Survey shows many non-profits don’t think of using tagline

September 17, 2008

Nancy Schwartz from the Getting Attention blog undertook a survey about non-profit taglines and as part of that, ran a contest to find the best of the best. The survey included over 1,900 non-profit communicators.

Nancy believes, and I agree, that every non-profit should have a tagline as it has the power to convey the organization’s unique value and impact—reinforcing the brand. Non-profits without a tagline are missing an opportunity.

I asked Nancy if there was anything that surprised her in the results of her study. She stated, “What did surprise, and frankly dismay me, was the fact that of the nonprofits that don’t have/use a tagline, a high percentage of them (over 30%) cited ‘never thought of it’ as the reason why.”

That is surprising, especially considering the fact that the names of many non-profits don’t reveal much, if anything, about what the organizations do. Having a tagline can help you to define your cause in the public’s mind. It’s your chance to make an immediate impression.

Key findings from the study include:

Nonprofit taglines that work generally fall into one of four categories, those describing an organization’s focus of work; impact or value; core values or spirit; or strategic approach.
An effective nonprofit tagline:

  • Relates to an organization’s name, without repeating it
  • Must be easily accessible, memorable and repeatable
  • Is specific to that organization
  • Runs eight words or less
  • Features verbs

The report is a valuable read for any non-profit planning to create or re-vamp its tagline as it provides a list of musts as well as what to avoid. It will likely also be an eye-opener to some non-profits with taglines that could use improvement.  The report also provides a sample of over 1000 taglines and highlights the winner of the contest. See Nancy’s post announcement and/or the report to find out who it is. Nancy proclaims that the contest will be an annual event.

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