Branding; when a refresh is in order

Branding; when a refresh is in order

Was talking with a couple of people recently about how they were thinking that maybe they needed to have a brand rethink for the organisation.

This discussion probably takes place more than we realise, one issue when discussing a rebrand, is the thought that it will hit the coffers hard.

During the course of the discussion I recalled an article I had read from Max du Bois “When’s the right time to rebrand or refresh?” and thought it a relevant article to share with you.

In Branding Inside Out Max du Bois suggested you’ll know when it’s time to refresh your charity’s brand “when you’re achieving your goals in spite of your brand and not because of it. Or when you’re spending time, effort and money overcoming its shortcomings rather than reaping the benefits of your brand’s strengths.”

Early signs of trouble for your brand can include hearing the same communication issues over and over again, struggling to explain with clarity how a partnership could best work, or trying to make sense of a proliferation of sub-brands and visual identity interpretations.

Be wary of introducing the word ‘rebrand’ too early as disaster could strike. Trustees will see pound coins flying out the door and start digging in their heels citing branding disasters, and staff might start thinking they’re working for a broken organisation.

Read the full article

Email v Direct Mail

What works … email or direct mail? They both do, but the effectiveness of one still outweighs the other.

Even though an estimated 80-90 percent of the population (NZ) have access to the internet, not everyone who has internet access uses email.

If you’re relying on email you could be missing a percentage of the population, it doesn’t matter what the percentage, any audience your not getting your message to is potential lost income.

Rethinking the Printed Newsletter: Did You Jump to Email Too Soon? by Joanne Fritz is a great read and should get you thinking.

Nonprofits have been rapidly kicking the print newsletter to the curb.

“And it’s understandable. Email newsletters are much more cost efficient.

“No paper, no postage, no printing. But, if newsletters are used as fundraising tools, that cost efficiency is misleading, given that print newsletters actually bring in much more money. Newsletters, especially paper ones, can be money makers rather than net losses.

“There is a war going on between email everything and print. As Kivi Leroux Miller’s recent survey of nonprofit communications trends shows, the war is about even for fundraising appeals. Some 26% of nonprofit communicators say they will send an email appeal at least quarterly this year, while 29% plan to send a direct mail appeal twice this year.”

Read full article here

See also:


Q: Are we relying too much on emails to communicate with our donors? A: Yes What I hear you say. Simply put sometimes an email isn’t the best form of communication, yet many organisations are relying on email as a quick way to communicate, but often something is lost in translation and, true communication can […]


A few times recently I’ve been pulling my hair out waiting for responses to emails, and now I’ve found out why some emails are going without acknowledgment for days – and it’s not because they’ve been caught in junk or spam folders. It would appea…


There’s no single way that’s better than any other to gain awareness and support for an organization, putting your eggs in one basket, expecting a succes from only one method is a false hope. Using a combination is the best bet as this infographic…


Ever stopped and listened to your fundraising pitch?  Would you support you? All too often fundraisers fall into the trap of “repetition” and simply “going through the motions” – not engaging supporters, simply asking for more support. If your supporters aren’t being updated about the work of your organisation, how their support has helped and […]

Donor Bill of Rights

Am sure I shared this before, if so, no harm sharing it again.

Have a read and share your thoughts, is there anything you would add, anything you would change or remove, in the comments below.

Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To assure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the not-for-profit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

  1. To be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
  2. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization’s governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
  3. To have access to the organization’s most recent financial statements.
  4. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  5. To receive appropriate acknowledgment and recognition.
  6. To be assured that information about their donations is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
  7. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
  8. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
  9. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
  10. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.

The text of this statement in its entirety was developed by the American Association of Fund-Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and adopted in November 1993.


See also:

More Openness and AccountabilityNeeded

Tell it like it is

How often do you send something out, an email, letter, appeal or thank you letter full of terms that are vague, jargon only known by those in the “know”?

It happens too often, we’re all guilty of it, we all use terms and phrases we’re familiar and, comfortable with.

Often the terms and phrases use are too broad and often meaningless to the reader – your supporter.

How often have you sent something out using phrases like “we help at risk teens …” or “we support people in need …” These phrases mean a lot to you, but without a story to back up what you’re saying they can be absolutely meaningless to the reader.

Many terms you may use internally and they may be in your mission statement, but they should be limited in communications with your donors.

Kids –  Youth

If you work with kids – youth, children, say kids, most people identify their children as kids, they will remember what things were like when they were kids; so say kids.

Kids does sound warm, it has a recall; say kids and your supporters will likely relate better.

Having worked with organisations who assist children/youth, I’ve had the discussion about saying “Kids”; but it seems many feel that it’s ok to say children and youth but not kids because it’s seen as too informal and, perhaps demeaning.

But why can’t we just say kids?  Surely most of the people in your organisation and your supporters refer to their own children as kids – so why not say what people relate to when it comes to children and youth – Kids.

What sounds better, what gives you a warm feeling – kids or youth?

Being hit by a Bus

Ok, know one would actually say this, but, they would say “At risk”. It’s vague, walking down the street someone could be hit by a bus, there’s the possibility something bad could happen, that’s all “at risk” is saying. Be specific.

Tell a story to say how you work with people in certain situations so something won’t happen.

Something like “Our programmes help kids deal with … and help them grow and develop into … ”

“Since James came to us, his parents and teachers have seen …”

Turning lives around, making a difference

Well if you’re not making a difference why do you exist.

Yes, it’s important that supporters know you are making a difference, but you need to be saying more than that.

If you can show what you’re doing, what you’ve done – your supporters will relate more to the work you’re doing.

Again, tell stories, show what you’re doing … “in the last six months we’ve helped x families into new homes …”

Cognitive dissonance


If you use terms or phrases that cause confusion, you’ll have less impact from your communications. Stay on topic.

Say it as it is, avoid using any term, phrase or reference that causes confusion “we help kids see their potential”

Any other ideas you’d add?