Wings of Change
“They would say, ‘Yes, Easter Seals is a great organization. I’ve given to them for years. They do a lot of good.’ But when probed, they couldn’t articulate very well what we did,” Sowa says.
Recognizing the need for stronger branding, Easter Seals partnered with Minneapolis-based advertising agency Campbell Mithun to overhaul its logo in a way that brought it back to its roots. Founded in 1919 by Ohio businessman Edgar Allen and originally named the National Society for Crippled Children, the organization launched in spring 1934 its first-ever fundraising campaign, which featured stamps that donors could place on envelopes and letters to show their support. The stamp campaign became an annual event; soon, thanks to the ongoing and overwhelming support it received from the public, the organization underwent a nationwide expansion.
By 1967, the seal was so well recognized that the organization formally changed its name to Easter Seals.
In an effort to get back to these roots and enhance the brand’s mission recognition, Campbell Mithun recommended changing what had been a square box with the slogan, “Easter Seals: Creating Solutions, Changing Lives,” to a box with serrated edges — to resemble the time-honored seals that continue to be used in the campaign to this day — and the slogan, “Easter Seals: Disability Services,” inside the logo.
Through the BrandTrust research, Easter Seals also found that whether people donate or volunteer, they’re motivated by how good giving makes them feel and that giving back affirms their worth as “good” people.
A new angle
In the past, Easter Seals’ direct messaging had been more institutional, i.e., focused mostly on what it does. The donor-centered research project showed the organization that the primary reasons individuals get involved with charitable organizations are more about themselves.
“I think it’s really important for us to understand that we’re helping [individuals] do the things that they essentially already want to do,” says Chris Cleghorn, executive vice president of direct and interactive marketing for Easter Seals. “In a sense, the donor is making a gift through us. The donor is giving to something that they value, and we’re sort of the vehicle through which they’re making that gift. We historically had focused too much on what we wanted the donor to think about us; now we’re trying to speak more to what the donor is interested in.”