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The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving



The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving

Jeff Brooks

ISBN: 978-1-118-58342-5 March 2014 256 Pages



Why commercial-style branding doesn't work for nonprofits—and what does

Taking its cue from for-profit corporations, the nonprofit world has increasingly turned to commercial-style branding to raise profiles and encourage giving. But it hasn't worked. Written by a longtime industry insider, this book argues that branding strategies borrowed from for-profit companies hasn't just failed, but has actually discouraged giving. But why does branding—a well-developed discipline with a history of commercial success—fail when applied to nonprofits? The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand + Website argues that commercial-style branding is the wrong tool applied in the wrong way to the wrong industry.

  • Offers a real-world fundraising strategies that work in the nonprofit world
  • Disabuses readers of the dangerous notion that commercial-style marketing works in the fundamentally different nonprofit world
  • Written by an industry insider with 25 years of experience raising funds for many of the most successful nonprofits in the world

Nonprofit fundraising is a fundamentally different world—financially, emotionally, and practically—than commercial marketing. Here, the author explains why commercial marketing strategies don't work and provides practical, experience-based alternatives that do.

Acknowledgments ix

About the Author xi

Introduction: How This Book Can Transform Your Fundraising xiii

PART ONE The Money-Losing Nonprofit Brand

How Branding Often Goes Wrong for Nonprofit Organizations

1 How and Why Commercial-Style Branding Can Torpedo Your Organization 3

Why the New Brand Didn’tWork 10

How Commercial Branding Works 13

Summary 17

2 Branding in the Real World 19

There Is a BetterWay to Brand 21

3 What Branding Work Can Do to Fundraising Revenue 25

If You Change Your Logo 28

If You Change Your Graphic Standards 29

If You Change Your Copy Standards 31

If You Change Your Organization’s Name 32

If You Change Your Cause Identification 35

4 We're Being Brandjacked: A Guide to Survival 41

Brandjacking Warning Sign 1: The New Brand Is Not Aimed at Your Donors 43

Brandjacking Warning Sign 2: The New Brand Requires You to Abandon Your Donors 44

Brandjacking Warning Sign 3: The Work Is Not Grounded in Donor Behavior 48

Brandjacking Warning Sign 4: The New Brand Describes Your Cause in a Symbolic Way 50

Brandjacking Warning Sign 5: The New Brand Requires Absolute Consistency 52

Brandjacking Warning Sign 6: The New Brand Is Design—and Little Else 53

5 Why Branding Matters, and Why It Makes No Difference 57

Aunt Edna 60

PART TWO Your Call to Action

How Your Cause Connects with Donors and Brings Your Brand into Their Lives

6 The Seven Elements of a Fundraising Offer 67

Element 1: A Problem 69

Element 2: A Solution 71

Element 3: Cost 74

Element 4: Urgency 75

Element 5: Donor Context 76

Element 6: Donor Benefits 81

Element 7: Emotion 82

7 Your Fundraising Offer from the Inside Out 89

A Fundraising Offer Is Specific 90

A Fundraising Offer Is Believable 95

A Fundraising Offer Is Bite-Sized for Donors and Flexible 97

A Fundraising Offer Has a Sense of Leverage 101

A Fundraising Offer Is Defensible 102

8 Great Fundraising Offers in the Real World 105

Child Sponsorship 105

Sponsorship Lite 106

Food Bank Leverage Offer 107

Shipping 107

Matching Funds 108

Catalog 109

PART THREE Your Fundraising Icon

The Image that Reminds Donors Why They Give to You

9 The Visual Foundation of Your Brand 113

Your Icon Has a Clear Focal Point 118

Your Icon Is a Person 119

Your Icon Is Focused on the Face 121

Your Icon Is One Person, Not a Group 122

Your Icon Is a Picture of Unmet Need 123

Your Icon Is a Photo, Not an Illustration 126

How I Lost My Perspective and Got It Back Again 127

10 How to Find and Refine Your Fundraising Icon 131

Step 1: Find a Hypothesis 133

Step 2: Put Aside Your Preferences and Winnow 134

Step 3: Use Direct-Response Testing 138

PART FOUR The Donor-Focused Nonprofit

How to Become Your Donors’ Favorite Cause

11 Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease? What Donors Need to Know 143

Five Ways Nonprofits Drive Away Their Donors 147

12 Communicating as if Donors Mattered 155

Donor-Focused Stories 159

Reporting Back: Set Yourself Apart 163

Donor Control over Communication 169

Appropriate Design 170

How to Measure Donor Communication 173

13 The Structure of a Donor-Focused Nonprofit 177

A Well-Run Nonprofit Is Aligned around Fundraising Goals 180

A Well-Run Nonprofit Is Not Run by Committees 182

A Well-Run Nonprofit Doesn’t Have a Marketing Department 184

A Well-Run Nonprofit Has a Plan for Every Donor 189

A Well-Run Nonprofit Has Its Donor Data Act Together 191

A Well-Run Nonprofit Is Donor Connected 192

14 The Culture of the Donor-Focused Organization 195

A Donor-Focused Nonprofit Is Investment Oriented 199

A Donor-Focused Nonprofit Has a Fact-Based Culture 202

A Donor-Focused Nonprofit Doesn’t Treat All Donors the Same 207

A Donor-Focused Nonprofit Has a Culture of Thankfulness 209

A Donor-Focused Nonprofit Sees Fundraising as Part of Its Mission 210

Appendix A The Donor Bill of Rights and the Money-Raising Brand 215

Appendix B Suggested Reading for Fundraisers 219

Index 221