Don’t Be the Hippie Car of Nonprofits
Don’t have a bumper-sticker marketing strategy — go for more of a car-pool experience. We all should be on this ride together.
2. We seem hippie-dippy or irrelevant.
There’s something about the whole package of that car that lacks credibility for most of the drivers idling alongside it. If we’re passionate about our causes, we might wear them on our sleeves, or on our bumpers, with great pride. Such zeal can be good and bad. Good in that passion can be wonderfully persuasive. Bad in that too much passion (especially the angry, slightly raving kind) can start to sound cuckoo.
If we push our agendas into people’s faces with this level of subtlety, we’re going to get dismissed as “out there.” I get a certain feeling when I see cars like this: “Wow, that looks like a nice, well-intentioned person, but I hope I don’t run into them at a cocktail party because they’d never stop talking.”
I guarantee that the Ford SUV with the “Support Our Troops” ribbon and the unmarked Accords and Camrys around the hippie car were not converted to a single cause plastered on the car because the message delivery and messenger have that icky, polemic feel. Don’t have a tone that says “finger wag.”
3. We’ve got too many stickers.
The driver of the car I saw apparently is one busy dude, because he supports about 10 causes; five indie bands; and a score of other unidentifiable organizations, secret societies or issues I’m not hip enough to recognize. He also somehow finds time to break for squirrels and leprechauns. Wow. I wish I had those time-management skills.
But seriously, this is a great example of way too many messages. Remember, people usually only can handle about one message at a time. And you’ll be lucky if you can consistently get your supporters to attribute one idea or concept to your organization.