Episode 15 | Fundraising FREEDOM Step 4: Enhance Your Brand


Today we are on step 4 of Mary’s Fundraising FREEDOM process, Enhance Your Brand.  There are so many organizations that lean on their staff for branding.  They hire marketing people to design a logo or to make sure that your message is en pointe.  However, in this step, I want your volunteers to have a say in what you’re putting in front of the general public.  So if you’re going to be doing a campaign around your fundraising efforts, I want to make sure your volunteers have an opportunity to review every piece of branding you’re putting out there.  Of course, if you have a logo that your national organization has created, I’m not saying to just go and change it.  What I am saying is that you have control over this fundraiser you recruited volunteers for so if you’re going to create a logo for that particular fundraiser for any sort of print materials, you want their eyes on it.  This is why you recruit your team first and the materials come second – you can get their buy-in so they’ll want to share the information with those in their inner circle. 

What do you say to the development director who isn’t willing to open up a discussion on branding to their team?

There are layers when it comes to your volunteers.  When we’re talking about enlisting your team, we’re talking about the chairman of the fundraiser, the lead volunteers who are going to be spearheading this campaign. I’m not saying every single volunteer (such as event day volunteers) needs to be in the discussion; it should just be your top-tier people.

What materials do we need to pull together?

When you think about any kind of organization out there, any company you might have purchased a product from, they all have branding.  They all have materials like a website, print materials, products, or whatever they do.  But all of that encompasses their brand – the look, feel.  Because we are getting information dumped at us all day every day, we make snap judgments based on what we see.  And most of the time, you just have a few seconds to make an impression on someone.  In the branding section of what we’re talking about here are your colors, logo, the look, feel, theme. 

Just like walking into a restaurant, you want to know what’s on the menu.  The same is true for charitable fundraisers.  When you’re first getting started, you have to have a menu, or a list of options.  For smaller organizations, I recommend a one-pager.  This is very different from your strategic plan one-pager, instead, this is one page that is broken into thirds and answers the who, what, when, where, and how.  The top third answers the who are you (logo, picture, cause).  The middle third should tell how someone can be a part of what you’re doing.  Why do you need help?  How can someone get plugged in?  And then the bottom third is a sign-up form.  It’s a fill-in-the-blank where someone can get involved or give to your cause.  The purpose of this one-page is NOT to send it out to the masses.  This is a sales document. 

Second, is the case document.  I encourage people to do an eight-page case document that includes all of the details of your cause such as the mission and vision statements, the history of your organization, a letter from the chair or executive director stating why you have launched this campaign and why it’s important to give to it.  All you’re doing with this document is creating credibility for why a donor should give to your cause.

What should we be doing online?

What you need to do with your website is to make it very simple.  When I sit down with someone, I give them the one-pager and/or the case document and I want to be able to send them to my site.  Most people are going to your website to give or find more information.  You want to make sure the donate button is at the top, in the navigation bar, and throughout the site – AND you want to make sure it actually works.  You don’t want someone who is ready to give to get lost on your website and give up because they couldn’t figure out how to give you their money. 

To summarize it all, branding matters.  Whether it’s your personal brand, your fundraiser brand, or your organizational brand, they all matter.  Be intentional and have a strategy.  Do your best with what you have right now – you don’t have to have everything today, start where you’re at.  Look in the mirror, how you are presenting yourself, and then move to your print materials, then your website.

We know being a nonprofit executive is a lonely job and we want you to know that you are not alone as you work toward your mission.  If you like the content of the podcast, as well as the work we do, we invite you to join the Nonprofit Executive Club.  The Executive Club is a monthly training program that gives you the ability to increase your influence through strategic planning and fundraising support.  For more information and to join the Club, go to nonprofitexecutiveclub.com.

Resources from this episode:

Strategic Plan Toolkit

Fundraising Freedom Roadmap

Connect with Mary:

Mary Valloni

Mary’s book: Fundraising Freedom

Connect with Joel:

Joel Kessel

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