelling to generate the kind of support required to spur real change. A motivating tagline (built around the value of the act to the folks you’re trying to motivate, NOT to your organization) that’s easy to remember and repeat is a powerful tool in two ways: 1) To motivate supporters to act and; 2) To make it easy for supporters to spur friends and family to act. Campaign power squared.

Take this high-power example that I remember three years later:
Don’t Divorce Us
When supporters of California’s Prop 8 tried to sustain its constitutionality back in 2009, the Courage Campaign (CC) responded with a simple yet compelling campaign to engage Californians by moving human faces and personal stories into the forefront of opposition to the Prop 8 movement. They asked members, including those among the 18,000 same-sex couples married before Prop 8, to send in personal photos with a simple campaign tagline (that served as a clear call to action):  “Don’t Divorce Us”.

CC was flooded with unforgettable photos of familes, couples and their friends and integrated them into this powerful video collage that was viewed more than 1 million times. Over 370,000 people signed the petition asking the state Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8. (Hat tip to Allyson Kapin).

I urge you to experiment with developing a tagline for your next advocacy campaign. The risk is nil, the possibility for adding impact significant. You’ll find specific how-tos in the Nonprofit Tagline Report. Go to it!

What is your experience in integrating a tagline in your advocacy or fundraising campaign? Did that make a difference and, if so, how? Please share your experiences here.

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message—your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report and Database for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 5,000 searchable nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz on July 11, 2012 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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  • http://twitter.com/LSGrodeska Lawrence Grodeska

    Thanks for sharing these findings, Nancy. They really demonstrate the potential for nonprofits to increase sharing and conversion on advocacy campaigns with the right tagline. We see this on Change.org–a great advocacy campaign tagline can translate to an engaging petition title which is one of the keys to successful online petitions.

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