Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

The branding secret that will make you more successful

Branding
10.05.17
The branding secret that will make you more successful

The keys to a good brand are like costume changes at an award show — there are many.

You know it has to look good and be adaptable, but what makes your brand really work is its connection to your ideal audience. This happens over time as each person sees and interacts with it. But how do you get to that connection in the first place?

It requires a bit of connecting the dots of:
your motivations + actions ——————————————— your ideal audience’s motivations + actions

branding diagram

So, what does this mean in real life?

Let’s take the Girl Scouts brand, which was voted top Youth Non-Profit Brand of the Year by The Harris Poll. (Disclaimer: I have no inside knowledge of the Girl Scouts brand. These notes where simply complied after looking at their online communications.)

 

Girl Scouts

Motivations: to instill courage, confidence, and character in young girls
Actions: local troops come together for fun activities where girls earn badges, learn and contribute to their communities

Their Audience

Girls’ motivations: they want to take risks, try new things, and make new friends
Girls’ actions: ages 6–17, adventurous, friendly, energetic

 

So what should this brand look like? I would say that overall the brand needs to be colorful, bold, and energetic.

Now check out a glimpse of their 2010 rebrandFYI — this is on a blog for and by designers so some of the content is very design-geekish.

Can you connect the dots with your own brand? How do they match up? Let me know in the comments

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How to Chose Photos Like a Creative Director

Campaigns | Marketing
09.19.17
How to Chose Photos Like a Creative Director

Your marketing or fundraising campaign needs just the right photo to make an impact. How do you know which one will work? Or which ones to even try?

Whether you’re choosing from stock photography or working with a photographer, the photo selection process is an important step in telling the story of your organization and impact.

Once you know the main goal of the campaign, you’re one step closer to picking a great image to enhance it.

Your campaign needs the right photo to make an impact. Click To Tweet

A good photo usually has these 4 things in common:

1. Good composition
The composition is the arrangement of all the elements in the picture. Background, foreground, shapes, proportion, etc. The photo should feel balanced.

2. Good exposure
Think areas of light and dark. A lot can be done in Adobe Photoshop to fix certain lighting issues, but not always. It’s always best to start with a good image.

3. Emotion
Does it make you feel happy, empathy, or powerless? Be careful about relying too much on “misery” to tell your story.

4. Captures a moment 
Photos that capture a moment in time can be a powerful storyteller. Maybe it’s something small that’s often overlooked, or even a really big moment that usually passes by quickly.

Once you’ve found photos that meet the 4 requirements (or at least 3) narrow down the options by asking yourself these:

  • How many do I need?
  • What size do I need?
  • How will these be used (social media, print, etc.)?
  • Will the text be placed on top, next to, or not at all?

It’s important to choose a few options to test before making the final selection. A good designer can make magic with even “not-so-great” photos, but it’s usually best to start with a variety of images. Lay them out and pick whichever works best for your needs. You could even A/B test two different photos in a campaign and compare results.

What have been your successes or failures when choosing the right photo? Let me know in the comments

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Who is the hero of your fundraising story?

Campaigns | Marketing
08.23.17
Who is the hero of your fundraising story?

Without a hero, stories fall flat. We need someone to root for, hope for, or fight for. Also, without a hero, the story is quickly forgotten.

So, who’s the hero of your nonprofit story? You have 2 choices: your donors or your clients Click To Tweet

What should you write about?
When it comes to writing your story, there is a lot to consider. One is for sure, “We’re great, support us!” shouldn’t be your story.

All stories need to have 3 elements:

  • Hero — give us someone to root for
  • Desire — what does this person want or need
  • Conflict — what’s standing in the way

And don’t forget to make us feel. The best stories involve emotion. Don’t focus on numbers and data at this point. Put us in the hero’s shoes with an emotional connection.

What about an ending?
You actually don’t have to give your story an ending. Let the reader add their ending by enticing them to take action on behalf of the hero.

Which hero should you pick?
If you’re not sure if you should focus on donors or clients, then conduct an A/B test. Your website or social media is the perfect place to test this kind of thing. Create both stories, with similar visuals, and test them to see which one resonates the most with your audience.

Have you created a story focused on a client or donor? I’d love to hear about it.

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top 12 nonprofit resources everyone needs to know

Marketing
07.26.17
top 12 nonprofit resources everyone needs to know

One of the things I love about what I do is that I always keep learning. It’s important to stay up to date on happenings in your industry when trying to get better and do more. Which means that I read a lot about the design and nonprofit worlds. I check a few sites regularly, but I was wondering what else should I be reading. So, I asked the Facebook group Nonprofit Happy Hour for some recommendations. Below is a list from a few members of the group:

Prefer to listen instead of read? Check out these podcasts:

  • The Nonprofit Happy Hour
  • Nonprofit Hub Radio
  • Nonprofit Leaders Network Podcast
  • SproutCast
  • Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio

If you’re not a member of the group Nonprofit Happy Hour, I suggest you request to join. They are a great resource for advice, feedback, and support when you’re deep in the trenches of nonprofit work.

Did I miss one of your favs? Add your go-to resource in the comments.

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