Browsing the archives for the Branding category

When Being “Efficient” Is Not The Primary Goal

Supermarkets price milk and eggs (and turkeys during Thanksgiving) below, at, or just above their cost.  These items (and others) are called “loss leaders” or “leader priced items.”  Every time you buy milk or eggs, your local supermarket is, most likely, losing money on that transaction.  If one were to analyze a supermarket’s value by […]


AIM To Communicate Effectively

If your goal is to educate, engage, and delight more donors, friends, supporters, or funders through communication vehicles, ask yourself if the AIM of your message is on point.  For every written solicitation, every webpage, every special events invitation, every magazine article, and every newsletter story, etc., ask yourself if what you are communicating is: […]


Is “Hard Data” The Best Way to Make Your Case?

In building a case for support for our institutions, advancement professionals typically rely on one of two approaches:  a fact-based, quantitative, logical approach, or a story-based, qualitative, anecdotal approach.  Depending on the predilection of the author of the message, a reader or listener quickly can see a fondness for one approach over the other.  If […]


What Are You Promoting?

The ineffective advancement professional promotes their institution. The average advancement professional promotes what their institution does. The artful advancement professional promotes why their institution does it.


It Wouldn’t Hurt To. . .

How many times have you heard someone suggest a last minute add-on to a direct mail solicitation, event agenda, or phonathon or visit script using this phrase? The problem with this statement is that almost always works.  We think to ourselves, “yeah, that wouldn’t be a bad idea.”  But ask yourself this, is it wise […]


Why Better Storytelling Won’t Lead to Larger Gifts

Leaders of institutions often share with me the following general frustration about communicating with donors and prospects: “We don’t tell our story well!” When probed, one (or more) of three underlying concerns almost always surfaces: A need to articulate more clearly, concisely, and authentically the positive “facts” of how the institution impacts students, patients, the […]


Haute Couture Fundraising

The phrase, “haute couture” refers to the creation of exclusive, custom-fitting clothing.  This clothing is made from high-quality, expensive fabric, sewn expertly by the most experienced of seamstresses, and form-fitted for a particular client.  Haute couture emerged in the mid 1800s in France.  You know the names of many of the official haute couture firms […]


Engaging Donors Through Their Senses

Here’s the reality:  every day marketers fill mailboxes with more direct mail packages, call more homes with pitches, place more advertisements on radio and tv (remember when cable tv meant that there was no advertising?), and fill more magazine pages with ads. And consumers are overwhelmed and not paying much attention anymore.  According to David […]


Creating Your Philanthropic Brand Identity

Brand identity, or how you would like others to view your brand, is a key component of creating a successful enterprise.  For those of us in the educational, healthcare, and non-profit sectors, we should regularly be asking ourselves, “How do we want constituents to describe our organization?” However, when we ask such a broad question, […]


Distinction vs. Distinctiveness

Most organizations claim to have either distinctions or distinctiveness (or both).  Most have neither. A distinction is some aspect of the organization – typically a program or service – which has received special recognition.  The recognition usually highlights quality and is proffered by an unbiased third party.  Winning a national award for excellence for your […]