Sleepless in 2013?
Christina Johns: I think that that’s absolutely right. I think that you have to be, in terms of branding, able to prioritize. I think that a lot of organizations, especially in their missions, have several different objectives that they’re trying to accomplish. One might be education, one might be humanitarian aid, and they all fall within the mission. A really strong communications strategy has to be in place so that everyone in the organization knows what they’re focusing on when it comes to branding and what points are taking priority within their own mission statement.
Jeff Jowdy: Absolutely. One of the important things that we encounter is the coordination of communications, marketing, branding functions. We certainly see greater success when there is an advancement model where it’s all under one umbrella. It’s more of a challenge where there’s the mixed message that Tom shared, where they are often competing within the organization. So it’s essential to be in sync and have the right message go to the right audience at the right time, and that they’re coordinated. You have to have systems in place and structures so that everybody is on the same page and in sync.
TH: Can I just cut in again on this? I can’t prove this, but I sometimes suspect that there are some people at nonprofits who secretly feel — I don’t know — contemptuous of fundraising. And so brand marketing can seem like a high-minded departure from the tawdry, icky business of asking for money. I think that’s lamentable.
Jo Sullivan: Amen.
TH: Truly charitable giving is one of the purest, social, almost spiritual acts that a person can perform. If we facilitate charitable giving, that’s an admirable calling. I think it’s up to us to change the mind-set of our program people, board members, management and others so they value effective fundraising because they see it helps the organization grow, but also because they see it has a positive impact on the donor.