Branding 1, 2, 3
October 17, 2006

Branding is about communicating a sense of value and a set of values. For organizations doing good work, it should be a no-brainer. “For a nonprofit, that’s pretty easy because they have mission statements, they’re clearly focused on an objective that’s almost always in the interest of the public good, whereas the corporate side, you try to do the same thing but it may be a little bit harder to justify that sort of value proposition,” says Christopher Simmons, principal/creative director for MINE, a San Francisco-based design firm specializing in identity, print, environmental graphics and Web design. Simmons offers the following tips to nonprofit

Don't Rob Peter to Pay Paul
October 1, 2006

A few years ago, a school I attended launched a multi-million dollar capital campaign. Because I regularly give to its annual appeal and a few other random appeals each year, the school probably considers me a mid-level donor — reliable for some support but not necessarily worth a lot of face-to-face cultivation.

Make Your Special Events as Unique as Your Organization
September 19, 2006

When people come to special events supporting The Cleveland Play House, a Cleveland-based organization that produces professional-level plays and conducts theater-focused training and educational programs, they expect drama and something spectacular, says Judy Comeau-Hart, director of development for the play house. Given that fact and the incredible competition that Comeau-Hart says exists when it comes to special events, the organization spares no expense for decorations and food. “You have to make it spectacular so that people will look forward to coming every year,” she says. Special events are not the most effective way to raise funds, Comeau-Hart says. They’re actually the least efficient

Rebranding With Grace
September 1, 2006

Lutheran Social Services of Mid-America had a problem: Its name confused people. The Ohio-based organization works with people of all faiths, not just Lutherans, offering services from credit counseling to senior-living facilities. The “mid-America” was unclear, too. What to do?

“Many people didn’t know about our organization,” says Pam Blumensheid, director of marketing for Lutheran Social Services of Mid-America. “We were providing good work, but people didn’t know about it. We needed to build identity.”

Casting a Wide ‘Net’
March 1, 2006

For years, Washington, D.C.-based The Humane Society of the United States ignored the Internet’s full potential to reach donors and supporters.

Here’s the situation we found ourselves in: HSUS’ Web site in April 2003 had been transferred to its third department in five years. While the site was graphically appealing and content rich, it ran on proprietary software developed by a company that no longer was in business.

Grappling With Growth
March 1, 2006

You would think that after a hundred years, a nonprofit could kick back a bit and maybe even rest on its laurels. After all, it’s been there, done that — right?

Not necessarily so, says Kurt Aschermann, senior vice president and chief marketing and development officer of Atlanta-based Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which was founded in Boston in 1906.

Renewed Focus on Faith
May 1, 2005

It would be hard to imagine a fundraising challenge more daunting than the one faced by the Archdiocese of Boston in January 2002, when the nationwide sexual-abuse scandal was at its height. The task was to win back the support of area Catholics dismayed by reports that the head of the archdiocese, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, had kept on dozens of priests who had sexually abused children and adolescents.

How Leading Brands Develop Breakthrough Creative -- and How You Can Profit
April 12, 2005

On the way to a recent conference, I noticed the digital billboards in the airport -- the kind that shifts messages every 30 to 60 seconds. The overhead screen launched a stream of messages as throngs of passengers on cell phones rushed past. Jumping into a cab, I noticed that the digital portal on the back seat offered sports scores and the latest news. At the hotel, I was greeted with a sign-in kiosk as an alternative to the front desk, which allowed me to upgrade my room. And as I dashed into the elevator, a major network show was playing on a

Search and You Will Find
April 1, 2005

The next time one of your donors performs a Web search, your organization could see 50 cents in gross revenue.

Freelanthropy, a new online-services provider founded to help nonprofits develop branding and communications solutions through Web publishing, e-mail marketing, and search and navigation, has developed the Freelanthropy Toolbar for donors and prospects to download and use for free, with all sponsored-search revenue and affiliate-merchant sales split evenly between Freelanthropy and the individual user’s preferred charity.

Rebranding on the Web — and Then Some
September 1, 2004

In April, the United States Fund for UNICEF relaunched its Web site,, to accommodate the recent global rebranding of UNICEF, add user and donor functionality, and increase overall Web visibility.

Partnering with Internet-software and -services firm Kintera, the organization focused on three core elements: fundraising, advocacy and education. Among the many new features, the site now captures member data for a more personalized Web experience, deploys eNews and allows visitors to take immediate action on children’s issues.