The Back Story: Great Taglines Promoting Good Causes
A nonprofit’s tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate its identity and impact, or to lead its fundraising campaign, program marketing or special event promotion.
But this high-impact, low-cost marketing tactic is often overlooked or under-emphasized by nonprofits. GettingAttention.org’s 2008 survey of nonprofits showed that 7 in 10 nonprofits rated their tagline as poor or didn’t use one at all. The majority of nonprofits not using a tagline indicated that they had not thought about it or couldn’t come up with a good one.
The Nonprofit Tagline Awards program is designed to address this missed opportunity, and guide nonprofits to craft effective taglines.
This year, for this first time, voters selected program, fundraising and special event tagline award winners, in addition to the strongest organizational taglines. The addition of these three new tagline types gave more organizations a chance to showcase their best efforts to engage their target audiences.
The 17 winners, reviewed in this brief video, were selected by more than 6,100 voters from 70 finalists, identified by our expert panel of judges. The finalists were drawn from 2,700 nonprofit taglines entered in the 2010 program.
The organizations behind the winning taglines range from the regional (Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association) to the national (Youth Service America) and global (Episcopal Relief & Development). All did an admirable job in putting a few select words to work to build their brands, programs and fundraising impact.
Register now for Your No-Charge Copy of the 2011 Nonprofit Tagline Report and Access to the All-New Online Tagline Database with more than 4,800 Taglines
The report and database feature more on the winning taglines plus:
- The 10 Have-Tos for Successful Taglines
- The 7 Deadly Sins – Examples of what not to do.
- Searchable Access to more than 4,800 Nonprofit Tagline Examples for use in tagline brainstorming.
2010 Award Winners
Fundraising Tagline: Oregon Zoo Foundation: Capital campaign to fund lions’ return after 10-year absence—Bring Back the Roar!
This memorable tagline plants a strong seed in one’s mind–You can hear and see that lion roaring. It’s fun, pithy, emotional and unique with a clear call to action (an absolute must for fundraising messaging).
Program Tagline: Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS): Awareness campaign to educate the public about the important relationship between oral health and overall health—Your Mouth Can Say A Lot About You
MDS’ tagline is strikingly personal. As a result, it provokes immediate interest (with a touch of emotion, my mouth?), generating an unavoidable urge to know more about the program.
Program Tagline: Youth Service America (YSA): Semester of Service—Serve a Semester. Change the World.
YSA engages hearts and minds in its passionate focus on improving the world. Its tagline opens a world of possibility to students, and invites them to act.
Special Event Tagline: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research: Kids Can Cure Fun Run, LA Cancer Challenge—Little Feet. Big Strides.
This tagline is extremely engaging and visual. It fosters an emotional connection by declaring that small children can make a difference, while highlighting the direct impact that those who run it have on the cause.
Arts & Culture: Coffee House Press—Where good books are brewing
Nonprofit literary publisher Coffee House Press prides itself on its measured acquisition and editorial process, and the active discussions percolated by its publications. Its clever mash-up of a tagline clearly and succinctly conveys both aspects of its unique way of doing business. The surprise of the mixed imagery (books, rather than coffee brewing) makes it easy to remember.
Association: Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)—E.R. You Watch It… We Live It!
The Indiana ENA’s tagline draws a clear connection between its mission and its service delivery and is emotional, fun and highly memorable. The tagline’s reference to E.R.—the longest-running primetime medical drama (15 years)—has broad appeal as long as the show stays in reruns.
Civic Benefit: Drums Not Guns—Instruments of Mass Percussion
This tagline is a clever play on words (instruments of mass destruction), but remains clear and powerful. That’s a delicate balance to strike, and this tagline does it well as it paints a crystal-clear picture in your mind of this organization’s focus.
Education: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson University—Because Curiosity Knows No Age Limit
The Osher Institute’s tagline is both poignant and emphatic. It is a definitive and positive statement on seniors’ characteristics and capabilities, likely to engage the very seniors who are prime prospects for participating in the Institute’s learning opportunities.
Employment & Workforce Development: Volunteer Blind Industries—Our Vision Does Not Require Sight
Volunteer Blind Industries’ tagline surprises with its play on the word “vision.” This tagline makes the organization’s focus clear in a concise and compelling way, with a touch of inspiration.
Environment & Animals: Save the Strays Animal Rescue—Finding good homes for great dogs
Working smoothly in concert with the organization’s name, this tagline conveys the essence of Save the Strays’ impact. Our judge for this tagline category called this tagline “emotional catnip for every dog lover.”
In fact, she was so moved by this tagline that she went to the organization’s website to learn more, and ended up making a donation. That’s tagline success.
Faith-Based & Spiritual Development: Religions for Peace—Different Faiths, Common Action.
This tagline’s impact is based in its clever use of contrast and comparison. It clarifies what Religions for Peace does, and how it works, in just four words. Powerful!
Grantmaking: Greater Menomonie Area Community Foundation—Connecting People Who Care…With Causes That Matter
The Community Foundation’s tagline emphasizes the value it adds to giving, while clearly educating those who don’t know it on its role in the region.
Although we’ve heard from a few other community foundations that use this same tagline, that fact alone doesn’t counteract its impact. One key criterion for a high-impact tagline is that it isn’t used by other organizations hoping to engage the same target audiences. Since community foundations serve specific regions, that criterion is met.
Health & Sciences: United Hospice of Rockland, Inc. (UHR)—When time matters most.
UHR’s powerful tagline is a heart-stirring message that’s hard to forget. This tagline works because it is so simple, yet profound.
Human Services: Canine Companions for Independence (CCI)—Help is a four-legged word
This tagline tells the story in a style that is honest, compassionate and smart. The play on words works here because it catches you a bit off guard and gets you thinking about what CCI actually does.
International, Foreign Affairs & National Security: Episcopal Relief & Development—Healing a hurting world
This brief tagline quickly highlights the way in which Episcopal Relief & Development approaches its work, as it motivates compassion and a desire to learn more. It’s straightforward but emotional, a proven combo for taglines that connect.
Library: Edmonton Public Library—Spread the words.
Edmonton Public Library’s tagline is another example of effective surprise as a familiar saying takes an unexpected turn. Who would have thought that one little “s” could make a tagline sing—and zing?
Other: Charity Navigator—Your Guide To Intelligent Giving
This tagline is unique and clear to its mission, and conveys an air of wisdom and refinement.
You immediately sense via the word “Guide” that the Charity Navigator service is an asset to you. The phrase “Intelligent Giving” feeds egos (who doesn’t want to be intelligent?) while it underscores the difficulty in wading through information to make an informed and wise giving choice.