Tue, April 29 2014

What’s in a name? Change your terms to change perception

Melissa Raimondi's avatar

Content Producer, Network for Good

Filed under:   Branding • Marketing essentials •

During an NPR pledge drive in February, a Philadelphia-area radio host (apologies that I haven’t been able to find him) mentioned an online debate over the origin of the term crowdfunding. According to Social Media Week and Fundable, modern-day crowdfunding began around 1997 when a British rock band raised funds online for a tour. (Wikipedia takes us back to 1884!) But our local radio host had a different opinion, saying that thanks to pledge drives, NPR had been crowdfunding long before that.

When I picture a pledge drive, I see people manning the phones. But when I picture crowdfunding, I see the Internet and cool causes.

So what’s going on here?

The answer is simple: Sites such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and CrowdRise have rebranded “pledge drives” to be more fun and cutting edge, and with that came a new name. The truth is, simply changing a name is a great way to develop a new brand identity and connect more successfully with a target audience. Have you heard of Quantum Computer Services or BackRub? That’s AOL and Google, respectively. (Can you imagine “BackRubbing” last night’s final Jeopardy question?)

Is the name of your nonprofit hard to pronounce? Do you have trouble getting it all out in one breath? Does it only mean something to the people within your organization? If the answer is yes, consider how you can tweak it to fit the work, personality, and impact of your nonprofit.

Don’t like the terms? Change them!

Perhaps changing your name is going too far. Maybe you love your name and have a great reputation, but you can’t get anyone to come to the “Saturday Morning Cleanup.” Try repackaging events to focus on the fun aspect, such as the “Reservoir Preservation Walk” on Saturday mornings, when volunteers relax with each other and beautify the local reservoir.

Think about the terms you use to identify your nonprofit and your programs. Making some smart updates can significantly improve your marketing efforts and refresh your branding.

Have you implemented a name change to breathe new life into an initiative or make a program feel more inviting? Share your experiences in the comments below!

 

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