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Marketing Your Nonprofit: Winning Taglines

(July 28, 2008) “Just because you’re a small nonprofit doesn’t mean you can’t have a powerful tagline for your organization, program or campaign,” says nonprofit marketing expert and blogger Nancy E. Schwartz.

Her blog, called Getting Attention, lists the most popular nonprofit taglines selected by her online readers in 2008. More than 1,000 taglines were submitted in the recent contest and were voted on by some 3,000 nonprofit professionals. The following 12 taglines were the 2008 winners:

  • Arts & Culture: Where Actors Find Their Space —NYC Theatre Spaces. This clearinghouse for NYC rehearsal and performance spaces uses a double entendre to go beyond a description of its services and highlight the value of its work.
  • Civic Benefit: Stand Up for a Child —CASA of Southwest Missouri. CASA’s tagline provokes anger, compassion and a desire to help, in just five words.
  • Education: Stay Close...Go Far. —East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. This simple yet distinctive tagline from East Stroudsburg cuts through the clutter. Its straightforward character mirrors that of the school.
  • Environment & Animals: Helping Preserve the Places You Cherish —LandChoices. LandChoices’ tagline thoroughly communicates the value of its work while evoking one’s most precious memories of walks in the woods, wildflower meadows and childhood camping trips. There’s a real emotional connection here.
  • Grantmaking: Make the Most of Your Giving. —The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. This clear tagline articulates the value of the foundation for donors considering an alternative way to give.
  • Health & Sciences: Improving Life, One Breath at a Time —American Lung Association. This unexpected focus on the breath—a core element of life—gets attention, and understanding.
  • Human Services: When You Can't Do It Alone —Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota–Manatee, Inc. This tagline tells the story succinctly and powerfully: It’s all about getting help when life becomes overwhelming. It makes a strong emotional connection.
  • International, Foreign Affairs & National Security: Whatever it Takes to Save a Child —U.S. Fund for UNICEF. UNICEF engages hearts and minds with its passionate focus on helping children. Who could turn down a request for a donation?
  • Jobs & Workforce Development: All Building Starts With a Foundation —Building Future Builders. Voters enjoyed the word play here: It adds depth of understanding without being glib.
  • Religion & Spiritual Development: Grounded in Tradition...Open to the Spirit —Memphis Theological Seminary (MTS). MTS conveys the two equally important halves of its values and curriculum in a way that makes you think about the connection.
  • Other: The Art of Active Aging —EngAGE. EngAGE surprises with the imagery of active aging and the use of the term “art” to describe the way it does its work.
  • Other: Because Facts Matter. —Oregon Center for Public Policy (OCPP). This tagline introduces the nature of OCPP’s impact in Oregon and entices the reader or listener to find out more. Its value proposition—the truth—is particularly compelling at a time when facts are frequently disregarded in public debate.

“Consistency of message is the name of the game,” Schwartz says. “Ensure that your tagline works together with your organization's name, positioning statement and key messages.” If not, you may end up hurting your marketing efforts instead of helping.

For more information on crafting a winning tagline for your nonprofit, see these two online articles:

Seven Dos and Don'ts for Strong Nonprofit Taglines and Why Nonprofits Need Strong Taglines. Schwartz also offers a free e-newsletter on nonprofit marketing that can be found on her blog.

Call for submissions: Has your organization created a clever and effective tagline to market either a fundraising campaign or your nonprofit as a whole? Share it with eWire readers by emailing We will compile your submissions for a future article. Please put “Tagline” in the email subject heading and include the name and location of your organization.

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