How to Simplify Your Nonprofit's Story to 1 Paragraph
April 23, 2014

Pixar is the animated movie studio loved for its award-winning films. The key to Pixar’s success is its stories. And they are similar in structure. In fact, there is a code to that structure. It is made up of just six sequential sentences: Once upon a time … Every day, … One day … Because of that, … Because of that, … Until finally …

This model pitch or story could be a simple way for you to distill your charity’s story in preparation for a pitch of some sort.

Who Brands Your Nonprofit? Who Tells Its Story and How?
April 9, 2014

Harnessing the power of co-creation requires letting go. Particularly with organizational identity and messaging, there is an inherent need to control every word. Consistency is often valued over accessibility. Researchers at Harvard University’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations found that successful nonprofit brands have elements of democracy baked into them, trusting that the “story shapers” have an understanding of the organization’s core identity. If organizations want greater community ownership of the cause, then they need to allow staff, volunteers, participants and the greater public a true opportunity of ownership.

Book Review: 'What Great Brands Do'
March 18, 2014

"What Great Brands Do" is relentlessly practical about brands. It starts with the assumption that great brands make their brands their businesses, not something they add on to their businesses to make them look better. The book is about commercial branding, so there are a few things that don't quite connect for nonprofit brands. But a lot of it does.

Here are the main points, the things great brands do. I've interpreted them a bit for the nonprofit sector.

Is Your Branding Helping or Hurting You?
March 1, 2014

Every time your brand guidelines insist you focus on hope instead of need, on complexity instead of simplicity, you risk undermining your fundraising and the future of your organization.

Communication and Courage
March 1, 2014

When the economy went sour, the leadership at Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado realized it needed to reimagine the organization. From there, a three-year transformation started with a name change to JEWISHcolorado.

What Makes You Stand Out?
February 27, 2014

What is it about your organization that sets it apart from all the others? How can you show donors and potential donors that you are unique — even irreplaceable because you are doing something that no one else is doing? If you can’t show why you are different from everyone else, you’re going to have a hard time proving that someone should donate to you instead of another organization that does what seems to be the same thing.