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 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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I’d like to invite you to joining me in my new intensive, small group training program on message development, the Tagline Focus Project (TFP).

Just 5 seats left — program starts November 15

You’ll immerse yourself in getting to know your audiences and learning how to craft messages that engage them via small group trainings and one-to-one coaching and critiques—working from the comfort and convenience of your own desk.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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It takes a team to create great messaging.

As I prepare to begin the  Tagline Focus Project (TFP) program on November 15, many of you have gotten in touch with questions. And you’ve reminded me how common it is to feel isolated and overwhelmed by the challenge to create messages that connect for our organizations.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to working with a small group of nonprofit communicators (no more than 12) like you this fall, leading them through this immersion program to learn how to develop messages collaboratively—with me, the other program participants, and their colleagues and external audiences. READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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It takes a team to create great messaging.

As I get ready to launch our first Tagline Focus Project (TFP) program on July 6, many of you have gotten in touch to discuss it with me. And you’ve reminded me how common it is to feel isolated and overwhelmed by the challenge to create messages that connect for our organizations.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

That’s one of the reasons I’m so looking forward to working with a small group of nonprofit communicators (no more than 10) like you this summer, leading them through this immersion program to learn how to develop messages collaboratively—with me, the other program participants, and their colleagues and external audiences.

That’s the only path to effective messaging, and one far more satisfying than trying to go it alone.

This action-oriented program is designed specifically to help you and your colleagues get the job done and do it well. All you need to do is participate actively in the Tagline Focus Project and complete the assignments to develop a tagline that will engage your base and motivate them to act.

You’ll learn to:

  • Understand your audiences’ wants and values better, so you know how to connect with them.
  • Use audience feedback to pinpoint the right messaging focus.
  • Gain the insights and support of your colleagues.
  • Shape the ingredients of your analysis, craft the right tagline and roll it out to your audience.
  • Build the skills to develop all the messages you need for your organization (the tagline is simply the messaging element we focus on in the program).
  • Plus, get access to all of the templates, checklists, worksheets, models and resources included in the Great Nonprofit Messages Toolkit that you’ll get with Tagline Focus Project participation.

Give It a Try

We’re starting on July 6, so if you’re interested in using this summer to vastly improve your organization’s messaging, I encourage you to go ahead and register today for the Tagline Focus Project.

We already have a rich mix of participants, communicators that work in organizations as varied as a state agricultural extension agency, a regional affiliate of one of the largest and most active national organizations there is, and a west coast community foundation. Just a few seats remain.

I hope we’ll get the chance to work together on this.

All the best,



P.S. My aim for this program is to deliver substantial value both to your organization and its messaging, and to you as a professional. Completing the program will vastly enhance your skill set as a nonprofit communications professional.

Learn more here.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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event taglinesThe 2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards are open and waiting for your entry! But let me invite you to enter more than just your organizational tagline…

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

I’ve heard from a few of you wondering what I mean by special event taglines. But 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 special event tagline. And the MS Society does a fantastic job in this series of three event taglines for its ride and walks.

Here are two more examples, from much smaller organizations, that clearly differentiate their special events.

  • The Literary Feast – An evening to nourish you mind, body and soul (from the Morrin Society)
  • LA Marathon – Start 2011 on the “Write” Foot (from Team Story Project)

Enter your tagline(s) today! Deadline is July 28 and I don’t want you to miss this opportunity to learn and be recognized for your great work.

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Taglines | 0 comments
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nonprofit taglineQ: We’re trying to finalize our nonprofit tagline, but need your help.

Your nonprofit tagline report has been incredibly helpful.  But we’ve been trying to finalize  a new tagline here at Seattle Central Community College for over a year now!

Here are a few that we’ve come up with. I’d appreciate your thoughts:

  • Seattle Central fits youBased in large part on results from student/staff/faculty focus groups we conducted and is taken directly from a student quote. I’m hesitant to use this because one of your the tagline “don’ts” is repeating part of the organization’s name.

— Judy Kitzman, Communications Specialist

A. You’re right to pick up on that don’t, Judy, as repeating your organization’s name in your tagline IS a waste of messaging real estate, especially when the other words don’t differentiate your organization (and you are using just four words).

One thing in particular we would like to do is set Seattle Central apart geographically from other colleges –  we’re the only downtown community college campus and students love our urban location and diverse campus.

With that in mind, here are two options we’ve developed. I’m very interested in your feedback here:

  • The college on Capitol Hill.
  • Your college. Your future.

A: Judy, these are going in the right direction. But I don’t think either one does it: Location alone isn’t enough to motivate someone to matriculate, although diversity and/or a successful future may be. But put those concepts together and you’re far likelier to motivate prospective student interest:

Seattle Central Community College
Your future starts on Capitol Hill

This is just a quick draft Judy, that needs polishing, but take it from here!

If you have suggestions for Judy, please post them in Comments below.

Nancy Schwartz in Taglines | 4 comments
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2010 Nonprofit Tagline AwardsRosemary Roussil, Development Officer at the Metropolitan Washington Ear, emailed me yesterday. She  was eager to know if we were running a 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards Program.

Rosemary had perfect timing, as I was just finalizing the 2010 awards program and report schedule… I’m pleased to tell you that we’ll be opening up this year’s awards for entry in late June.  It’s an annual program now, especially because in these times your tagline is more important than ever — it’s the hands-down briefest and most effective way to communicate your organization’s identity and value.

Last year’s 1,350 award entries were a bounty of skillful messaging and I expect these year’s entries to be equally strong.  Take a look at the 2009 nonprofit tagline award winners; they are powerful models for your organization’s tagline (and overall messaging).

I’m excited about this year’s awards program. We’ll be introducing a couple of new award categories – to be announced at awards launch – and welcoming a stellar panel of judges who will select the tagline finalists to be voted on.

To ensure you hear when the awards are open for business, join the Getting Attention e-update list today. I’m looking forward to opening day – just a few weeks away.

P.S. Thanks Rosemary, for nudging me to set the stage!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Taglines | 0 comments
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Nonprofit MarketingI’m so proud of my friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller for crafting the excellent Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause (partner link). And Kivi’s been gracious enough to make Getting Attention the first stop on her virtual book tour.

I recommend you purchase the book today. Here’s why:  It’s a source every time-strapped communicator can count on time and time again – comprehensive, accessible and smart. When you buy the book before midnight tonight (June 1, 2010) and forward your receipt to [email protected], you’ll be entered to win a free Getting Attention tagline review. You’ll also be entered into a drawing on Friday for several All-Access Passes to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide Webinar Series.

Here’s a small taste of Kivi’s practical nonprofit marketing advice…

“Where do I begin?”

That’s hands down the most frequently-asked question that nonprofit communicators ask consultants like Nancy and me.

Like any good consultant (or therapist), I always respond with a question of my own: What is it that you want people to do?

I can usually tell how long – and difficult – the conversation will be based on the answer I get. Responses like these signal a long conversation ahead:

  • “We want them to support . . .”
  • “We want them to care about . . . ”
  • “We want them to understand . . . ”

The problem with responses like these is that there isn’t any specific action involved. No one is doing anything. So I ask the same question again, but using the language from the response.

  • What does someone do when they are supporting you?
  • What does someone do to show they care?
  • What does someone do when they understand?

Now, we start to get to more specific responses, like

  • “Give us money.”
  • “Call their legislator.”
  • “Talk to their children about it.”

With these more specific actions as our goals, we’re equipped to shape a nonprofit marketing strategy. The conversation continues by discussing

  • Who needs to take these actions (helps us define the target audience)
  • What will motivate them to act (aids in creating a powerful message)
  • How and where to reach them (guides us in channel selection).

Writing an email newsletter or updating your Facebook page may end up as key elements of your strategy, but tactics aren’t the place to start . Instead, take some time – even just five minutes of quiet behind a closed door – to sort through these questions. That’s where to begin.

You’ll find much more in The Nonprofit Marketing Guide! Thanks, Kivi.

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing (and video) success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Recommended Resources | 2 comments
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nonprofit tagline reportQ: Can we use both a tagline and slogan for our nonprofit?

Our organization uses a three-word slogan (Access. Acquire. Empower.) and a tagline (Using Technology to Narrow Societal Gaps). And I have two questions for you.

1. Is it overkill to use a slogan and a tagline? Is that a nonprofit marketing don’t?

  • The slogan is important for our mission statement, which is based on those three words.
  • The tagline gives a better idea of what we do.

2. What’s the solution?

  • We’ve been toying with the idea of getting rid of one or the other, or making a “mish-mash” of the two:  Access to technology. Acquire knowledge/skills. Empower people.
  • We know this isn’t very powerful.

–Ephraim Geffen, Machshava Tova, Israel


A: Dear Ephraim, using two taglines is confusing. Stop!

Your instinct that something is off with your nonprofit messaging approach is correct.


There’s really no difference between a slogan and a tagline.  So your nonprofit is currently using two taglines, which is incredibly confusing to your target audience. It’s tops the list of nonprofit marketing don’ts.

The last thing any nonprofit communicator wants to do is to confuse his audience. Because confusion makes people want to flee; the absolute opposite of engagement.

Instead, take the time to develop a single, clear tagline — eight words or less–they conveys the essence of your organization’s value. I don’t know the meaning of your organizational name, but if the name doesn’t say what you do, the tagline should include some description.

It is NOT important that your tagline mirrors the words in your mission statement (which is internally oriented).  What you can do to convey those ideas is to integrate the language and concepts into your positioning statement — the one to three sentences you use to convey your organization’s focus, impact and unique value to the communities you serve.

But start with your tagline. You’ll find all the guidance you need to shape a powerful one in the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Report (download link below).

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Taglines | 0 comments
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As the nonprofit landscape gets increasingly complex and your org reaches out and  is discussed on infinite communications channels, it’s more important than ever to brand your organization, programs and campaigns.

But with the way nonprofit communications is expanding at lightning speed, how can you ensure everyone in your organization is speaking with the same voice? When you do so – conveying credibility and value in a way that’s easy to remember and repeat – you’ll build long-lasting relationships with donors, volunteers, members, the media, clients, and more. But it’s more challenging than ever in our 2.0 world.

Please register right now to join me and Big Duck’s Sarah Durham, author of Brandraising, Tuesday,  May 18th, 1pm eastern to learn how to tackle this challenge. Thanks much to Network for Good for sponsoring this no-charge discussion.


  1. Build your understanding of what a brand is, what branding takes and how it helps your build strong relationships.
  2. Sharpen your brand outline to ensure you stand out, generating action and building loyalty and express it consistently across channels.
  3. Learn how to train your staff, volunteers and base to carry your brand forward in their own social networking, activism or just plain socializing via charity badge

P.S. Don’t worry if you can’t participate live or if you’re reading this way past the live call: Register here to receive an mp3 recording and text transcript. Find out more here.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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