The Happy Marriage of Branding & Fundraising

Tammy Zonker and R. Trent Thompson’s Bridge Conference session title did not mince words: Brand + Philanthropy = Tripled Philanthropy in Three Years. Their session told the story of how they transformed the brand and grew revenues for The Children’s Center in Detroit, Michigan.

Here are 4 tips from their presentation that you can use at your organization:

  1. Be future focused. As the presenters said, “people applaud the best, but they fund the future.” Just because your organization is good at what it does, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed funding. Painting a picture for donors of how the future will be better because of your organization is paramount. One question Impact often asks its clients is, how would the world look different if your organization didn’t exist? It gets to heart of your impact on the world—and that moves donors to give.
  2. Create a brand persona. Many nonprofits build donor personas as a way to define their audiences and create content and strategies around their best prospects. But it can be fun to think about what your nonprofit’s persona might be. What would it look like if it was a person? It’s a good exercise when thinking about your brand. Brainstorm what your org’s name, age, motivations, accomplishments, and frustrations would be.
  3. Create a messaging map. “Align and empower the staff to talk about their work in a consistent manner,” as the presenters said. By creating a one-page fact sheet that consolidates your organization’s messaging, you empower everyone to sing from the same song sheet. My favorite element of The Children’s Center’s messaging map was the easily shareable story, because not everyone can think of a good story off-the-cuff.
  4. Repurpose the good stuff. When you write articles for your newsletter, reuse them on your blog, or vice-versa.

Most of all, remember that your re-branding is not just for your organization, it’s for your donors!

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