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Why taglines fail

publication date: Sep 26, 2012
 | 
author/source: Jonathon Grapsas
I should clarify. Why taglines fail - for fundraising.

In short, taglines are designed to be memorable. Think Different. Just Do It. Don't leave home without it. 

Jonathon Grapsas photoBut great fundraising isn't just about being memorable; it's about being remarkable. It's about more than a few words. It isn't advertising. 

That's not to say a great fundraising campaign shouldn't include a tagline or some derivation of a tagline. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's  FULL STOP campaign springs to mind - Cruelty to children must stop. FULL STOP

But having worked with the NSPCC during FULL STOP, I know it was about more than a few words.

Start with the story 

Don't get fixated on encapsulating your next fundraising appeal or project with a few catchy words. It can become distracting and all-consuming, pushing aside the real issue at hand. 

Do fixate on how you translate a real story into a compelling appeal. Work the entire appeal around the human element of the story. Don't start with the services or topic you want to feature. Story first. Everything else follows.

My final word 

There is an argument that says a tagline can't hurt. It's catchy, perhaps even captivating. 

But for me, good fundraising must have soul. It must be authentic, and it must take people from one place to another. 

Taglines are contrived. They are designed to grab attention, not take you somewhere. And as I mentioned earlier, they fail - mostly because they detract from the bigger picture of telling people what you do and why you need help. 

Jonathon Grapsas is the founder and director at flat earth direct, an agency dedicated to fundraising and campaigning for good causes. Jonathon spends his time working with charities around the world focused on digital, direct response and campaigning. 


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