Some nonprofits are known more for their slogans than for their
A mind is a terrible
thing to waste.
Notice that the United Negro College Fund no longer spells out its full
name in its new logo. How effective is it to go by only initials? A
corporate example is KFC.
Inspiring all girls to be
Strong, Smart, and Bold.
coordinates the Race for the
Note that the Susan G. Komen Foundation now uses the name of its
main program in its logo.
What is the primary
organization affiliated with
the AIDS walk?
It’s interesting to see how an organization’s name can become a
liability as time passes. AIDS is no longer a gay-only issue (It never
was.) And GMHC serves many more groups than gay men. The YM
and YW Cas have a similar problem with the word “Christian.” Here
again, they use initials only in order to avoid using the problematic
word in their name. Is there a better solution?
Which foundation runs the
American Legacy Foundation
Just as you build equity in a house, organizations invest in their
brands over time. The cumulative equity is a brand connotes its
Building Brand Value
• Customer Satisfaction
Key components of brand equity. The first two build up over time,
often m any years. The third must be earned in real time, every day,
over and over again. It feeds reputation and recognition. Recognition
alone is not enough. Many people recognize Enron, for instance, but
not in a good way.
I always think of the Salvation Army as an organization that is a
shining example of mission fulfillment. They don’t have a glitzy logo
or a cool name. They just do their job helping people and they get
great results. They seem to always put mission first.
Brand Challenges for NPOs
• Multiple Audiences
• Organization Culture
• Name Changes
• Changes in Operating Environment
Since nonprofits have many audiences -- donors, clients, families of
clients, government regulators, etc. -- it can be esp. difficult to build
strong brand equity with all audience segments. Key issue -- Our
income usually does not come from our primary customers (the
people who directly benefit from our services).
New Nonprofits - 2007
• 64,176 (IRS)
• $425 million just to create these
There are more and more nonprofits every year. How many are truly
top performers? How many merely fragment the donor market and
create needless competition? Do we really need all of these
Funding - 2006
• 83% individual gifts ($245 billion)
• 33% to religious groups
• 8% are bequests
While $295B seems like a lot, much of it goes to churches,
synagogues, temples. There is a small pie of foundation dollars.
Corporate funding is tiny, yet we put a great deal of effort into courting
• Episodic v. Systemic
• Celebrity dominated
And there is tremendous competition among nonprofits for attention
in the media, both traditional media and, increasingly, online media.
Are we promoting our causes, or our organizations? How much
attention should go toward promoting our organization versus our
cause? How about results?
64,176 New Competitors
THE FOR-PROFIT MODEL
Tried & True Strategies
• Repetition, repetition, repetition
(aka - ad campaign)
(aka - selling)
• Public Relations
(aka - spin)
The for-profit model uses standard techniques. The reason for this
is that they work. But do they work as well for nonprofits?
• Social media, Web 2.0, etc.
• Sector-focused media
• Media we control (web sites,
• Corporate partnerships &
The “new” media offer opportunities that traditional media does not,
but this is not a panacea. Also, there are no “m ediators” (editors) in
the blogosphere to help people (our audiences) filter and find the
Bottom line -- the corporate, for-profit model is all about competition.
That’s fine for them. Is it fine for us?
TOWARD A NONPROFIT
Why Have Nonprofits?
• You provide services and products
that for-profit entities will not.
• You provide private alternatives to
• You provide vehicles for the
development of civil society.
There are reasons that the government allows tax exemptions for
nonprofit organizations. We really are different. Maybe we should
have a different model of branding.
The Nature of the Beast
• Multiple audiences - donors,
clients, regulators, volunteers, etc.
• Bottom line = social goods
• Your competitors are also your
collaborators in achieving social
A Model of Our Own
• Brand collaboration over
• Brand results in terms of changed
• Minimize duplication, maximize
Can That Really Work?
• Yes, according to John Nash, 1994
Nobel Laureate in Economics.
• A Beautiful Mind - his story
• Nash Equilibrium: All players
benefit if information is open to all
and mixed strategies are used.
Nash developed an economic concept that says all players in a
group (coalition) can win IF information is openly shared and IF the
various players use a mix of strategies. This is part of game theory.
This could translate to a coalition of nonprofit groups dividing up the
work (each employing a different strategy to move a common
mission) and openly sharing information (all players have access to
each other’s research, for instance). Everyone wins because
together they get results.
• Obama/Hillary: A zero-sum game.
- Competitive model
- Half of the voters “lose” and are
- Results in a problem = How to bring
everyone together to achieve
As opposed to a zero-sum game. Here’s a recent example that most
of us are familiar with.
What’s the Alternative?
• Nash Equilibrium says that when
information is open to all a
balance will result in which all
players achieve some individual
gain (aka money).
• Bonus = More progress toward
common goals (aka results).
Here are some examples of nonprofits working together to get
results that help all. And one example of a group of for-profits
working together to get sales and also to have an impact in making
Causes in Common
Causes in Common
is a coalition of
activists from the
LGBT Liberation and
Causes in Common Coalition Partners
• Association of • Planned Parenthood
Reproductive Health Federation of America
Professionals • Pro-Choice Public
• Center for Reproductive Education Project
Rights • The Center for Genetics
• Community HIV/AIDS
• Queers for Economic
• Empire State Pride
• Lambda Legal Agenda
• National Gay & Lesbian • Family Pride Coalition
is a coalition of
nonprofits dedicated to
and the availability of
clean technology in the
transportation sector in
• American Lung Association of the City of New
• The New York League of Conservation Voters
• National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
• Set America Free
• The Sierra Club
Divided We Fail
Divided We Fail is
health care and
Divided We Fail Coalition Partners
• AARP • March of Dimes
• Business Roundtable Foundation
• SEIU • MANA, A National Latina
• National Federation of Organization
Independent Businesses • National Council on Aging
• American Psychological • United Jewish
• Disabled American • Women’s Institute for a
Veterans Secure Retirement
• Human Rights Campaign
How often do we see unions, businesses and progressive groups
working together? This could be a breakthrough partnership and the
people of the US could be the winners.
Living Cities is a
corporate and public
established to bring
opportunities and the
power of mainstream
markets to urban
residents normally left
Living Cities Coalition Partners
• AXA Community • The McKnight Foundation
Investment Program • MetLife, Inc.
• Deutsche Bank • Prudential Financial
• Ford Foundation • The Rockefeller
• Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Foundation • United States
• The Kresge Foundation Department of Housing
& Urban Development
(RED) is a partnership of
iconic brands that have
branded products. A
percentage of each
sold is given to The Global
Fund, and the money helps
women and children
affected by HIV/AIDS in
• Myspace.com • Converse
• Motorola • Apple
• American Express • Hallmark
• GAP • Dell
• Emporio Armani • Microsoft
This is the final slide.