Q-and-A With 'Brandraising' Author Sarah Durham
The book “Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications,” by Sarah Durham, offers nonprofit organizations strategies to communicate more effectively using limited resources — which has become an even greater challenge for many organizations, large and small, in today's struggling economy.
The brandraising model, on which the book was based, was developed specifically for nonprofits by Durham and her New York-based communications consulting firm Big Duck to assist them in advancing their fundraising, programs and advocacy goals through strengthened communications.
Durham, principal and founder of Big Duck, recently spoke with FundRaising Success about the concept of brandraising and the effect it can have on fundraising efforts.
FundRaising Success: What is brandraising?
Sarah Durham: Brandraising is, at its core, an approach to communicating designed to help nonprofits get the most out of their limited resources.
Specifically, the book shows how nonprofit concepts like “vision” and “mission” are connected to marketing and branding concepts like “positioning” and “messaging.” It goes on to show how these elements (which are often developed in a vacuum or ignored entirely) can boost fundraising, outreach and advocacy work when used well in day-to-day communications channels (for instance, online or at events). It’s a primer [that] a fundraiser can use to understand other aspects of communications they might be less comfortable with (for instance, where Twitter fits in).
FS: What impact does brandraising have on fundraising?
SD: The average American receives thousands of marketing messages every day. A well-heeled donor might also receive dozens (or more) messages that are attempts to cultivate, solicit or engage her. That’s a lot of noise — and your nonprofit has to penetrate it in order to be heard.
Brandraising organizations develop fundraising strategies and materials that:
- are closely linked to the organization’s mission (making it easier to understand who they are);
- look and sound consistent (making it easier to connect the dots between different correspondence pieces); and
- take less time/money to develop (because they have a foundation to work with, rather than starting with a blank piece of paper each time).
Since nonprofit communications are often driven by the development team in smaller or mid-size organizations, brandraising can help these staff members spend less time worrying about how to get the e-newsletter done and more time actually connecting with donors.