Branding or fundraising — which is more important for you?

How much of your time and money spend on branding?

Here’s a helpful look at this question from Business Made Simple, The Difference Between Marketing and Branding:

(Or view it here on YouTube.

He’s speaking to commercial marketers, so there’s a slight difference in definitions from our world: What he calls “marketing,” we usually call “fundraising.” It’s activities directly aimed at getting people to give us money. What he calls “branding,” we sometimes call “marketing” — it’s activities aimed at making people certain ways about our organization, which, done right, should move them toward giving us money — but not directly like fundraising.

Money quote from the video: If your company is falling apart, it’s because you’re doing too much branding and not enough marketing.

So true about nonprofits! Fundraising is where we should spend by far the most of our time and resources. And that’s if you’re already a huge organization. If you have fewer than 100,000 active donors, you should spend all of your time on fundraising, none on branding.

If questions about branding are a hot topic for you, check out my book, The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand.


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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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About the blogger

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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