#DESIGN: Is Your Nonprofit’s Logo Helping Your Cause?

Darien Libarary Logos old and new

Clarity, scalability, & meaning were much improved in this logo redesign.

Has your nonprofit (re)considered its logo recently? Does it present your organization with the color, the terms, the attitude you want to covey quickly to an audience? For most nonprofits, getting a meaningful and professional logo carries some heavy ambivalence: Of course you want people to recognize your organization, whether they see the logo on a letterhead appeal for support or on a bumper sticker given out at a local festival. But if your logo is ‘too professional,’ might you be suggesting donors’ dollars are going toward a firm on Madison Avenue rather than to the community you want to support?

But a logo can make or break your outreach efforts, so you better err on the side of professional, or your nonprofit will be ignored in what is, alas, a tightly competitive fundraising market.


| Category Advertising, Advice, Advocacy, Branding, Case Study, Cause Marketing, Communications, Design, Graphic Design, How-to, Marketing, Nonprofit, Publications Design, Reviews, Social Marketing, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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#ADVOCACY: Make Sure Pitch Has Call To Action, Not Just High Concept

What happens when you get corporate assistance to launch a new campaign, or pro bono development from a commercial ad agency? You can get some fabulous ideas and some valuable insights on establishing your brand. You can get your materials into some of the best publication and on some of the most visited sites on the web.

But as some of our colleagues at have discovered, you can also get a good deal of expensive nothing. The commercial backer or ad agency might not be sensitive to the constituents who want to be involved with various types of nonprofits. They might encourage outreach through channels that are quite unlikely to reach the people your charity traditionally reaches. They might give you a fabulous product on the design board (Indeed, I think it’s safe to say that they certainly will give you a fabulous design.) that falls flat in the real world. Let’s look at a couple of examples from Sofii.


| Category Advertising, Advice, Advocacy, Blogs, Campaigns, Case Study, Cause Marketing, Communications, Copyrighting, Crowdfunding, Design, Development, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Graphic Design, How-to, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Media Review, Newspaper Article, Nonprofit, Public Relations, Publications, Publications Design, Resource, Reviews, Sponsorship, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Study, Writing | | 2 Comments

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#INTERVIEW: Jeff Brooks, Nonprofit Blogger, Author, and Creative Director

Jeff Brooks PhotoJeff Brooks has been working on behalf of nonprofits for more than 20 years and passionately blogging about fundraising since 2005. He writes the Future Fundraising Now blog and is creative director at TrueSense Marketing. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: What do you consider to be the greatest challenge of being a good copywriter?

JEFF: What most people who are not professional copywriters get wrong is they don’t differentiate themselves from their audience. That’s why most fundraising is just bad. It doesn’t succeed the way it ought to because they say, I’m going to make this please me, and then it’ll please the others and then it’ll work. Well, that’s just wrong. That’s not how you create quality fundraising. You have to know your audience, and reach out to them, and 99 percent of the time, you’re going to hate it. You may say, I wouldn’t respond to this! And you’re absolutely correct, and it absolutely doesn’t matter.


| Category Blogs, Campaigns, Communications, Copyrighting, Cross-Post, Development, Donor Acquisition, E-Mail, eNewsletter, Fundraising, Grants and Funding, Interview, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Publications Design, Research, Special Series, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Writing | | Comments Off

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#interview: Tom Ahern — Author, Award-Winning Journalist, and Communications Consultant

MKCREATIVE blog - Tom Ahern PhotoTom Ahern is the author of four books on fundraising communications, with a fifth on the way. An award-winning magazine journalist, he has written case statements for numerous campaigns and is a popular communications trainer and consultant. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

MKC: You’ve written four books. You’ve trained hundreds, maybe thousands of communicators, and by now you’d expect everybody knows what to do. Yet you’re still in high demand! How do you explain this?

TOM: How fast can you actually change the characteristic habitual behavior of communications in an industry as big as the nonprofit industry? At one point there were 1.6 million charities in the United States alone, and we’re not the only mature philanthropic market.) Some of the models that are well entrenched are just, I think, wrong. Yet everybody borrows from each other, they copy each other. And so you’ve got widespread bad practices, not best practices.


| Category Communications, Community, Conference/Congress, Cross-Post, Design, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Graphic Design, How-to, Interview, Major Gifts, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Publications, Publications Design, Social Media, Special Series, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Writing | | Comments Off

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#Interview: Howard Adam Levy, Principal of Red Rooster Group

Howard Adam Levy is Principal of Red Rooster Group, a New York City-based branding, marketing and design agency for nonprofits. Howard, who began working with nonprofits as a graphic designer in 1991, founded the agency 10 years ago. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVEnonprofit blog.

MKC: What is most challenging about branding nonprofits?

HOWARD: Nonprofits face a wide variety of constituents, from clients, referral sources, donors, partner organizations, board members and others. So a lot more is involved in reaching out and developing messages and strategies for each of those audiences.

Businesses, especially small businesses, can make unilateral decisions on their marketing. Nonprofits are typically more consensus oriented. And particularly when it comes to the brand, you really want to get everyone’s input and have a feeling that everyone is contributing to the process of what we’re all about. So you need a process that can build consensus in a politically neutral environment and get everyone feeling really good about the brand and their role as brand ambassadors.


| Category Blogs, Branding, Campaigns, Communications, Community, Cross-Post, Design, Donor Acquisition, E-Mail, eNewsletter, Fundraising, Grants, Grants and Funding, Graphic Design, Interview, Major Gifts, Marketing, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Permission Marketing, Publications Design, Slide Presentations, Social Media, Special Series, Storytelling, Strategic Marketing, Web Design, Writing | | 1 Comments

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#Tech: QR Codes Offer Easy And Appealing Access To Your Nonprofit

You’ve probably seen a growing presence of QR (‘Quick Response’) Codes in your daily life: they can be found on price labels at numerous ‘big-box’ stores, they are often included on public boards and advertisements (like at bus stops or outside sports stadia), and they are starting to show up in traditional print media like newspapers. QR Codes are, in fact, gateways to a wealth of e-information, and your organization should be using them too.

Though its presence seems really to have expanded only in the last 2-3 years, the code was developed in 1994 in an effort to pack greater information into the traditional bar code. The bar code can hold up to about 20 numbers, whereas the QR Code can hold over 7 thousand numbers, and letters, in its hypnotic black-and-white cubes.

How does one gain access to its treasures? What makes the QR Code useful? And how might nonprofits benefit from a technology designed to assist packaging warehouses and logistics?


| Category Advertising, Advice, Branding, Communications, Design, Graphic Design, How-to, iPhone Apps, Marketing, Nonprofit, Public Media, Public Relations, Publications Design, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off

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Marketing: Copywriting and Design Strategies for Better Donor Newsletters

Fundraising copywriter Lisa Sargent and designer Sandie Collette, of S.Collette Design, discuss how copywriting and design go hand-in-hand to make a Dublin-based charity’s newsletter overhaul a success.

Discover the strategies that helped make it happen in this case study of a nonprofit newsletter. Click here for the full article.

Guest blogger Don Akchin writes frequently about marketing and philanthropy at

| Category Case Study, Communications, Cross-Post, Crowdfunding, Fundraising, Newsletter, Nonprofit, Publications Design | | Comments Off

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