Fri, April 11 2014

4 questions to help you stay true to your brand

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

Most organizations go to great lengths to carefully craft a mission statement, outline a vision, and develop a tagline to clarify their place in the world. But it’s important to remember that these elements aren’t meant to be stored away as archived material in your annual report. These core beliefs should be an everyday yardstick for all of your communications.

As you work to react to changes in your community, crises, and fundraising ups and downs, it can be tempting to try anything to see what may stick. Something similar happens when there’s a marketing trend or a new channel to explore, like a new social network. When you feel this urge, it’s important to think about how you answer these four questions:

1. Who are you?

2. What is your purpose?

3. How do you accomplish your work?

4. What are your values?

Answering these four key questions will ultimately help you answer a fifth:  are your actions and outreach consistent with your organization’s core identity? If not, it’s time to take a step back to ensure everyone in your organization knows and understands your brand—and how you bring it to life.

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Mon, March 24 2014

Free Webinar: Take Charge of Your Nonprofit’s Reputation

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

Do you know how supporters feel about your organization? What are people saying about your cause online? 

All too often organizations are so busy promoting their next campaign or event they fail to pay attention to managing their reputation. If you’re not actively monitoring and managing how your nonprofit’s brand is perceived, your fundraising and marketing efforts will suffer. 

This week, we have a must-see webinar for anyone working in the sector. Dr. Dionne Clemons, nonprofit communications expert, will join us for a free webinar all about understanding and managing your nonprofit’s reputation. She’ll show you how to create a plan for actively managing and safeguarding your brand. If you need some help planning for crisis communication, brand monitoring, public relations, or social campaigns, you will not want to miss this.

Take Charge of Your Nonprofit’s Reputation
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1pm ET
Register now.
(If you can’t attend the live session, go ahead and register so you can get the recording and slides delivered shortly after the event.)

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Thu, February 20 2014

How Millennials can help you boost corporate sponsorships

Allison McGuire's avatar

Marketing Associate, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Cause-related marketing •

Millennial Guide

We’re pleased to announce the release of our new guide, Engaging Millennial Employees. While the guide focuses on helping companies understand how social good can help them win over young talent, this ebook is packed with facts that nonprofits use to better engage Gen Y supporters, staff, and volunteers—as well as strengthen their value proposition to corporate sponsors.

Here’s a tip from the guide that can help your nonprofit effectively integrate Millennial employees into your culture and fundraising goals.

Myth: Millenials don’t care about communities

A recent American Psychological Association (APA) study purports that Millennials are selfish, close-minded, and greedy. Somewhat unsurprisingly, MTV—arguably a Millennial-made network—came to their defense by rebutting some of these claims about “Generation Me.”

In the APA study, only 36% of Millennials supported “participating in a community action program.” MTV posed the same question in different words. When asked the importance of “helping those who are less fortunate in your community,” 66% of Millennials responded affirmatively. This, of course, is great news for your cause.

Fact: transparency rules

The “MTV Generation” (Gen X and Gen Y) believes in companies that are aligned with charity. A full 83% of Millennials trust socially responsible companies, and 74% are more likely to pay attention to that company’s message because of its deep cause commitment.

What to do:

Help your corporate partners demonstrate a meaningful alignment with your cause by co-branding campaign communications. Showcase their financial support via impact metrics (think: donation thermometer, images of who you’re helping, testimonials, seals of approval) on your website. In turn, ask the company to display your nonprofit’s logo on their corporate social responsibility and/or community pages with a link back to your site.

Why this helps your cause:

Millennials searching for jobs look to the company’s nonprofit partnerships to guide their decision as to whether or not the work is authentic. By building a meaningful corporate partnership, you lend credibility to the company’s portfolio and attract Millennials who are passionate about working for a cause.

For more facts and myths about Millennials, download the free guide: Engaging Millennial Employees: Recruit and Retain Top Talent with Cause.

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Thu, January 23 2014

Free webinar: Learn all about infographics

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

It’s probably no surprise that our brains process visual information faster than text. Still, how quickly this takes place is mind boggling. Recent research has found that the human brain can process an image seen for just 13 milliseconds. Online, visual information is typically more memorable and more likely to be shared than other forms of content. It’s said that over 80% of learning occurs visually. Including visuals such as infographics in your communication strategy can be an effective way to communicate with your donors and keep them updated on the impact of your work. These visual cues can also help you stand out and reinforce your nonprofit’s brand.

We have a special treat next week as Joe Cardillo of, a visual content marketplace, joins us for a free Nonprofit 911 webinar all about infographics. If you’ve ever wondered if an infographic is right for your nonprofit communications plan or how to create one, this is the event for you. Joe will answer your questions on creating effective visual content and how to find the right designer.

Free Webinar: Infographics 101: Show Off Your Data
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 1pm EST
Register now.

For more fun facts on visual marketing and infographics, here’s an overview from the community: 

The Era of Visual Mediation
by TheInfographist.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community - Visually.


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Tue, October 01 2013

The identity and promise of your nonprofit’s brand

Caryn Stein's avatar

Director of Content Strategy, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding •

In Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits, branding and design maven Debbie Millman rounds up thoughts on brands, culture, and marketing from smart folks such as Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, and Virginia Postrel. This collection of interviews is a fascinating read for anyone who is in the business of communication and sharing ideas. Two key qualities of brands appear throughout these conversations between Millman and friends. These two qualities can help you focus your fundraising and marketing to clearly communicate your nonprofit’s unique viewpoint to donors and potential supporters.

Your nonprofit’s brand is much more than your visual identity or carefully crafted slogans. The way your organization portrays itself to the world happens at a deeper level. The passion that fuels your mission, the people on the front lines, and the stories of those you serve— these are more powerful representations of who you are and what you do. Interestingly enough, your brand’s identity can take on a more personal meaning for your audience. When they become donors or volunteers for your cause, supporters take pride in owning the qualities of your organization and make it part of their identity, too.

Questions to consider: How is your nonprofit’s true identity portrayed? Is it different than the one you’re publishing in your marketing material? How would supporters of your organization identify themselves as part of your tribe?

Brands can explicitly or implicitly offer promises to their audience—in most cases they do both (whether intended or not). Beyond the explicit promises you make to your donors in your fundraising appeals or in your annual report (we are good stewards of your gift, we will use 90% of funds for program activities), your nonprofit’s brand becomes a promise in itself, implying certain values each time someone encounters your organization. This is why your work to maintain trust and transparency with your donors is vital. Of course when you’re making promises, it’s important to keep them! It’s extremely difficult for an organization to rebound from broken promises in the eyes of their fans.

Questions to consider: What promises are you making to your community of supporters? What promise does your brand convey? Do these match what your donors would say?

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