Much has been said about the tension between good nonprofit marketing & communications and good direct response fundraising. Good nonprofit marcom thrives on brand consistency; good direct response thrives on brand inconsistency.
But when you get right down to it, good nonprofit branding/marcom is actually an essential prerequisite to good direct response fundraising.
That’s because an organization must have a clear sense of self to communicate effectively. A strong voice, confident look and feel, a structured communications program, clarity on priority messages, a personality…. These are all things that come out of good marcom – not direct response – and get better defined over time.
If they’re any good, your organization’s direct response staff or agency will lobby to break from all that at times for better direct response results. They’ll argue for less perfect and more human. But rest assured, they only want to depart from brand technically. Agents of good direct response are deeply loyal to true brand.
In fact, we are lost without it.
So if you want your direct response fundraising to thrive, begin with a well developed brand. Then break it, but not really.