Why Humor is Just What Your Nonprofit May be Missing

Why Humor is Just What Your Nonprofit May be Missing

why humor is just what your nonprofit may be missing

Today, we ask that you take a serious moment to consider humor. In the nonprofit world, it seems every campaign holds the weight of social responsibility on its shoulders, so there can’t possibly be any room for humor. This is unfortunate because it makes us lose one of the most powerful tools to spark action: relatability.

But we get it, going to your board of directors with a campaign that seems to have more irony than vitality is a bold move. Here are some great examples of nonprofits that utilized humor to get into the hearts of their donors.

1. follow the frog video

Rainforest Alliance put together this extremely detailed hypothetical scenario of the average Joe going to the ends of the world to help save the rainforests. Rainforest Alliance hit 2 birds with one stone with this witty video: Expressed the depth of their mission and cause while also pointing out how easy it is to donate a few bucks when you compare it to trekking through the rainforest with Siri as your only guide.


2. bright by three print ads

Every new parent will identify with these absurd ads. Bright by Three prides itself in being the operating manual that should come with all babies. By infusing humor into these ads, parents will feel the gravity of the world lifted off the shoulders, if not the baby vomit that still sits there.

3. team rubicon’s box of awesomeness

Team Rubicon, a nonprofit that provides disaster relief, decided to sell “boxes of awesomeness” on Amazon. You could order different sizes of this non-existent box that would correspond to a different donation level. The piece that makes this campaign so successful was the public’s reviews of these awesome boxes. Earl from LA left a review saying, “I was having a beer on the from porch when I saw the neighbor’s cat climbing on the crate. She stuck her head in a knot hole in the wood, and there was a flash of light that I can only describe as pure awesomeness. Next thing I know, I’m staring at a puma.”

Sadly, the awesome got cut short when Amazon decided the box violated the terms of their seller guidelines. Team Rubicon definitely gained some lifelong donors from this campaign, though!

All in all, we know that Injecting humor into your brand is a bold move. But at the end of the day, it can pay off in hilarious amounts!

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Building a Story Brand – What is that?

Building a Story Brand – What is that?

building a story brand

For anyone who has gone through the rebranding process, they know that it can be an overwhelming and cumbersome experience. Where do we start? What do we want to say? We do so much… how do we explain all that we are?

The Story Brand is an excellent resource for any nonprofit who is going through this process. We highly recommend reading the book, Building A Story Brand by Donald Miller, before you start. In fact, our agency used the book during a retreat last year, specifically a tool they offer called a Brand Script. It helped us tighten up our messaging and narrow down who we really are (hint: we’re a group of creative people that are passionate about nonprofits).

Let’s start by looking at a snapshot of the overall framework used. The example below is one we have previously filled out.

  1. A Character
  2. Has a Problem
  3. And Meets a Guide
  4. Who Gives Them a Plan
  5. And Calls Them to Action
  6. That Helps Them Avoid Failure
  7. And Ends in Success

Now we can start building a Storybrand by creating a BrandScript as they call it. Go to mystorybrand.com to create one for free. You will go through each section (shown above). The best part is that the Brandscript includes questions to help you better fill out each section. Here is an example:

As a company that helps nonprofits go through the branding process, we highly suggest this exercise. It is a tool that we have used ourselves. We have also gotten many compliments of our how clear and concise our messaging is.

Good luck!

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Our Design Process for Camp Tatiyee’s New Logo

Our Design Process for Camp Tatiyee’s New Logo

our design process for
camp tatiyee’s new logo

The Design Process

We believe that logo design is always a creative challenge that sparks innovation. After our team became inspired by Camp Tatiyee’s mission, our designers went to work analyzing their competition, identifying what sets this camp apart from the rest, and becoming engrossed in the stories of campers, families, and staff.

The inspiration behind this logo design ultimately came from the iconic scout badge symbol, an emblem that many associate with the nostalgia of summer camp.

While it may seem like an obvious choice, it means so much to those at Camp Tatiyee. Here, campers have special needs. This camp badge represents the things they get to do just like everyone else. It’s a reminder that camp is for people of all abilities.

Camp Tatiyee’s mission is best depicted in the smiles of their campers. To capture this radiating joy within the design, our team incorporated a sun to represent the positive impact of Camp Tatiyee on campers and counselors alike.

The Psychology of Color

Color selection is serious business when it comes to engaging branding. We were very purposeful in the decision to use warm yellow and orange tones for Camp Tatiyee’s badge logo. We were also wary of the competition’s use of red and blue and steered away from that palette.

Yellow draws our minds to warm summer days, bright, shining, and filled with the joyous little victories that make summer camp so exciting. Orange is associated with enthusiasm, creativity, determination, and success – actions brought out of each camper and counselor during their time at camp. Together this iconic color duo sends a strong brand message that speaks to the life-changing experience of Camp Tatiyee.  

What originally started as an inspiring challenge for our design team concluded with a logo that embodies the heartwarming passions of Camp Tatiyee’s campers and counselors.

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Creating Annual Report Content That Is Visual and Compelling

Creating Annual Report Content That Is Visual and Compelling

creating annual report content
that is visual and compelling

Annual reports. They come in all shapes and sizes. You know you need to do one every. single. year. So what can you do to make yours great? You’ll be happy to know it doesn’t have to take much! When it comes down to it, it’s really all about creating content that is visual and compelling.

keep the content visual

Gone are the days when a report needed to be 20 pages with lots of text and tiny photos. Nowadays, we strive to make it visually engaging. How?

  • Full bleed images that tell a story.
  • Short quotes from those impacted by your mission.
  • Infographics that highlight last year’s milestones in bite-size pieces.
  • A video that shares a story in a very engaging way. (more on that a little later)

creating compelling content

I’m a firm believer that an annual report should be an asset for an organization. The time invested in creating an annual report needs to have a good ROI, especially since it’s typically not a huge money maker from a donation standpoint. So here are a few ways to repurpose “old” content and create to new content you will use throughout the year.


Remember that if you share a story, it doesn’t have to be brand new to readers. The purpose of an annual report is to recap the previous year. Perhaps you can give an update on a compelling story you shared in an appeal or newsletter. If it was about a family who just moved into a house after being homeless for a year, share an update on how they are and the impacts the family sees now that they’re settled in. It’s another excellent opportunity to thank donors for the life-changing impact they’re creating in people’s lives.


Here’s another way to rehash an “old” story. So often stories focus on the client, but more often than not, these stories have a ripple effect that goes way beyond a client. Jump off the momentum of a popular story by telling it from someone else’s perspective. If your story was about a client’s journey through a health crisis, retell that story, but this time, from the viewpoint of a spouse, parent, or sibling. It can be powerful for readers to realize the impact your organization has beyond the clients you serve. 


Afraid of making and sharing your own videos? Don’t let them scare you off. Contrary to popular belief, a video doesn’t have to be a big production. It can be as simple as something shot on your phone and edited using software that comes standard on your computer. Imagine volunteers and clients working side-by-side to raise the first wall of a home or a person meeting their assistance dog for the very first time. Video is an exciting tool that can show emotion in a way that words never could. These clips can be used again on social media, at events, at board and staff meetings, the opportunities are endless!


The infographics mentioned earlier also have so much life beyond one annual report. Each one can become a social media post. Scatter them throughout newsletters. Use them on collateral displayed at events. The time invested in creating a cohesive family of infographics is a great resource that will serve you well in the upcoming year.

Habitat for Humanity annual report

“A visual tells a complex story in a manner that can be quickly consumed and easily understood” 
-The Power of Infographics

So there you have it. A few quick tips on how to create an annual report that will be a valuable resource to you and your organization for 2019.

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How We Created the Dwelling Place Appeal

how we created the
dwelling place appeal

Our team was over the moon when Dwelling Place told us they wanted their year-end appeal to be out-of-the-box; literally. We were throwing around ideas of pop-up cards and I think the word confetti was blurted out at one point. As creatives, our job was to organize this excitement and produce an appeal that would launch their new brand in a celebratory fashion, but also act as a marketing piece to maximize donor engagement. Not to give away the magic, but here’s a step-by-step of how we accomplished just that. 

(If you like to get straight to the point, scroll to the bottom to see this beauty in motion)


Commonly used in website and app design, wireframes worked wonderfully for this project. A few hours of research and lots of cutting and folding scrap paper led us to these four options. We took these wireframes to printers to see what was plausible with the budget. There was a clear winner!

Mini Mock-ups

The design always reflects the content. Dwelling Place requested the appeal have a celebratory theme. This, combined with the opening house effect, perfectly embodied their mission: Dwelling Place improves the lives of people by creating quality affordable housing, providing essential support services and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. This process of printing and checking was a great way to make sure the appeal stayed on mission.

Final Touches

As we neared the final proof, Dwelling Place requested extra time and space for the board members to write personal notes on these appeals. With the donors in mind, we made sure that the return on these appeals would be well worth the effort! Did you receive one of these fun appeals in the mail? If not, be sure to contact Dwelling Place to donate or sign up to volunteer. This organization is truly a staple of West Michigan and we are blessed to have the opportunity to work with them!

Be wary of flying confetti in the next piece…

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