Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 9: your logo

I have some news for you that is either very good or very bad:

Your logo doesn’t really matter.

It makes almost no difference.

Even if it’s an amazingly great logo, it’s not helping you much.

Even if it’s a train wreck of a logo, it’s not hurting you much.

If you change it, make it a thousand times better, it won’t help you much.

And if your boss’s nephew or some branding expert changes it and makes it a thousand times worse … it won’t hurt you much.

I can think of one exception to this, and it’s The Salvation Army’s red shield logo. But the Army has a couple of things going that the rest of us don’t: They’ve been around more than 150 years, and they are everywhere — with a presence in every county in the US. Those things create meaningful brand equity, and there’s no shortcut to them.

Here’s the thing: Normal people don’t think about logos. They see them and move on. Your donors are almost unmoved (in either direction) by whatever your logo says or doesn’t say on purpose or by accident.

All things considered, it’s better to have a good logo than a bad one.

But it’s not something that moves the needle in your fundraising.


Comments

2 responses to “Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 9: your logo”

  1. Bernie Hallam Avatar
    Bernie Hallam

    I vehemently disagree. One’s logo matters for the exact reasons why it matters to the Salvo’s – ie a well recognised logo that communicates something about the brand, that’s distinct = creates memory structures.
    Donors see the logo and it triggers “The Salvo’s are in the corner for the down trodden, jees they do a good job, I can’t do what they do, but I can sure as hell donate to them to help out, and I’ll feel real good about doing that; here’s $100”
    New people won’t donate to a brand that they don’t know of / recognise or remember what they stand for. Brand marketing DOES matter in fundraising, albeit a brand TVC won’t drive the ROI that a direct marketing mail pack to an existing donor database – but if you don’t build up wider perceptions of what problem / solution your branded charity delivers on = dead in the water once your existing donors slowly attrite – which they will – because you can’t easily attract new donors to an unknown brand.
    Charities need to do both short term direct marketing and long term brand building. All brands, all categories do.

  2. Bernie Hallam Avatar
    Bernie Hallam

    I vehemently disagree. One’s logo matters for the exact reasons why it matters to the Salvo’s – ie a well recognised logo that communicates something about the brand, that’s distinct = creates memory structures.
    Donors see the logo and it triggers “The Salvo’s are in the corner for the down trodden, jees they do a good job, I can’t do what they do, but I can sure as hell donate to them to help out, and I’ll feel real good about doing that; here’s $100”
    New people won’t donate to a brand that they don’t know of / recognise or remember what they stand for. Brand marketing DOES matter in fundraising, albeit a brand TVC won’t drive the ROI that a direct marketing mail pack to an existing donor database – but if you don’t build up wider perceptions of what problem / solution your branded charity delivers on = dead in the water once your existing donors slowly attrite – which they will – because you can’t easily attract new donors to an unknown brand.
    Charities need to do both short term direct marketing and long term brand building. All brands, all categories do.

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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.