Photo of handshake and quote: Helping organizations better define who they are, what they do, how they do it, and why anyone should care!

Branding Bytes Archives

Issue 35:
Thoughts On Using Social Media

Issue 34:
Reigning in Public-Private Partnerships

Issue 33:
Seven Ways to Avoid Toxicity In the Workplace

Issue 32:
A Few Bad Apples Bruise the Brand

Issue 31:
Branding Beyond the Logo

Issue 30:
The Yin and Yang of Celebrity Leadership

Issue 29:
Want to Raise More Funds? SPEAK UP!

Issue 28:
Government Funding Cuts: Act!

Issue 27:
"We Are Sorry":
Your Brand is Your Behavior

Issue 26:
Tell Your Story

Issue 25:
Good Leaders

Issue 24:
Think "People,"
Not "Organization"

Issue 23:
What's in a Name?
Just about Everything!

Issue 22:
Is Your Mission
Getting Creepy?

Issue 21:
Welcome to the Age
of the New Normal

Issue 20:
"Receptionist" vs Director of First Brand Impressions

Issue 19:
It's Not About How Your Message is Delivered

Issue 18:
When it Comes to Your Brand, Details Matter

Issue 17:
A Good Brand Requires TLC: Just Ask My Wife!

Issue 16:
Toxic-Work-Environment Syndrome Can Tarnish Your Brand

Issue 15:
Adjusting to the
New Face of Need

Issue 14:
Tired of all the Doom and Gloom? This is Your Time!

Issue 13:
A New Year's Resolution: Don't Cut Off Your Nose

Issue 12:
What You Do Is
About All of Us

Issue 11:
Ethical Standards
and Your Organization

Issue 10:
Leadership: Whose Journey is it, Anyway?

Issue 9:
Giving Circles
and Branding

Issue 8:
The World's Richest Men
— and Philanthropy

Issue 7:
What is an External
Brand Audit?

Issue 6:
Keeping Everyone
on Brand Message

Issue 5:
What is an Internal
Brand Audit?

Issue 4:
Turn Board Members into Better Brand Ambassadors

Issue 3:
Leadership, Vision
— and Branding

Issue 2:
What's 1st—Organization or Brand? / Govt. Cuts?—Branding Helps

Issue 1:
Branding Myths

Issue 12, Fall 2008

What You Do — It's About All of Us

"I must say that I have seen Americans make great and real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend faithful support to one another."

— Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Set aside a few seconds to try to imagine what the United States of America would be like without a healthy, vibrant nonprofit sector.

Your first reaction is likely to be in question form: How many more children and families would go hungry at night or not have access to health care of any kind? When a natural or manmade disaster strikes, who would provide all the necessary temporary food, shelter and clothing to the victims? Who would work to preserve our inner cities and rural communities or ensure that our artists have venues and means to support their talents?

Such a list could go on forever. Yet for me it's these types of questions and answers that represent one of the biggest pitfalls most nonprofits stumble into when it comes to communicating their true value to the communities they serve.

A True Story

A couple of years ago, I was having lunch with the executive director of a small community development corporation (CDC) and her board chair in a little café when she turned to me and matter-of-factly said, "You know, last year we were responsible for more than $6 million worth of economic activity in this community, and most of it went to small construction firms, tradesmen, local retail stores and other small businesses."

I was stunned. That was a big number for the size of the small city (about 80,000 residents) the CDC was serving, especially given the fact that the community was in the midst of a minor recession.

"Who else, outside of your organization, is aware of that fact?" I asked.

The executive director and board chair looked at one another, and almost in unison said, "No one."

I became even more stunned.

Here was one of the best brand messages this organization could have been shouting from the rooftops, and yet it was obvious they had no strategy for getting this kind of valuable information out to folks in their community with a keen interest in knowing — including civic organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce, government officials, and potential funders.

One of the Best-Kept Secrets in Town

To most people in the community, some of whom may have benefited directly or indirectly from this organization's efforts, it was just another nonprofit out there doing whatever it is nonprofits do.

Instead of effectively cultivating goodwill and new revenue streams by letting the community know the impact it was having on the lives of so many beyond its direct client population, this particular organization was content to be one of the best-kept secrets in town.

Bring Community into Your Communications

Tell the world how the entire community benefits from your work.

When de Tocqueville wrote the comment above nearly 170 years ago, he wasn't just talking about people helping people; he was talking about people sacrificing for the betterment of the "public welfare," which translates into the betterment of their communities.

And de Tocqueville was right. Whether your organization provides housing, health care, literacy classes, or drug and alcohol rehab services or supports conservation efforts or human rights, whatever, we all — as a community-benefit from your work. And that's a message each and every nonprofit needs to emphasize, as does the sector as a whole. It's not about our client base; it's about all of us.

Now, ask yourself again, "What would our community — and nation — look like, or how different would it be, if the nonprofit sector did not exist?"

The image is stunning!

As always, I look forward to receiving your feedback, questions, success stories and branding challenges. Also, if you are in need of a motivational speaker, trainer, branding consultant/coach, or management consultant who can help you answer the questions: Who are we? What do we do? How do we do it? And should anyone care? I invite you to for more information.

In the meantime, good luck with your branding! — Larry

About Branding Bytes

Branding Bytes is a FREE quarterly e-newsletter courtesy of Larry Checco of Checco Communications. Please feel free to forward Branding Bytes on to others. However, Branding Bytes is copyrighted and may not be reprinted or reproduced without attributing Larry Checco of Checco Communications as its source and providing the following website address: Thank you.


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