nonprofit tagline awards

I’m thrilled to launch the Tagline Focus Project, designed to demolish a major barrier to your organization’s marketing success — a weak tagline, or the lack of one altogether.

Now you can fix this too-common problem in less than two months, with hands-on guidance from me as I lead you through an 11-step tagline development process — with guaranteed results. I’ve helped organizations like yours to solve this problem dozens of times.

You’ll finish the Tagline Focus Project with a polished, relevant tagline for your organization, plus key insights into your target audiences’ wants and values–so you can connect with them more effectively — and the messaging skills you need to create more strong messages for your organization and programs.

Learn more now. Seats are limited to a maximum of 10, and the program starts July 6.

Nancy Schwartz in Taglines | 0 comments
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When we announced the winners of this year’s Nonprofit Tagline Awards (The Taggies), a bit of a debate unfolded about the connection between taglines and strategy.

Fundraiser and blogger Chuck English asserted that a tagline is nothing but a tool, and that approaching it otherwise diverts organizations from the critical work of strategy.

In response, Katya Andresen, COO at Network for Good, commented, “Taglines are a great test of your strategy. You can’t have a clear tagline if you don’t have a clear sense of 1) your mission; 2) what is special about your organization; and 3) what your audience cares about.”

I couldn’t agree more with Katya. And I was glad to see Chuck raise the issue. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting the Nonprofit Tagline Awards program, it’s that most nonprofits misunderstand or overlook the power and importance of taglines and other key messages, and the critical role they play in strategy.

Here’s what I see as the vital relationship an organization’s messages and its strategy. This bridge may well be the eye-opener that enables you to meet your messaging goals!

Please add your thoughts to the conversation here.

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the new 2011 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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An amazing opportunity came my way this year! I was invited to New Zealand to keynote a first-time conference for charities and associations, focused solely on marketing.

So off I went — along with my husband and almost-8-year-old daughter Charlotte — to inspire and guide Kiwis striving to meet many of the same marketing goals as we are in the U.S. In addition to the keynote, I led a small group of passionate nonprofit marketers in crafting their marketing plans and elevator pitch.

Beyond the beauty of the land,the Kiwi warmth, and the thrill of exploring a place for the first time, there was a wonderful bonus for me in having (or taking?) the luxury of diving deep into thought to shape my five hours of content.

Messaging that connects is my passion. I believe strongly that your organization crafts powerful messages that do connect, you’ll do much better at motivating your community to act. So to prepare, I absorbed (or re-absorbed, in some cases) this set of 11 incredible resources, which helped me push myself way beyond what I knew already.

The process was exhilarating (it’s tough to get time out from the to-do list) both intellectually and creatively. It was like a spa for my nonprofit marketing mind and I now have many new ideas to try, fresh ways of looking at what I thought I knew cold and many conversations I want to have.

Dig into any of these resources to learn about how our wants, decisions and responses work, and how to shape your messages to meet those patterns:

  1. 2011 Edelman Trust Barometer
  2. Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives, George Lakoff
  3. How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer
  4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert B. Cialdini
  5. Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath
  6. Neuromarketing (blog), Roger Dooley
  7. Numbed by Numbers (article), Paul Slovic
  8. Story Telling as Best Practice, Andy Goodman
  9. The Upside of Irrationality, Dan Ariely
  10. Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear, Dr. Frank Luntz

What should I dive into next? Please share resources that have been a spa for your nonprofit marketing mind.

Note: The book hyperlinks are partner links.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Rush-it-out-marketingMea culpa.

Last week was a big one as I released our all-new, fully-searchable database of 4,800+ nonprofit taglines.

We had worked on the tagline database for months and months, shaping it from a long list into a high-value, easy- and quick-to-search resource for nonprofit message development. I was so excited to launch it and the fully-updated 2011 Nonprofit Tagline Report.

Blinded by that excitement, I didn’t go through my usual process of brainstorming the release strategy with the Getting team. Instead, I rushed out the release email to Getting Attention e-news subscribers and those who had registered for the database.  Mea culpa.

Here are the five critical lessons I learned by falling into the rush-it-out marketing trap:

1) Ask audiences to execute a single, clear action, nothing more

  • I asked email readers to do two things: 1) To use the direct link to resources I provided for their own use (since they had already subscribed or registered) and 2) to pass on a second link I provided to colleagues.
  • They were confused, so didn’t act at all.

2) Format a special announcement in a distinct way, to herald that it’s not your regular outreach

  • I reached out via the regular e-news format and folks thought they were getting just another issue.
  • The re-do will be all text, with no graphic header — a format that I typically use for major launches and will be recognized at a glance as “something different.”

3) Review analytics within an hour or two: they can provide almost-instant feedback and direct your next steps

  • I discovered the problem — that e-news subscribers were clicking the link meant for their colleagues, which required them to provide their name and email — when I checked our analytics a couple of hours after sending the announcement.
  • It was clear that folks were confused by the two links they were given, and were clicking the one that required them to subscribe again (a barrier to getting right to the database and report).

4) Roll out a clear, brief re-launch announcement shortly thereafterFocus on the information, not the error.

5) Every major launch must be discussed team wide, and tested by a few objective individuals

Share your marketing lesson learned by December 18, and a get a free copy of the 2011 Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom Guide!

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s messaging with the all-new Nonprofit Tagline Database and 2011 Tagline Report.

Nancy Schwartz in Strategy | 4 comments
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2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards from on Vimeo.

Congrats to the organizations behind the winning taglines, reviewed in this brief video. The taglines were selected by more than 6,100 voters from 70 finalists, identified by our expert panel of judges.

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.

These winning taglines are terrific ingredients in your own branding and marketing brainstorming, and I’ll be sharing the stories behind them in the weeks to come.

Register now for free access to the 2011 Nonprofit Tagline Report and the All-New Online Tagline Database. The report and database, to be released in late fall 2010, 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.

Don’t miss this vital and free nonprofit marketing resource – register now.

NOTE: Getting Attention e-news subscribers will automatically receive the report and database access.

P.S. Thanks so much to our generous sponsor, See3, for producing the winners video for us. The See3 team is an absolute pleasure to work with.

Nancy Schwartz in Taglines | 2 comments
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Great Words Promoting Good Causes

Vote now (but just once) for the 2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards. Polls close Wed., 10/6 at midnight.

Voting will:

  • Sharpen your understanding of what works in nonprofit communications.
  • Inform and inspire your organization’s messaging.
  • Give you the chance to register for the free 2011 Nonprofit Tagline Report and online database with more than 4,800 tagline examples.

The 70 finalists were selected from over 2,700 tagline entries. Now it’s your turn to choose the best.

More than 5,600 of your peers have voted already. Here’s what some of them have to say:

  • “Great examples of the struggle to create taglines with meaning.”
  • “By voting, I learned how to make our tagline better.”
  • “Thank you for doing this. Helping nonprofit boards understand
    the power of marketing is difficult.  When you have excellence to point to, it helps!”

Vote now! Less than 48 hours left to do so.

P.S. Thanks again to those of you who have already voted!

Nancy Schwartz in Taglines | 1 comment
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Wordworker Nancy FriedmanI’m pleased to introduce you to guest blogger Nancy Friedman, chief wordworker of Wordworking. Nancy is a name developer, corporate copywriter, recovering journalist and a most engaging blogger at Fritinancy. She’s my latest  guests in a periodic series of posts from other authors, and I’m pleased to add her perspective to the mix.

About 15 years ago I did some consulting for a regional office of the American Cancer Society, which raises money for cancer research and education. The society’s logo, then as now, was a stylized caduceus—a short winged rod entwined by two serpents—that in modern times has been appropriated as a symbol of the medical profession. The caduceus was originally associated with Hermes, the Greek god of messengers, thieves, travelers, and border crossings—but not of medicine. The traditional medical symbol in ancient times was the rod of Asclepius: a staff entwined by a single serpent. Asclepius, a son of Apollo, was associated with medicine and healing.

Someone at the American Cancer Society evidently looked at the caduceus and saw not a rod or a staff but a weapon—a sword, to be specific. And from that mistaken observation, based on a mistaken conflation of two Greek symbols, came the national organization’s slogan: “There’s Nothing Mightier Than the Sword.”

My consulting work for the society had nothing to do with slogan development, but I couldn’t help myself. That slogan really, really bothered me.

I remember a conversation—perplexed on my end, earnest on the client’s end—about the logic of this phrase. The pen! I had to restrain myself from shouting. The pen is mightier than the sword!* “No, no,” the client said soothingly. “The sword really is the mightiest!”

Really? Besides the pen, I can think of several things that are mightier than the sword: the flamethrower, the catapult, the poison gas, the rocket grenade, and the thermonuclear device. Just for starters.

And, come to think, cancer itself often proves to be mightier than the sword, if by “sword” you mean “scalpel” and if by “cancer” you mean “war.”

Well, that was then. My consulting work went smoothly enough. Years passed. And now I see that the ACS has a different slogan: “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays.” A little confusing out of context, and probably disappointing to your local six-year-old, but definitely a step up from that mighty sword.

For my part, I’m working now with a different medical organization on naming and slogan development, so I’ve been thinking once again about the challenges of nonprofit branding. In a stroke of timely good fortune, last weekend I discovered the Getting Attention blog and the annual Nonprofit Tagline Awards contest.

You can read about the 2009 winners here and download the free 121-page report about them here. And go here to vote for the most effective taglines of 2010.

The taglines on this year’s ballot have been winnowed down from more than 2,700 entrants. About the original field, Nancy Schwartz writes:

I have to tell you that although some of the taglines entered work well (roughly 30%), most do not. The reasons why are varied, from “they make no sense” to “they make sense, but don’t make an impact.” Whatever the reason, the end result is a highly used message that’s not doing its job for your organization.

Only a 30 percent success rate? Surely we can do better. In her 2009 report, Schwartz offers 10 “have-tos” for creating powerful taglines. They include “Must convey your nonprofit’s or program’s impact or value,” “Must be authentic,” “Must be broadly and easily accessible and memorable, avoiding jargon and acronyms,” and “Must be specific to your organization, not easily used by another nonprofit reaching out to the same audiences.” That last point is especially significant: Too many of this year’s entrants (yes, even the finalists) are interchangeable.

On the bright side, only one tagline finalist includes the word “passion.” An encouraging sign!


About the title of this post: “Saving the X, One Y at a Time” is a slogan snowclone, or sloganclone. Read more about this slogan formula and others in my 2007 post, “Snowclones with a Twist.

* “The pen is mightier than the sword” was coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the Victorian novelist who is also famous for the opening line “It was a dark and stormy night.” There’s an annual bad-writing contest named in honor of Bulwer-Lytton.

P.S. Vote now to build your messaging skills by selecting the best in class in the 2010 Taggies — the third annual Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition. It’s a fun project that will help nonprofits in all fields discover what works, and why.

Guest Blogger in Branding and Messages, Taglines | 0 comments
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Vote-2010-Nonprofit-Tagline-AwardsGreat Words Promoting Good Causes

Vote now for the winners of the 2010 Taggies — the 3rd Annual Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards.

Seventy tagline finalists have been carefully culled from the more than 2,700 taglines entries from 1,700 nonprofit organizations in 13 vertical sectors from health to civic benefit.

This year,  for the first time, voters will select program, fundraising and special event tagline award winners, in addition to the strongest organizational taglines. The addition of these three new tagline types gives more organizations a chance to showcase their best efforts to engage their target audiences.

1,200 of your peers have already voted in the last week! Now it’s your turn to select the best!

Voting will sharpen your understanding of what works and what doesn’t messaging wise, and inform and inspire your organization’s communications.

Here’s what one early voter says: “What I learned most via voting is what makes the difference between effective and ineffective language,” says Susan Hanson, senior lecturer in English, Texas State University.  “The process strongly reinforced my thinking on the value of simplicity and conciseness in nonprofit messaging.”

Vote now! Polls close at midnight Wed., October 6.

The 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards program is made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of Blackbaud, Event360, Eventbrite and See3 Communications.

P.S. Subscribe now to the Getting Attention e-update to be the first to to get your free copy of the 2011 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report (due in late fall), filled with best practices and trends plus access to the new online database of over 4,800 nonprofit taglines.

You’ll start building your marketing skills now via the e-newsletter, and learn more about crafting effective taglines with the report and database. Subscribe today!

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Branding and Messages, Taglines | 0 comments
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nonprofit taglinesI’m thrilled to tell you that more than 2,700 taglines — of four types from nonprofit organizations in 13 different categories from health to civic benefit — were entered in the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards . That’s:

  • 1,544 organizational taglines
  • 510 program/service/product taglines
  • 393 fundraising campaign taglines
  • 385 special event taglines.

Our vetting of the taglines began as soon as entries closed on July 28.  First the team selected semi-finalists based on these nonprofit tagline effectiveness criteria.  Next, our dedicated nonprofit tagline award judges panel selected the 70 finalists from that group.

These finalists are the taglines up for awards! Voting for the 17 winners — one organizational tagline in each of 13 categories; one tagline in each of the fundraising and event types; and two in the program tagline type due to the large number of entries — will open in early September.

I’ll keep you posted on the voting — the more voters, the more accurate the results!

Thanks so much for spreading the word, for entering and to our fantastic judges for their time and effort!

P.S. I have to tell you that although some of the taglines entered work well (roughly 30%), most do not. The reasons why are varied, from “they make no sense” to “they make sense, but don’t make an impact.” Whatever the reason,  the end result is a highly-used message that’s not doing its job for your organization.

That’s solvable but a call to action you have to heed. Many of you need to revise your tagline, or develop a new one altogether.The fully-revised 2010 Nonprofit Tagline report and first-time searchable online tagline database will be a great help in making the most of the few words that comprise your tagline .

Make sure you’re in the first wave to get these 2010 tagline resources by downloading the 2009 report now. It’ll give you a great head start and you’ll be at the top of the email list come November!

The 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards program is made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of Blackbaud, Event360, Eventbrite and See3 Communications.

P. S. Follow the tagline award news on Twitter via the hashtag #taggies

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Taglines | 0 comments
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Nonprofit-Tagline-Awards-2010Update – July 29 – Nonprofit Tagline Award entries are now closed.  Please enter next year!

Your nonprofit could be a 2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Award winner! But only if you enter your organizational, fundraising campaign, program/service and/or special event taglines by midnight tonight.

And, even if you don’t win this time round, all entrants will be invited to join me this fall in a game-changing webinar: How to Build Leadership Support for Critical Marketing Projects.

Take 3 minutes now to enter your nonprofit taglines today. Here’s more information on the tagline awards program.

You’ve been fantastically enthusiastic about this year’s award program. For those of you who have already entered, your organizational, fundraising, program and/or special event taglines are of astounding quality.

I thank you for your interest, and for spreading the word.

Let me also thank you for your contribution to strengthening the nonprofit communications field! All taglines entered will be integrated into the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Database (will be online for the first time) and the updated 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Report.

Don’t miss this opportunity to enter. Today, until midnight,  is your last chance to enter your taglines.

All tagline entrants get a free copy of the report and access to the database when they are published in late fall! If you’d like a copy too, but you don’t want to enter your tagline, simply subscribe to the free Getting Attention e-update. That’ll ensure you’re on the list!

Enter your taglines today – or forever (till 2011) hold your peace!

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Taglines | 0 comments
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