Why you should “break” your fundraising brand

So many fundraisers have had this terrible experience: a “new brand” was launched and fundraising results immediately tanked.

You might draw the conclusion that “branding” is an evil force, and you should have nothing to do with it.

Some brands are ill-conceived. Those ones are evil. Typically, they are designed by clueless “brand experts” who misapply commercial branding practices and create an abstract, self-focused brand that pretty much guarantees fundraising failure. You should have nothing to do with that type of brand.

But the problem isn’t branding itself.

If your brand is donor-centered, action-oriented, and captures the specific good donors can do by giving to you (rather than a trumpeting of your organizational superiority) it can boost your fundraising.

But you still have to use your brand right, and The Nth Factor blog has an interesting look at what you can do to make your brand help your fundraising: Branding + Direct Response Fundraising = Love, Actually.

Brand guidelines and brand cops often say (or imply) that the secret to success is to slavishly follow the brand and never vary on it in any way. The theory is that consistency is the active ingredient in branding.

It isn’t. Consistency is one of the lesser virtues of brand. Many other things matter much more. And too much consistency is bad for fundraising.

… if you want your direct response fundraising to thrive, begin with a well developed brand. Then break it, but not really.

(Remember, we’re assuming you have the good kind of brand, not the response-killing type!)

Clarity is better than consistency. And surprise does very well in all fundraising media. That’s why you should break your brand.


Comments

2 responses to “Why you should “break” your fundraising brand”

  1. I’m not sure if this article totally makes sense. What does it mean to “break it, but not really?” and what is the “response-killing type” Can you give more examples?

  2. I’m not sure if this article totally makes sense. What does it mean to “break it, but not really?” and what is the “response-killing type” Can you give more examples?

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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