Nonprofit Insurance Program

Formulating Your Messaging

By Alexa Connelly
July 13, 2011

What does your message need to accomplish?

  • Show impact. Don’t be shy in telling donors what your organization has accomplished.
  • Differentiate your organization. Communicate your organization’s strengths to stand out in the crowd.
  • Represent the entire organization. Know all the services that your organization provides and tell the full story.
  • Be compelling. Make your message both personal and emotional.

What are the key components of effective messaging?

  1. Positioning—how your organization differs from similar nonprofits.
  2. Brand Values—what your organization stands for.
  3. Brand Attributes—core strengths that distinguish your organization.
  4. Brand Personality—tone for your communications. Figure out what type of personality you want for your message. Some organizations are more research based and need to project a voice of authority; others are community based and need to project a sense of accessibility and inclusion. The use of language, images, colors, and concepts can present your organization’s personality accurately.
  5. Brand Statement—what you hope to accomplish. This statement summarizes your organization’s promise and should drive all your communications.
  6. Elevator Pitch/Boilerplate Copy—a quick summary of your organization, told from the perspective of the problem you are addressing and the impact you are having. Cannot be confused with the mission, since it’s important to explain the results you are achieving now, not in the future or the past.
  7. Key Messages—longer statements that help build the case for your organization, giving context to the sector and problem you are addressing. With these messages, help others—including donors, the media, and influencers—understand your organization’s role in society, its special perspective, and the need it fills.

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