Branding, Fundraising Living in Harmony
Here's how it goes: The brand expert says the fundraising campaigns that generate most of your organization's revenue are "undermining the brand." More precisely, fundraising messages don't use the right fonts, aren't faithful to the color pallet and fail to focus on the Statement of Brand Personality. All in all, the corny, old-fashioned messiness and specificity of fundraising are dragging down the brand.
At this point, if you're lucky and/or there are smart people with clout in your organization, you test your fundraising against brand-compliant fundraising. You know, the pretty colors, modern design and complete alignment with the abstract values articulated by the brand experts. This soon reveals the scope of the financial catastrophe that awaits if you follow the brand experts. So you stop listening to them.
Unfortunately, not all organizations are lucky and/or smart. They follow the brand experts with blind faith and no testing at all. They just drive their trains straight off a cliff and wonder what happened when they hit the bottom. I've even seen nonprofits go with the brand even after testing shows it's going to crush revenue — which is like driving full speed over the cliff, knowing exactly what's going to happen, yet somehow confident that this time it won't hurt.
This phenomenon is so widespread and so strange, the research team here at Easier Said Than Done Labs has conducted an in-depth study to find the root causes. Perhaps if we understand why brand and fundraising are so incompatible, we can reconcile them and live out the rest of our days with pretty design, plenty of revenue and endless rainbow juice for our unicorns. Sadly, all the team came up with was, "It's just one of those things. Like dropped toast always landing butter-side down."
So in lieu of solving the problem, here are some of our research hypotheses. Maybe you can figure it out.