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When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Lean Into Their Values

Posted by on March 2nd, 2017
Posted in Blog, Nonprofit Branding, Nonprofit Communications    Tags: , , ,

In a time when so many nonprofits feel threatened, many companies and nonprofit organizations are doing an excellent job of putting their values at the forefront of their work. This type of brand behavior endears you to your stakeholders.

It’s important to live your values when things are good. When the beliefs you hold dear are threatened? Even more so.

Here are four examples of nonprofits and companies from whom we can learn. See how their values helped root them even more deeply in their brand.

Reinforce Your Origins – Eileen Fisher

On the day of the Women’s March, Eileen Fisher, a retail clothier, shared this email with its customer base.

It’s worth noting this is not a “jump on the bandwagon” moment: Fisher put herself through college because her parents chose to save their money for her younger brother’s education, which they deemed more important. A portion her company’s profits fund business grants for women and a leadership program for young women, and they have a long-standing sustainability policy.

Remind Your Employees – Santa Rosa Community Health Centers

Even an organization that lives its values every day needs to re-declare it when the time is right to do so.

With a broadly diverse employee base, our client Santa Rosa Community Health Centers recently reassured its employees of their value that “All Are Heard, Valued and Respected.”

Said the CEO in a letter to the entire staff: “This includes our work family as well as our patients.” In this note, she also provided specific instructions on what to do if employees witnessed or experienced derogatory language. Taking the time to send this thoughtful message, she reinforced another value of this organization: We are Full of Heart.

Take a Risk – Curious Theatre Company

Mission Minded’s client Curious Theatre Company has long been a leader in producing plays that bravely and provocatively address social issues.

In response to the current political climate, Curious Theatre decided to produce a play in opposition to the new administration in Washington. This show is not only unique as a statement of their values, but also in the timing. Normally, plays take months or years of rewrites and workshops before their premiere.

Producing a play that unflinchingly challenges our current president’s administration is inherently risky. There will be those who object, and those who are offended by it. And yet Curious Theatre values discussion, deep thinking, and risks. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Put Values into Action – Wingz

Wingz is a direct-to-airport rideshare company that believes its value in providing stress-free travel to and from the airport “has always been to create and foster lasting relationships between our riders and drivers, regardless of their faith, values, or nationalities.”

And so, with the advent of the travel ban put forth by the administration earlier this month, Wingz responded with free airport rides “for those who were directly affected by the travel ban and are now able to re-enter the country.”

Think about your nonprofit. Is there an opportunity to amplify the values that make you who you are? Who needs to know this? What will you do to make sure they do?

For more on values, read Jennie’s thoughts on how brand and values should intersect.


Sarah R. Moore, our Director of Brand Strategy, joined Mission Minded from a career that has spanned both the private and nonprofit sector.

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