Sleepless in 2013?
DG: Tom, do you think that’s why we’re seeing more and more organizations combining their communications departments with development departments? I feel like I’ve seen some of the strongest branding and best brand representation when organizations are really operating from one communications and development department.
TH: Dane, you’re absolutely right. And when those are unified, it makes it much stronger for the organization. What’s happening is we’re increasingly seeing for-profit brand experts come to the nonprofit world. And they live in an environment where you wake up in the morning and you need soap, so you go to the store and you buy soap. And when you’re choosing, you’re impacted by all the brand messages.
No one wakes up in the morning saying, “I have to give my money away today,” and so if you just do pure branding, without tying it to the urgent call and the way someone can make a difference and have significance in their life, then you’re going to end up in trouble because you’re going to not have any money.
Marc Pitman: I was having sort of a religious experience listening to Tom because I hadn’t really seen branding as that. I love the idea of incorporating branding with fundraising. I think it was Tom Ahern [president of Ahern Communications, Ink] who first told me that if your mission is dependent on donors, you have to make donors part of your mission. If you don’t survive without donations, then donors need to be, by virtue of their importance, part of the overall nonprofit mission.
And I like the idea of incorporating your branding that way. It changes the whole way you focus on your messaging, like Tom was saying. So, Tom, I was just having a revival experience here in my office. That was great. Thank you.