nonprofit taglines

Last week I had the opportunity to join three fantastic colleagues to share guidance on this crucial nonprofit marketing challenge at #11NTC (NTEN’s annual conference). And I want to share that guidance with you.

What a pleasure to work with Kivi Leroux Miller of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com; Karen Secular, Communications Director at the Arnold P. Gold Foundation; and Tara Collins, Communications Director at the Watershed Agricultural Council! And what a thrill to have so many focused, sharp, engaged session participants asking questions and sharing their wisdom.

Weaving your loose ends together is a prerequisite to your nonprofit marketing success but remains, for so many of you, a stubborn barrier. Here are two key tools we shared at the session; they are a huge help in getting started with your weaving:

Here are 12 steps to weaving a tight, powerful marketing plan, highlighted by session participants via Twitter:

  1. Moving marketing from support function to a strategic player is the game changer. (@stacyjclinton)
  2. Stop acting as the in-house marketing agency at your org, and take control of the situation (@egratto) A.K.A., “Stop taking the tickets and start driving the bus,” as Tara says.
  3. Only 16% of nonprofits have marketing plans. You need one to make the move to strategic player. (@ksuzj)
  4. A marketing plan is essential because it directs your focus and keeps you on a clearly defined path. (@elimcgon)
  5. However, marketing planning is ongoing series of refining and understanding. Don’t plan more than 1 year out. (@volmatch) Then break it down further to 3-month chunks @wendymarinaccio)
  6. Rule of 3: Identify no more than 3 target audiences for your messages or you risk diffusing your efforts. (@stacydyer)
  7. Meet your audiences where they are (channels and perspectives) (@weinrichc)
  8. Your brand is not just “clothes you wear” (e.g., logo and colors) It’s your organization’s whole personality-the way you walk & talk. (@linzbilks)
  9. Put all of your marketing material on a table; see if there is consistency through ’em (@weinrichc)
  10. Unless your blog is supporting your brand or a call to action it’s just words. (@ksuzj)
  11. Vital part of mktg planning is outlining every single task down to the nitty gritty – who is doing what when (@volmatch)
  12. Failures are what our successes are built on. (@mkdm, @andystitt829)

If you don’t have a plan, or have one that lives in your head or hopes, is just notes, not formalized and approved, or simply not working, get on it right now! It’ll change your life, and your marketing impact.

Please let me know what’s getting in your way, and I’ll give you some recommendations for pushing through!

For more insights from the session, review the slide deck and crowdsourced notes.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more now–the workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Flickr: dhWhat’s the biggest marketing lesson you learned (or re-learned) in 2010? Please let me know by  midnight, Thursday, Dec. 24 Friday, Dec. 17!

I’ll summarize the trends, and share the lessons submitted by you and your colleagues, in the 2011 Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom guide (hat tip to Marketing Sherpa). You’ll get a free copy when you share your biggest lesson learned!

So share it now! It could be anything tactical or strategic, simple or complex. Here are a few of the submissions we’ve received:

  • Make professional development and continuing learning a priority – and protect the time.
  • When pricing out an item or service, call at least three vendors. This may take a few more minutes of your time, but you will save hundreds, even thousands of dollars. We’ve been able to save so much money on production costs for printing, photography and web design, by taking the time to incorporate this.
  • Test test test… before any campaign gets launched. Given the complexity of the tools today, and the speed with which we invariably put things together, errors do get made and you want to be the one to find them, not the people you’re hoping to engage!

Whatever comes to mind as a lesson or key principle learned—either from hard knocks or new found success. Please take one minute to share your thoughts and insights now. Thanks so much!

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

Nancy Schwartz in Surveys | 2 comments
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Uniting Girls to Change the World
girls fundraising & empowerment program

Because There’s No Excuse for Abuse
domestic abuse prevention services

Your Lake. Love it or smell it. lake water quality exhibit
Stop and Think abstinence education program
Life.Support. family services program

The 2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards are open and I want to invite you to enter more than just your organizational tagline…

This year’s awards program has been expanded from organizational taglines (awards for the best in each of 13 sectors – from human services to libraries) with awards for the best taglines for nonprofit programs, fundraising campaigns and special events. So you can enter up to four separate taglines today.

I’ve heard from a few of you wondering what I mean by program (that includes products and services too) taglines. But you can see from the examples above that they’re out there and they work! What’s easier to plug into a Facebook status update or mention in a call with a friend than a tagline for the program you’re participating in, supporting or volunteering with.

Enter your tagline(s) today! The deadline is July 28

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Branding and Messages, Taglines | 4 comments
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13 Nonprofits Honored for Outstanding Taglines Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job Pulls Top Honors for Homeboy Industries A nonprofit’s tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate its identity and impact. 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 annual Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards program was designed to address this missed opportunity, and guide nonprofits to craft an effective tagline.  This year’s winners were selected from 60 finalists drawn from 1,702
nonprofit taglines submitted to the 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition. More than 4,800 nonprofit professionals cast votes in the final selection round.

Winning taglines are featured in just-published 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report. The free report also features:
•    The 10 Have-Tos for Successful Taglines
•    The 7 Deadly Sins – What not to do
•    Over 2,500 Nonprofit Tagline Examples to put to work for tagline brainstorming.

Download your free copy of the Tagline Report now!

These 2009 award winners demonstrate how powerful taglines can work as a first step in branding or as a highly-effective tool to refresh a nonprofit’s messaging, emphasize its commitment to its work and/or revive tired positioning:

Arts & Culture: Big Sky. Big Land. Big History. —Montana Historical Society
The Montana Historical Society takes its state’s most elemental and distinctive characteristics (Big Sky, Big Land) and deftly melds them with its mission in a way that generates excitement. The result is a tagline with punch and focus. Also, a big hit with voters.

Associations: Building community deep in the hearts of Texans —TexasNonprofits
TexasNonprofits’ tagline tweaks the title of an iconic American popular song from the 1940s and brilliantly connects it to the spirit, passion and mission of the state’s citizenry. A great example of how word play works in a tagline.

Civic Benefit:
Holding Power Accountable —Common Cause
Common Cause’s tagline leaves no doubt about the organization’s mission, unique value and commitment. It’s definitive, with a powerful economy of words. An excellent example of the tagline clarifying the nonprofit’s focus, when the organization’s name alone doesn’t do so.

Education: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste® —UNCF -The United Negro College Fund
This 38-year-old tagline from UNCF still rings strong. It elegantly delivers its straight up, powerful message. When your tagline is the boiled-down essence of your argument for support, you’ve achieved tagline bliss. That’s why this one is a classic.

Environment & Animals: Because the earth needs a good lawyer —Earthjustice
Earthjustice capitalizes on what people do understand – that a lawyer protects rights – and uses that framework to dramatically position its role and impact in the environmental movement. And it does so with humor. If your tagline makes people smile or light up, without stepping on your message, then you’ve made an emotional connection…Bravo.

Grantmaking: If you want to be remembered, do something memorable. —The Cleveland Foundation
It’s a rare tagline that manages to recruit people to its cause both unabashedly and effectively. That’s exactly what The Cleveland Foundation pulls off here. Clear, concise, and…memorable! A model for any organization promoting philanthropy.

Health & Sciences:
Finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to.© —PA Breast Cancer Coalition
The PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s tagline is both emphatic and poignant. It strikes a deep emotional chord, and conveys the focus and impact of its work without being overly sentimental. “Finding a cure,” a highly used phrase for health organizations, is bolstered here by the appeal to solve a problem now so future generations won’t suffer from it.

Human Services: Filling pantries. Filling lives. —Houston Food Bank
With simple but effective use of word repetition, the Houston Food Bank clarifies its work and impact. It delivers on two distinct levels—the literal act of putting food on people’s shelves and the emotional payoff to donors and volunteers. An excellent example of a mission-driven tagline.

International, Foreign Affairs & National Security: Send a Net. Save a Life. —Nothing But Nets
Short, punchy and laser-sharp, the Nothing But Nets tagline connects the action with the outcome. It’s inspirational in the simplicity of its message and its reason for existing. The kind of tagline nonprofits should model.

Jobs & Workforce Development:
Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job —Homeboy Industries
Homeboy Industries’ tagline is a mini-masterpiece, telling a memorable story in just seven words. It stops you in your tracks, makes you want to learn more and sticks with you afterwards. That’s the kind of potent nonprofit messaging every organization desires.

Media: Telling stories that make a difference —Barefoot Workshops
If your organization’s name is vague, it’s critical that your tagline be distinct. Barefoot Workshops’ tagline sums up the transformative power of stories to create change in people and their communities, so clarifying the organization’s focus. Saved by the tagline!

Religion & Spiritual Development: Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. —The people of The United Methodist Church
The work of religious organizations often operates on several planes at once — a challenge for any organization and its messaging. Here, The people of The United Methodist Church delivers a tagline trinity that supports its applied faith mission and is warm, enthusiastic and embracing.

Other: A head for business. A heart for the world. —SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise)
If an organization’s identity contains within it a distinct contrast between its key characteristics, that’s often good tagline material. Here, SIFE surprises with its crystal-clear tagline that not only conveys what’s unique about it but also capitalizes on the contrast between profit and compassion.

P.S. The fastest path to shaping a powerful tagline for your organization is downloading your free copy of the 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report today!

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Taglines | 4 comments
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