If your marketing isn’t working, it’s either because your promises aren’t useful (and big) enough or we don’t believe you’re the one to keep them. – Seth Godin

I’ve spent some time lately talking and exploring brand, why charity: water’s is great  and why others (maybe even yours) is not  but ultimately it comes down to one thing: your nonprofit brand is about trust.

Your organization is working to do good. So are the other 1.5 million organizations in North America. It’s not a matter of getting people to believe that you are doing good, it’s a matter of getting people to believe that you can actually do it.

Fundraising and nonprofit marketing has many unique strategies, can be quite complex and is almost always difficult but the basic premise that underlines any and all quality fundraising is dead simple:

  1. Tell people what problem is that they are helping you solve by giving you money
  2. Use their money to help you solve the problem
  3. Tell people how their money was used to help you solve the problem

That’s what it is about. If you can’t do that, it doesn’t matter how cool your logo is, how many people “Like” you on Facebook or what your (bogus) overhead ratio is because in the long run you will fail. This work, fundraising, is based on trust and the fulfillment or promises so as you look to strengthen your brand (and you should as we enter the next decade of what will be a brand battle… more on that soon) don’t start with logo, or colours, or message, or Facebook or any of that. Start with figuring out what promises you can make to donors and how you can fulfil them. Because your nonprofit brand is about trust. Period.