Look Good, Raise Money: 7 Branding Requirements to Make Fundraising Easier
Fundraising organizations, like businesses, rely on a consistent brand identity to help the public know who they are. But if you think creating that identity is somebody else's job, think again. Fundraising departments have a huge stake in an organization's style requirements.
When revenue is at stake, graphic standards should protect you, not restrict you. Here are seven ideas that will help your organization develop branding requirements that will make your life a lot easier:
1. Get a seat at the table. Style manuals are usually the province of communications departments, which is just as it should be. They are the experts at explicating the multifarious messages your brand should convey.
But communicating information is just the jumping off point for fundraisers. Our job is to knock people for an emotional loop so they'll do something completely irrational: give you money in return for nothing more than a temporary good feeling.
However, fundraising brings in the cash that makes everything else possible, so it behooves organizations to make graphic styles as fundraising-friendly as possible. So when your identity standards are being hammered out, make sure your savviest fundraisers are in on the discussion. This might be the most important silo you break down.
2. Have an acronym. Every so often I come across an organization whose standards require the entire name be spelled out every time it's used. I confess the rationale for this baffles me. Usually it's something along the lines of, "We're not that well-known, and we don't want people to be confused or have to wonder who we are."
Well, the point of an acronym is to give people a mental shortcut that helps them remember you. Why on earth would shoulder your public with the undue burden of remembering "Promote Humanistic Existentialism Worldwide" when it's so much easier for them to remember PHEW?
Willis Turner believes great writing has the power to change minds, save lives, and make people want to dance and sing. Willis is the creative director at Huntsinger & Jeffer. He worked as a lead writer and creative director in the traditional advertising world for more than 15 years before making the switch to fundraising 20 years ago. In his work with nonprofit organizations and associations, he has written thousands of appeals, renewals and acquisition communications for every medium. He creates direct-response campaigns, and collateral communications materials that get attention, tell powerful stories and persuade people to take action or make a donation.