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:
Pinpoint the problem you’re trying to solve with your marketing decisions, especially when it’s as big as a new name
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.
Please tell me (in the comments below) what your summer camp looks like—i.e. how are you planning to use summer to get inspired, energized and even smarter? And how will you integrate that experience and the results into your work approach and/or activities in the fall.
In far too many organizations, communications/marketing staff and development/fundraising staff aren’t talking or cooperating, and in the worst cases, are working at cross-purposes. Your goals don’t have to be completely in sync, but they must be aligned.
Oh yeah, they do. If your goals—and all the activity that flows from them, both marketing and fundraising wise—aren’t aligned, you won’t get anywhere with your outreach on either front. Actually, the impact will be far worse than that—you’ll alienate prospects and supporters by confusing them with an inconsistent experience, a proven recipe for pushing folks far, far away.
Kivi’s must-do recommendation comes from learning that communications directors and development directors vary widely in their take on:
Didn’t we all do that already, during the advent of our websites and email programs?
1) Your supporters and participants are sharing more personal data than everbefore.
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.
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.
Our daughter, Charlotte, is away at Camp Harlam for 3 1/2 long weeks this summer. It’s her first time, and our pleasure in relaxed evenings and quiet weekend mornings is punctuated by severe pangs of missing her.
Most evenings we can quiet our pangs by going to the private website where photos from the day are posted. Charlotte frequently shows up in a photo or two, and we can get a sense of what she’s up to and how much she’s enjoying it (or not). I can’t tell you the pleasure we got when we spotted the biggest smile ever after she had completed the ropes course last week. We’re really getting to feel like part of the Camp Harlam family.
Harlam has done a great job of building our relationship in a natural way from the moment we shared our interest in registering Charlotte for the summer. I urge your organization to do the same, from the moment you first connect with folks who show interest as participants, supporters, clients, partners and/or volunteers and actively throughout the course of your relationship—BETWEEN your asks. Here’s how:
Your nonprofit’s messagesare 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:
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.
P.S. 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!
Have marketing naysayers among your colleagues or leadership? Take these quick steps to open their hearts, eyes and minds. It’s the best way to motivate their interest and participation in marketing via sharing critical insights on supporters and competitors, and learning to be effective messengers: