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20 Great Techniques for Writing the Perfect Nonprofit Tagline

Posted by on February 16th, 2016
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding, Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Copywriting, Nonprofit Messaging, Nonprofit Taglines, Nonprofit Training    Tags: , , ,

A pitch-perfect tagline can be the foundation for all messages you create about your organization or program.

A tagline is a punchy phrase consistently linked with your organization. It enhances your name by clarifying your work and making it relevant to your audience. It’s a powerful way to signify the brand promise your organization makes to the public.

Here are some hints for making your next tagline sing.

Requirements of Great Taglines

Be memorable.
A tagline that’s easy to remember will help people connect with your mission. Make it bold and brief; it should pack an emotional punch.

Engage the reader.
Make it clear that the reader is part of the equation. Avoid appearing as if you’re already solving the problem; instead, emphasize how much the reader means to your ability to solve it.

Communicate a key benefit.
Don’t write a tagline that’s all about you. Yes, it should help the reader understand your mission, but make sure it conveys a benefit to your reader—something meaningful from her point of view.

Capture the personality of the organization.
Your organization has a personality. If it’s a good one, people will want to associate with you. Is your organization serious or relaxed? Casual or formal? Make sure the tagline reflects the best of your organization’s personality.

Distinguish your organization from others.
What do you do better than other organizations? Are you the most effective? What makes you unique? Highlight this in your tagline. Remember, too, that you’re trying to differentiate yourself not just from similar organizations, but from all organizations. You want to be the reader’s charity of choice.

Reinforce your broader goals.
Your organization is probably working from a strategic plan, even if it isn’t written down. Be sure your tagline reflects your larger goals. Avoid being so clever or creative that the tagline contradicts what you’re really trying to accomplish.

 

20 Prompts for the Perfect Tagline

Ready to start writing? Here are 20 techniques to bring your next tagline to life:

1. Command action
Example: Open the eyes of tomorrow’s leaders (Global Glimpse)

2. Use the word “You”
Example: She led. So can you. (Ella Baker Center for Human Rights)

3. Reference the problem you exist to solve
Example: Let’s end abuse right here. (SAVE)

4. Answer the question “Why?”
Example: Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer (Earthjustice)

5. State your organization’s core belief
Example: Live the life you want. (National Federation of the Blind)

6. Use a single word
Example: Thrive. (Kaiser Permanente)

7. Paint a picture
Example: Open the classroom door (Education Outside)

8. Reinvent a commonly used cliché
Example: No guts, no story. (Curious Theatre)

9. Employ alliteration
Example: Play Your Part (New Depot Players Community Theatre)

10. Share a Vision
Example: AIDS Ends Here. (San Francisco AIDS Foundation)

11. Rhyme
Example: Give a hoot. Don’t pollute. (USDA Forest Service)

12. Juxtapose ideas
Example: Food for people, Not for profit (Community Food and Justice Coalition)

13. Repeat a word with different meaning
Example: The mission with a heart in the heart of the city. (Central Union Mission)

14. Make a joke
Example: The Quickest Way from Q to A! (University of West Florida Libraries)

15. Repeat a word in different forms
Example: Live Life Well (OLE Health)

16. Ask a rhetorical question
Example: What’s in your wallet? (Capital One)

17. Employ the rule of 3
Example: Reach. Teach. Ignite. (Jewish LearningWorks)

18. Use personification
Example: Kleenex says bless you.

19. Write the worst possible tagline for your organization

20. Now write its opposite

You can also access our free Marketing Guide Taglines that Tell.

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Zach Hochstadt is a Mission Minded Founding Partner and runs Mission Minded’s Denver office, leading the company’s creative teams in the areas of message development, writing, graphic design, and web design and development.

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2 responses to “20 Great Techniques for Writing the Perfect Nonprofit Tagline”

  1. I need your help!
    We have 2myPlace, a non-profit Teen Center teaching Basic Life and Social Skills, Drama,Art, Dance, Music, Nutrition and Exercise, and Work Ethic-by having our in-house Cafe.
    Probably focusing on Teens from Single Parent homes and/or B,C Average Students.