Branding and Messages

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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.


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%!


Nancy Schwartz on November 26, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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Naming Netcentric Campaigns-4Part 1: Name Change Why, When & Hows

Naming and messaging are so tricky, yet so vital. I saw that again last week with your strong response to the Green Media Toolshed -> Netcentric Campaigns case study. So I reached out to the Netcentric team to learn more about their process and tips on shepherding a name change, or creation, for your organization, program or service.

Thanks so much to Bobbi Russell, Netcentric’s COO, for sharing experiences and tips.


Nancy Schwartz on October 10, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Nonprofit name changeName Creation/Change Guidance: Case Study—Part 2

It’s rare to see an organization change its name and that’s a good thing. Name changes are a delicate matter.

Assuming you’ve done a good job of building relationships with supporters, partners and others, your org’s name has equity. Members of your network—donors in particular—have established ways in which they relate to your organization, and your name is the most memorable trigger you have. When you change your organization’s name, you upset the status quo and draw attention to what has been a smooth and productive relationship.


Nancy Schwartz on October 1, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 2 comments
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MN United—Campaign Message

Go ahead. Call me a message geek! When I see a memorable message success story like this one, I get happy.

Minnesotans United for All Families (MN United) did a great job in putting Love is the Law front and center in its campaign for passage of the marriage equality bill last spring.

MN United lucked out on this one: Chan Poling—a passionate supporter of the Minnesota same-sex marriage campaign and former lead singer of 80s new wave band, The Suburbs—contacted MN United to offer up the song just as the campaign was heating up. But Poling wouldn’t have made the connection if he hadn’t first been touched by campaign outreach.


Nancy Schwartz on September 19, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Blank stares.

That was the response to most of the one-sentence organizational summary intros (a.k.a. mini-elevator pitches) from co-attendees of a workshop I participated in last week. Let me share some examples with you:



Nancy Schwartz on July 31, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 2 comments

Nonprofit messagesYour nonprofit’s messages are the most powerful marketing tool you have, enabling you to connect quickly and strongly with your supporters and partners.

In fact, the right  messages—based on getting to know your network and what’s important to them—are a powerful motivational magnet and easy to remember and repeat. Priceless!

But most of you can do much better with your messages—Just 24% of nonprofit organizations rate their messages as effective. This practical new tool will help (available now at no charge)—Your Nonprofit Message Brainstorming Kit:

1) Expanded Nonprofit Tagline Database with organizational, program, fundraising and advocacy campaign, and special event taglines:

  • Get ideas on ways to integrate a specific word or phrase into your tagline or other message.
  • Be inspired and guided in shaping your organization’s messages by those of organizations like yours.
  • Brainstorm on how to strengthen your program messages by reviewing program taglines of other organizations.
  • Breakthrough your paralysis in naming (or re-naming) your organization by reviewing names of other organizations in your field.

2) Updated Nonprofit Tagline Report
Your guide to high-impact taglines: 10 have-tos, 6 deadly sins–what not to do, what makes a winning tagline and more.

A strong tagline is a potent tool. So don’t miss this incredible opportunity to strengthen your connection with your base. You need their help to move your mission forward.  And you’ll make it easy for them to remember and repeat why their friends and family should donate, volunteer, advocate….for your organization.

Be inspired and guided by 5,900+ nonprofit taglines and the guide to making your messages great: Get your Nonprofit Message Brainstorming Kit today!

Your tagline is at the heart of your message platform, conveying the essence of the impact of your work, in eight words or less. UNCF introduced its tagline (A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste) decades ago, but it still stirs my heart and my mind!

Nancy Schwartz on July 16, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Relevant Nonprofit MessagesWhat if you were skilled at the most critical marketing process necessary to engage your target audiences with clarity and purpose?

What if you mastered a proven 11-step message development process so you had a positioning statement, key messages and a sparkling tagline that connected with your supporters and energized your staff, board and volunteers?

And what if you could perform this marketing transformation with expert guidance in just 6 weeks?

Well now you can, starting Tuesday, May 7. But there are just three seats leftLearn more here.

Note: No worries if you’re unable to make the first live webinar on May 7. I’ll guide you into the program and webinar recordings (video and audio) including all Q&As, plus the slide deck, will be available for review at your convenience.


Nancy Schwartz on May 6, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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This is it, your last chance to get the keys to the kingdom and join the 24% of nonprofits whose messages move people to act.

Register right now to get a seat for today’s (3/27) webinar! 98% of seats are already taken.

If you can’t make it today, register anyway. You’ll get the video recording. 

4 Steps to Relevant Nonprofit Messages
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 Time: 1:00-2:00PM EDT / 10:00-11:00AM PDT
Replay: If you can’t make this time, register anyway. All registrants get the video recording.


Nancy Schwartz on March 26, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Even before you ever imagined you’d be a nonprofit marketer or fundraiser, I bet you knew it was all about the words, a.k.a. the messages. That when you read an email or letter, or scanned a website or poster, you responded immediately and strongly to the words that you connected with, and not at all to those that didn’t.

Yet the reality is that crafting the words themselves is only a a small part of the total effort required to develop relevant messages that will move your network to act—to give, partner, volunteer or whatever else you want people to do!

I’m continually amazed at how much more is required to create Aha! messages beyond the time I spend actually writing for clients and for the blog and e-newsletter. You probably find the same.

Now, you can join the 24% of nonprofits whose messages move people to give, volunteer, participate and more:

Register Now to Learn this Vital Skill - Seats Filling Fast
4 Steps to Aha! Messages

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013      Time: 1:00-2:00 PM EDT/10:00-11:00 PM PDT
Please register even if you can’t make it at this time. You’ll get the video recording to review at your convenience.
Register Now

Note: I made an error in scheduling this webinar—It’s the second day of Passover and I apologize to those of you who will be observing that day.


Nancy Schwartz on March 12, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

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