Branding and Messages

17-year-old Malala Yousafzai gave an unforgettable speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize today. Despite her youth, Malala’s words show her insight and communications finesse! In fact, this core message from the speech is an unbeatable combo of passion, specificity and brevity.

Use this triad as a checklist for your organization’s messages. Less IS more—much harder to craft but totally worth it.

Nancy Schwartz on December 10, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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Delight with Your Nonprofit Communications

Zappos is known for its operations smarts and customer-friendly orientation. But this delightful addition to the return confirmation email I received from Zappos this morning was a real surprise—That trip over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house went smoothly.

Here’s what I love about it:

  • Transforms a transactional communication from mundane to meaningful, so Zappos is far more likely to be remembered and returned to for a future purchase
    • Zappos emails on returns, purchases and marketing millions (billions?) times daily. That’s a lot of relationship nurturing power, at little cost (time, effort or dollars)
    • Consider the possibilities for making your donation thank you or program registration emails more meaningful and memorable.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 9, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 2 comments
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Nonprofit Message Impact

When my friend and colleague Stephanie Bowen announced her new job at MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action), I was thrilled for her, but didn’t really probe what MAMA was about. Knowing her search had been focused on development organizations working with women, I figured MAMA fit into that category and left it at that.

But last week, after jealously Facebook-following Stephanie’s work-related travel adventure in India, I had to know more. Naturally, I went right to the Who We Are page on MAMA’s website…

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Nancy Schwartz on November 18, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Keep Relationship CurrentI’m a huge fan of the charity clearinghouse GlobalGiving, and have donated through them several times to causes I wouldn’t have been able to connect with otherwise.

That’s GlobalGiving’s sweet spot—connecting donors like yours (and you, and me) with causes that we may not find, know of and/or be able to easily donate to. They do a fantastic job of it: Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised $151,783,082 from 407,034 donors who have supported 10,812 projects.

So I was surprised to receive this could-be-better email from them, updating me on the work they’ve done with my donation 3 1/2 years ago to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

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Nancy Schwartz on November 5, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Branding Case STudyRead Part One first

There’s so much to learn from the approach United Animal Nations took to rename and rebrand the organization….as Red Rover.

Here’s Part Two of this useful case study, via Director of Communications, Marketing and Development, Leili Khalessi.

Q: So you went directly to renaming on realizing United Animal Nations wasn’t working for you?

A: Nope. We tried something much easier first (and we’re glad we did).

We began using UAN as an acronym to attempt to correct misconceptions about our organization. But…

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Nancy Schwartz on October 29, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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RRlogo

Within the first five minutes of meeting Leili Khalessi last year, I learned that she and her colleagues were in the process of rebranding their organization, including a new name. As Marketing and Communications Manager with (what is now) Red Rover, Leili was right in the middle of that challenging project. So I jumped on the opportunity to ask if she’d share the organization’s experience in this marketing adventure.

Most important takeaways:

  1. Pinpoint the problem you’re trying to solve with your marketing decisions, especially when it’s as big as a new name
  2. Ensure your organizational name/brand is recognized (and repeatable), before you invest in program branding. If you don’t, you’re likely to end up with people thinking your organization provides that one program only, which limits your growth in size and direction.

Here’s part one of this useful case study:

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Nancy Schwartz on October 14, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 4 comments
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Powerful Nonprofit Message
Breath this in deeply. It’s a strong model of that golden communications rule: Show, Don’t Tell.

Here, on its Facebook page, Breast Cancer Action (BCA) zigs rather than zags, with memorable results. See post in full size here.

Most nonprofits would have simply told folks that  pink-labeled water bottles is pinkwashing, and leave it at that. But…

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Nancy Schwartz on October 7, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 3 comments
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porterwebFreelance communications strategist Jeremy Porter shares his knowhow in his e-newsletter , his blog (where this article first appeared) and via Twitter.

For people to care about global warming it needs to be made relevant. This guide shows the language that’s simple and uncontroversial.

In Nebraska, there’s a father thinking about his children’s health and education. In Oregon there’s a mother thinking about the pressures of her job. In Virginia there’s a couple thinking about the bills they will struggle to pay. And when asked if they think global warming or climate change is happening, none of them think it is.
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Guest Blogger on July 30, 2014 in Branding and Messages | 3 comments
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 Take 3 minutes to listen to this incredible speech. Relevance rules at the Oscars too.

That was reinforced big time in this fantastically-moving acceptance speech by Lupita Nyong’o (Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave) AND in the massive media coverage of her speech from the moment it started. Journalists, bloggers and others were clearly as moved as I was by this motivating and memorable 3-minute speech.

Even for folks like me, who find the actual Oscars’ ceremony tedious, there’s much to enjoy retrospectively, including this speech. And for all of us nonprofit communicators and fundraisers, there’s much to learn from Lupita’s words and delivery.

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Nancy Schwartz on March 3, 2014 in Branding and Messages, Relevance Rules | 12 comments

Nonprofit Message Tip

I was thrilled to see this Facebook post this from the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless (ECHH), one of our favorite clients.

We’ve been working with the ECHH team on year-end fundraising campaigns for a few years now. And among the many things I’ve learned is just how many of the individuals and families they serve work full-time (or more) but still can’t make ends meet—68%!

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Nancy Schwartz on November 26, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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