Night of the Brand Shamans
2. Test, test, test. If you want your brand to drive better fundraising results, you need to let your donors lead you. And the way to do that is direct-response testing. Testing discovers how donors respond in real life, not what they theorize in a focus group.
3. Get aligned. Everyone in your organization needs to believe the same thing about who you are. Everyone needs to be pulling in the same direction. Getting nonprofit employees on the same page can be like herding cats, but the payback in brand equity is incalculable.
4. Be great. There’s no substitute for simply being amazing and unique. I’m not talking marketing here, but what you actually are. Don’t just say you’re great — be great! Bowl-’em-over great, tell-all-their-friends great. A “purple cow” as marketing guru Seth Godin would say. (Read “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable,” by Seth Godin.)
All that’s much easier said than done, but donors deserve it — and increasingly, they demand it. Anything less will have a hard time getting attention — or donations — in the crowded nonprofit marketplace.
The brand shaman fad will play itself out within a few years. Until then, stand firm and resist their temptations. And keep your donors in mind, every decision you make.
Jeff Brooks is creative director at Merkle/Domain. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.