Scott Allen Creative nonprofits are our jam! Tue, 20 Oct 2020 15:32:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scott Allen Creative 32 32 112599393 What you Need to Know about Planned Giving Tue, 20 Oct 2020 14:18:47 +0000 The post What you Need to Know about Planned Giving appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


what you need

to know about planned giving


Planned giving is something most nonprofits have, but don’t put as much effort into growing it as they should. Why? It seems like a very complicated and daunting task. Nonprofit employees are already wearing a million hats and certain priorities inevitably get pushed further and further down the to-do list. Setting up a planned giving program is one of them.

What Exactly Is Planned Giving?

Along with major gifts, planned gifts are the biggest donations a nonprofit receives (source). Planned giving is the act of making a commitment to give a charitable organization a major gift – over time or at death – as part of the donor’s overall financial and estate planning (source). There are different kinds of planned gifts: bequests, real estate, gift annuity, etc. Simply put, planned gifts can be set up in real time, or for the future.

Take our client, 70×7 Life Recovery for example. Jared is a local entrepreneur who owns a successful coffee shop downtown. Jared has a niece, Angie, who had been in and out of jail for a while and needed help. She went through 70×7’s program and came out with a steady job, new friends, and a stable apartment. She has been changed! Jared has always had a sweet spot for Angie and is grateful she got the help she needed to turn her life around. Jared is now a key planned gift prospect for 70×7 Life Recovery.

Common Misconception

Most people think large donors need to be specifically targeted in a planned giving program. The more money, the more generous. Don’t jump to conclusions! Some of the largest planned gifts to a nonprofit come from small, monthly donors (source). 

“One of our donors had given us only $2k in their entire lifetime. That is only $100 a year for 20 years. When they passed, we received a $62k gift.” Guiding Light, Money for Ministry Client

Why Is It So Important?

Did you know that the greatest transfer of wealth in history will happen in the next three years? (source) We are in the middle of history’s biggest wealth transfer.  Experts report that between now and 2050, somewhere between $30 to $60 trillion will change hands from this generation to the next (source). 

This is where nonprofits step in! People want to be inspired by a mission for their community. Not only are people drawn to positive social change, they are drawn to the hero’s journey. Inspiration over information. (source) Once they see the incredible impact your organization is making, they will want in on it! Including your nonprofit in their will may seem like a small gesture as a result of this, but it has a huge benefit.

Long-Term Thinking

Planned giving means playing the long game. No, you will not see the return on investment right away. But, patience brings success, my friend. If a supporter includes you in their will, you may not see that fruition for years, but I promise when you do see it, you will be thanking yourself! 

What does this exactly mean? Invest in your supporters. You may be thinking you’re doing fine and getting by with the support you have now, but gaining new donors is key. Gaining them from different generations is even better. Think about whose hands that transfer of wealth is going to…millennials, gen Z, and so on! 

Does this still sound incredibly confusing to you? Does your nonprofit just not have the bandwidth to take on planned giving? Do not fret! Our friends at Money for Ministry are a great solution. They help Christian nonprofits achieve a sustainable financial future through their planned giving program. 

Do you need help building your donor base in order to increase your planned giving potential?

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6 Things to Consider Before Picking your Font Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:31:26 +0000 The post 6 Things to Consider Before Picking your Font appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


6 things to consider before
picking your font

Fonts are scary, we get it. It seems like there are a million options, so how on earth are you supposed to pick thee one for your brand? Before you get overwhelmed and settle for Helvetica, let’s unpack what exactly is in a font. 

 Sidenote: Typeface refers to a family of fonts, such as Helvetica. Font refers to a specific weight and style, such as Helvetica Bold.

1. personality

Fonts pack a punch. But it’s such a subtle punch that you don’t even notice. The world around you is talking in two languages – what the message is, and how it is shown. Script fonts are elegant and female. Bold ones are loud and masculine. There are some fonts with rounded corners that are playful, and some with sharp edges that demand attention. Take some time to think through the personality of your own brand, and then explore font styles that match. 

Of course, always consider how the message will be received in the chosen font…

    2. history

    We can thank Johannes Gutenberg in 1440s Germany for the invention of the Gutenberg press, which started the snowball of modern-day printing. Serif fonts were created with the little flourishes on the end so that typesetters could easily line the individual letters up on the press. As technology advanced, the flourishes became purely decorative and the sans serif fonts without the flourishes were born. 

    These two styles of fonts – serif and sans serif – pack a lot of subconscious personality into your brand. Think of established brands such as banks, lawyers, and financial advisors. Most of them will use a serif font in their logo and throughout their brand to show stability and trust. Now consider Silicon Valley brands such as Facebook, Google, and Uber. Brands that want to come across as innovative will stick to sans serif.

    3. readability

    Have you ever tried to read your doctor’s notes on your prescription and for the life of you can’t make out what he/she scribbled? Fonts can have that same effect. You could have written the most poetic message to your donors that will bring them to tears, but if you picked a handwritten font that isn’t legible, it won’t matter. 

    When considering a body copy font that will be used at small sizes, serifs are the safer option. “Serifs have an important role in the readability of type, providing…accentuation to the ends of strokes that may help the reader read faster and avoid fatigue.” (Rubinstein (1988)

    4. uniqueness

    Helvetica. Times New Roman. Papyrus. These are all very well-known fonts that have been used in a wide array of brands, and in turn, aren’t memorable at all. When considering your font(s) to be carried throughout your brand, make sure you aren’t picking cookie-cutter options.

    This is one reason we created a custom font for Mel Trotter Ministries. When you just can’t find the right typeface to represent your organization, creating your own is an exciting process. Each letter is carefully crafted with your organization and your donors in mind. In this case, we used a serif base to represent the history and trustworthiness of Mel Trotter Ministries, but added upbeat flourishes on the lowercase letters to add personality and optimism.

      5. pairing

      Like all great wines, fonts have carefully picked pairings. A good rule to remember is that opposites attract, and it’s usually a good idea to pair a serif and sans serif together. Pick one as your dominant headline font that best represents your brand as described above. From there, try and find one that compliments your headline. 

      Take the font pairing for Money for Ministry as an example. Their brand personality is: 

      • Clean
      • Knowledgeable
      • Dynamic 
      • Energetic
      • Faithful
      • Collaborative

      From these characteristics, we picked a sans serif called Karla. It is clean and has rounded corners to make it approachable. To balance this out and represent the knowledge and trust of Money for Ministry, we picked a serif font called Vollkorn. It grounds the brand as being trusted and established. Together, these two fonts tell Money for Ministry’s brand story.  

      5. your mission

      We know you spend hours, if not days, weeks, or months crafting your messaging, from your mission statement to captivating headlines to even your organization’s name. Equal weight should be put on how it is said as what is said. The font is the container of your messages, so it needs to heighten it. Check out these examples and see if you can get a feel for the organization before even reading the message.

      Are your brand fonts working for your nonprofit, or are they just not clicking anymore? Reach out to us for guidance or to get the ball rolling on creating your very own custom font

      PSA: please don’t use comic sans.

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      4 Ways to Keep it Personal during COVID-19 Mon, 21 Sep 2020 19:42:19 +0000 The post 4 Ways to Keep it Personal during COVID-19 appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      4 ways to keep it personal during COVID-19

      Let’s face it. You’re struggling to keep that personal connection with your donors. How can we inspire donors to give when everyone is still being affected by this pandemic? Now is the time to wrangle up your most innovative, problem solving, mission-minded colleagues and make a plan. 

      Here are four ways to strengthen donor relationships that we love – and think you will too!

       1. consistent emails

      “Email marketing is an excellent way to get up-to-date messages in front of leads who have already subscribed to your business.” Justin Wenokur

      The average open rate for nonprofit emails is 20.39%. That means if you have 1,000 contacts on your email list, 204 of them would open up the email. Now that doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s higher than other industries. Why is this? Because people are interested in news from their favorite nonprofits!

      So – keep your donors and sponsors in the loop. It is important to supply a visual representation of what your nonprofit has been doing to keep up during COVID-19. Sending out a virtual impact report or newsletter is a great way to pack information into one concise piece for donors to review. Be honest about the struggles, challenges, and breakthroughs you are experiencing. Add in a call-to-action and BAM! You’ve got support.

      2. lunch on us 

      What’s for dinner tonight? Whether that question comes on a commute home or after a failed attempt at a dinner for two, consumers around the world are turning to food delivery apps to get their grub more than ever.” Thinknum

      “People are more likely to give more to those whom they have a closer relationship with than those that are of an acquaintance level.” (Erika Stoerkel, MSc) Show your supporters that you not only care about them, but local businesses too. If it’s in your budget, have food or a service delivered from a local shop or restaurant to your donors or partners home or office. You could even try to partner with a local business and both benefit from the act of kindness. Another option is to send a discount code for Doordash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats. Include a personal note or message from your staff. It’s the thoughtful things that count.

      3. video updates

      “Donors want to hear an Executive Director’s or CEO’s perspective on the crisis, as well as his or her plans for moving forward amid tremendous uncertainty.” Suzanne Hilser-Wiles

      Send individual videos to donors and sponsor groups directly from the CEO, giving an update on your nonprofit and their plans of action. A personal video is more likely to be well-received than other forms of outreach.

      Create “How to Stay Connected” videos that can be sent to all stakeholders. You can share ideas that will empower each person to stay connected with your mission, whether that is participating in your virtual events, getting out of the house and into nature, or volunteering in unique ways. Be a light in the darkness. 

      4. virtual events

      “Setting aside financial and logistical issues for a minute (and there are plenty of them!), marketing leaders must determine whether they can create a memorable experience in an online setting that will meet/exceed your attendees’ expectations for the value they would have received in person.” Laura Ramos

      Host an online event such as a fundraiser, virtual run, or online auction. It is possible! This is a great way to get donors and sponsors engaged without being face to face. Your team has gotten you this far through the pandemic, why not take your fundraising to the next level? Learn more ways to make your event successful here.

      Another option is to have your supporters sign up to host a small party themselves. Send an event basket filled with everything they would need to host a gathering. This can include food, games, collateral, and more. Include a video link (5-10 minutes) to play during the event that embodies your nonprofit’s mission. End it with a call-to-action!

      Remember to always keep storytelling at the heart of these ideas. Make it personal by keeping people at the center of your brand. Gather stories that demonstrate the heart of your mission and tell them in memorable ways. 

      Want to learn even more ways to keep it personal? Need help executing some of these bright ideas? We have a few more tricks up our sleeves. 

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      How To Make Your Event Virtually Amazing Fri, 04 Sep 2020 17:56:35 +0000 The post How To Make Your Event Virtually Amazing appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      how to make your event virtually amazing

      With COVID guidelines still in full swing and year-end fundraisers quickly approaching, there is a lot to consider while hosting an event. Should it be in person? Maybe outside? Or should it be virtual? But how in the world do you host a virtual event? 

      Fear not! Here are some basic tips, tricks, and guidelines for hosting a virtual event.

      be optimistic

      Having a virtual event is new and stressful, but there are ways it can be better than an in-person event! You may be able to have more people attend if it’s online. Instead of limiting your attendees to one group of people, you can appeal to a larger crowd, which (hopefully!) means more donations. Encourage your guests to invite family members to watch the event with them, the more the merrier! (socially distanced, of course)

      Take advantage of this opportunity and ask for guests’ names, emails, and addresses. Is that too much? No! It’s for a good reason. Once you have this information, you can send your guests personalized packets before the event date. This could include the event program, swag, pledge card, etc. You can also send email updates with instructions on how to access the virtual event. BONUS: you now have expanded your email and address lists for future promotions.

      book a video production company

      Yes, this is an extra expense, but think about the money you are saving with this event. You don’t have to book a venue, caterer, photographer, etc. This is a crucial way for you to deepen your relationship with donors. It’s much harder to create an emotional connection without video. Therefore, it will be worthwhile to have professional help on the day of your event. Especially if this is one of your main fundraising events of the year. You don’t want a major hiccup to happen and end up losing your audience. 

      Recommendations for video production companies:

      promote your sponsors

      Some nonprofits may think it would be hard to find sponsors because there won’t be as many opportunities for awareness during the event. Wrong! There are many opportunities for you to promote your generous sponsors. In between sessions, offer a minute or two for sponsors to introduce themselves. Send promotional materials in the event packet mentioned earlier. Include mentions of your sponsors in emails before and after the event. Here is an article with even more ways to promote your sponsors during an online fundraiser.

      have an online auction

      An online auction is a great way to keep your audience engaged before and during your virtual event! Take photos and list your items a week before to get the bids going. Then, periodically mention to your viewers to head over to your online auction to get their bids in by the end of the night. Once bidding is closed, announce the winners live! Want more tips on how to host an online auction? Check out this article for tips!

      pre-record your videos

      This may seem like a daunting task, but trust us, you will be much less stressed if at least part of your event is prerecorded. You could either hire a videographer to take videos of the speakers and edit them, or take them yourself. As long as you follow guidelines on how to take a good video, smartphones can do the trick! 

      A few simple guidelines to follow:

      Good, natural lighting

      Simple backgrounds with no distractions

      No barking dogs or crying babies in the background

      Recorded horizontally, not vertically (from a smartphone)

      Be sure to have good audio

      have a live host

      Having a person to host your event live will make the experience more engaging, especially if you pre-record your lineup. This will break up the virtual event and show viewers you are present. If your event turns into a movie, your donors may get too cozy to show any support. Take who you would normally have hosting your in-person event and ask them to host the event live. This is where a production company can be handy. 

      You have a unique opportunity here and it is time to take advantage of it! Don’t let the rules and regulations of COVID-19 depict the outcome of your fundraising event. Get a team together and start planning. We believe you can organize an event that will be virtually impossible to miss. 

      Don’t take on this endeavor by yourself. Your Scott Allen friends are here to help.

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      How to Define your Target Audience Mon, 03 Aug 2020 17:41:11 +0000 The post How to Define your Target Audience appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      how to define your

      target audience


      If we had a nickel for every time we asked a nonprofit who they wanted to reach, and their answer was “everyone,” well, we could take that team retreat to the Bahamas we’ve always dreamed about. Why is it bad to appeal to everyone? Doesn’t that mean more chances to attract donors? Not always.

      Take a moment to consider the two websites shown below.

      Very different, right? Do Something is tailored to a younger audience and donor base, while Feeding America is more traditional for an older donor base. When you can nail down what type of person will be most inspired by your mission, you can zero in on the messages they respond to. Then you can get the most ROI from your touchpoints with them.

      When brands try to appeal to every waking person, what results is an ugly shade of beige. A blah brand that doesn’t really inspire anyone, because it’s trying too hard to inspire everyone.

      Luckily, Scott Allen Creative is an expert at zeroing in on those needle-in-the-haystack people who will latch onto your mission for life. In our process with every nonprofit, we take time to identify those niche people. A tool we love to use is Claritas Prizm Segments. It’s a resource that splits demographics up into 68 categories, conveniently separated by age, socioeconomic status, education, employment, family members, and much more.

      We love this tool because it gives educated estimates on what each group values, down to their type of car and favorite TV shows. Scary, right?

      Let’s take a look at Segment 28- Country Casuals. Let’s call this couple Jean and Paul Sothers.

      “Today, these baby boomer couples enjoy outdoor activities, like hunting and buying locally grown food, but are not likely to be up-to-date on technology.”

      Okay, we’ve already learned that a savvy email-campaign might not be the best way to reach Jean and Paul. What else can we gather?

      “US Households: 2,321,807
      Median Household Income: $76,825″

      We won’t be asking for a large, one-time donation from the Sothers. They would most likely respond to a planned giving campaign.

      On the weekends, Paul goes hunting and watches NASCAR with his buddies, while Jean shops at the local Dillard’s. While this is less of an obvious clue, it might point us in the direction of some nonprofits that they would support, such as Neighborworks or Salvation Army.

      To proactively market Jean and Paul, we would recommend sending out a mailer or newsletter to them during the week with some information on how to join a planned giving program. Bam! Your marketing dollars being spent intelligently.

      Take a moment to explore the Claritas demographic segments on your own. Does your nonprofit have 2-3 specific segments you are targeting? Do you need some help figuring out who they are? Give us a call, we would love to help!

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      Make Brand Standards Your Standards Tue, 28 Jul 2020 14:17:05 +0000 The post Make Brand Standards Your Standards appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      make brand standards

      your standards

      Ever wonder what sets a thriving nonprofit organization apart from its competition? We know that in order to be taken seriously in the nonprofit world, your brand must be consistent and cohesive with its brand standards. Well, what makes a brand, a brand? A brand is any service, product, person, company, or concept with something exciting that distinguishes them from their competition. Sounds simple, right? Well, as important as all of that is you have to be certain to keep it cohesive. Let’s talk about putting together a brand standards guide, and why it’ll keep you on track.

      Brand standard guides are a perfect reference for company newbies, interns that might need to familiarize, or even design agencies hired to create a new campaign for your nonprofit. This ensures that everyone knows what can and can’t be implemented to showcase the brand. The brand standards guide is also a helpful reference point for ongoing material such as social media. It is important to circle back and reference what is and isn’t allowed to be posted on certain platforms, and what the overall presence should look and sound like. But, there is more to a brand than the shiny envelope you package it in. Your brand’s appearance and its voice must align.


      Consistency is key. You’ve heard this before, right? To be consistent is to hold a standard of similarity or uniformity; it is to be unchanging in nature or standard. So, why is brand consistency so important? For starters, many people subconsciously gravitate towards brands or companies with a consistent brand identity. Let’s uncover why:

        • When a nonprofit has consistent brand standards, a donor can immediately recognize that this nonprofit cares about the way their mission is perceived.
        • This nonprofit’s mission automatically has more credibility. According to Millennium Agency, “Having a strong, well-known brand enhances your credibility with customers, your industry, and the marketplace as a whole. As you build your credibility, you also build recognition, loyalty, and competitiveness. Everything goes hand-in-hand, and you’ll find that your credibility has a direct connection to customers ease of purchase.” A fantastic example of a nonprofit with a consistent and credible online presence is the The Metropolitan Museum of ArtAnother credible organization would be Oceana. Both examples show off powerful brand cohesiveness. 

      Crowdspring went ahead and gathered a few statistics proving that well-designed platforms perform significantly better.

      “According to Adobe, companies with a strong design outperform companies with a weak design by 219% on the S&P Index (a stock market index) over the span of 10 years.”

      “In fact, 48% of people surveyed by Tyton Media said that the website design of a business was their number one factor in determining the credibility of that business.”


      what’s in a guide?

      Typically, a brand standard guide contains a few key ingredients. The content may vary, but generally the guide will detail visual styles, voice and tone, and brand ideologies. Let’s discuss what those key ingredients look like.


      It is important to set a strong tone of voice for your nonprofit. Do you want to come off as approachable and friendly? Do you want to sound serious and down to business?The tone will be weighed by the product or service you provide. For instance, your local zoo might want to come off as friendly and approachable, like the guides and zookeepers are your best buds. A domestic violence organization may want to voice a more serious tone in order to assure you are in responsible hands. 

      A great example of a friendly nonprofit would be the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo does a wonderful job of engaging its visitors both in person and online. Their baby hippo, Fiona has taken the internet by storm, and their voice is cheerful and fun when highlighting animals like her on their heavily followed social media platforms. Your nonprofit’s voice must stretch well beyond your marketing.

      A company that gives off a comforting yet serious tone is the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They keep things to the point, while ensuring their audience that they can find support. They even go as far as ensuring website visitors are able to reach out for help discretely if they are in dangerous situations.


      When it comes to consistency, you want to ensure your logo is not everchanging. Your logo is the first thing donors will recognize, so your simplified logo mark must be a substantial representation of that. A few timeless logos are World Wildlife Fund, UNICEF, and the American Red Cross.

      color palette

      When choosing colors, keep a select few for your color palette, and only a couple of secondary alternatives to pair them with. Colors pack a psychological punch, so be sure to use ones that are associated with your mission. For example, pink emotes compassion, whereas blue evokes sadness. An example of a nonprofit that uses bright colors to convey the joys of youth would be Girl Scouts of the USA. An example of a more serious tone would be the ACLU with dark grays, and black paired with moodier purples and noble golds.


      When choosing typefaces that speak to your brand’s voice, be sure you are selective with your headline choice, while keeping your subheadlines and body copy in sync. Family Promise of Arizona has a typeface that is specifically used when something is to be read in “the voice of a child”. This typeface is a depiction of a child’s handwriting. When Family Promise needs to convey a more serious matter, the fonts switch to a professional san-serif. These font choices will give strength to your message while also carrying consistency through your brand.

      photography and assets

      When implementing photography, make sure your stylistic choices are matched with the personality your brand is portraying.Use imagery that brings the heart of your mission to life.  There are many different styles of photography, so when you are looking for something to fit your nonprofit’s mood, you have a few options to consider. Do you want your imagery to portray an elated mood, or are you looking to say something more serious? This goes hand-in-hand with setting your tone. Brighter imagery with smiling subjects will set a more hopeful mood, where you would find that black and white imagery may not be able to convey that as well.

      Donors will be much more likely to respond positively to your nonprofit if you visibly have your “ducks in a row” so to speak. By keeping your brand’s appearance uniform, and ensuring your organization’s voice stays within the same tone, your brand will already have an upperhand among the competition. Not sure where to start? 

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      Unify with your Why Tue, 07 Jul 2020 13:52:41 +0000 The post Unify with your Why appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      unify with your why

      Does it feel like you’re saying the same thing time and time again, but the message isn’t getting through? And we’re not talking about those you work with (we’re not gonna get into that) – we are talking about your donors.

      unify the message

      The thing is, you may be communicating the same message consistently, but is everyone else inside your organization sharing the same message? Studies have shown that people need to see a message at least seven times before it sinks in. (source) 

      A donor needs to see your message an average of 7 times for it to resonate with them. 

      If your event, print, and digital communications are being created by different people, there’s a good chance your donor is hearing completely different messages, and even worse, not retaining any of it. 

      How do you avoid this? Easy. Determine your why.

      This one idea gets at the heart of why your organization does what it does. Not you – your organization. Keep that in mind. No matter who is saying it – whether it’s you, the executive director, board member, volunteer coordinator, etc. – everyone is communicating the same why. 

      The why is absolutely critical to your communications. Think of it as a theme woven throughout all of your messaging. It motivates your staff, donors, and volunteers. It attracts a person to an organization. 

      So how do you determine your why?  Good question. Think about why your organization does what it does. Perhaps a few examples will help. Let’s start with one most everyone will recognize. 


      For more than 30 years, just do it  has been Nike’s why. No matter a person’s abilities – or lack thereof – they want you to feel inspired to go for it. Just do it. The beauty of their why is that it extends beyond athletics and into everyday life. 

      Preparing to run a marathon at 80 years old? Just do it.
      Make the game-winning shot – from your wheelchair? Just do it.
      Want to be the first female to coach your team to a Superbowl win? Just do it. 

      These moments inspire everyone to just do it. It motivates them to take the next step. To go back to school or quit their dead-end job. This why is what makes Nike’s messaging so successful 30+ years later.  

      So let’s bring this to a nonprofit level.


      Association for the Blind & Visually Impaired (ABVI) helps those with significant vision loss live their best life. But how do you say that in a way that’s unique and memorable?   

           I lost my sight, not my vision.

      It gets at the idea that life isn’t over for someone living with vision loss. A person can still live life to the fullest and achieve their dreams.

      70×7 life recovery

      70×7 Life Recovery wants men and women to see themselves loved by God after they’re released from jail or prison. Their why?

           Freed for life

      Every one of their programs – job training, mentoring, family support, etc. – exist to help a person be freed for life by staying out of incarceration and living in the love of Jesus Christ.

      repetition is key

      Once you’ve established your why, it needs to be evident in everything you say. It’s the element that unifies your messaging.  Do you have a newsletter? The name of the newsletter can reflect this theme. ABVI named their newsletter Vision.  Make it obvious on the headlines of your webpage. 70×7’s mentoring webpage headline is Freed to Lead

      And, YES, it’s okay to use the same content across numerous communication platforms. Remember, a message needs to be seen an average of 7 times before it inspires action. This is exactly the type of consistency that’s needed to unify your messaging so donors actually hear, and more importantly, remember your message. 

      So what’s your why?
      Not sure? Let’s team up to figure it out.

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      Renovating your Brand Thu, 25 Jun 2020 19:17:20 +0000 The post Renovating your Brand appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      renovating your brand

      A refinished website is a beautiful and powerful tool, and we don’t need a lengthy description of why that is. But just like a renovated home, the shiny outcome is the product of blood, sweat, tears, and probably some beer. Take a look at how we stripped 70×7 Life Recovery back to its studs and reimagined their whole brand.

      Previous logo and website homepage

      1. vision

      Joanna Gaines taught us well. To build something new, you’ve got to have a vision. What are the goals of the nonprofit? Increased donations is always a must-have, but what about website traffic? Event attendance? A need for experienced staff? For 70×7, their must-have list looked like this:

      • Build a donor base to sustain them financially
      • Attract passionate mentors with a strong brand
      • Better recognition as a re-entry program instead of a rehab facility
      2. demolition

      This is our research process. (A lot less exciting than smashing a wall, we know). But the concept is the same: Get rid of the fluff and find out what is truly important at the heart of the brand. For 70×7, we discovered their key components were:

      • Going the Extra Mile: 70×7 Life Recovery looks beyond getting somebody a job. They take the time to get to know the member and to match them with the right job and resources. The mentorship doesn’t stop once a job is secured, unlike a lot of the competition.
      • Rooted in Faith: 70×7 Life Recovery is the only faith-based organization offering a complete and results-driven program. The name 70×7 comes from Bible verses Matthew 18:21-22: “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
      • Real-World Relatability: A significant percentage of the 70×7 staff are ex-offenders, are in drug or alcohol recovery, or have been directly affected by someone who is. This helps them in recruiting participants and working with them as they can understand their situation in a unique, real-world sense. 
      • Impact in Numbers: Lastly, 70×7 Life Recovery’s recidivism rate is under 4%, compared to 68% nationally and 28% for the state of Michigan. This makes their success rate over 96%!
      3. foundation

      Would you buy a house with a failing foundation? No. So why would a donor give to a brand with a weak foundation? A brand needs to be strong, solid, and timeless. This includes the logo, colors, type, and key messages. Having this sets the entire organization up for success for decades to come. Here is a look at the foundation we laid for 70×7:

      See the full brand here

      4. crunch-time

      Now is the time that is highlighted in 3 minutes, but actually takes 3 months. This is the behind-the-scenes of building a library of images to be used, writing, re-writing, and fine-tuning copy, and finding the PERFECT doorknob for that rustic door. It’s hard work, but once you take a step back, the end result is always worth it. For 70×7, here’s what crunch time resulted in:

      • E-News template
      • Social Media assets
      • Corporate collateral
      • Library of images, all customized with a branded filter
      • System of brand statements to inspire
      • Fully custom website

      See the full website here

      5. move-in

      Just like you can’t move into the new bedroom while the entire house is still ripped up, you can’t release part of your brand until the whole thing is done. See our blog on how to successfully launch your brand for more on this. Anyway, once 70×7 moved-in to their new brand, the impact was immediate. A high-giving donor said:

      “I took a peek at the website last night. Like most of us, I’ve looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of websites; and frankly they don’t do much to trip my trigger. This is an incredible exception. I was absolutely floored! I literally had tears welling in my eyes. Informative, succinct & compelling narrative. Beautiful colors. I could go on and on. INCREDIBLE job team. I’m SO proud. I believe this very well might be the most well done site I’ve ever seen!”

      Wow, is that how Chip and Joanna feel once they reveal the newly remodeled home? We could get used to this. #passioninspires

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      Coronavirus + Nonprofits Wed, 18 Mar 2020 17:23:16 +0000 The post Coronavirus + Nonprofits appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      coronavirus + nonprofits

      This is a strange and confusing time in the world right now. The Coronavirus pandemic is influencing so many areas of our lives – including the nonprofit organizations we support. Fundraising galas are being canceled. Volunteers are being asked to stay home. Desperately needed supplies are back-ordered. In a time when we all need to unite, we’re being asked to stay away from one another.

      Well, let’s find the silver lining in all of this. Here are a few ideas on how to make this crisis a time of opportunity for your nonprofit.


      1. be straight up about fundraising events

      If you are a nonprofit that has to postpone or even cancel a gala, let your donors know how much this is affecting you. Galas can bring in a huge amount of nonprofit’s funding for the year. Tell donors how much you typically raise from your fundraiser. And then ask for their help. Here are a few ways:

        • Donate – Ask them to donate the cost of their ticket or make the donation they would have made at the event.
        • Online auction – Host an online auction with the materials or products donated to your event. Send an announcement out a few days prior and host a livestream on Facebook or Instagram.
        • Virtual event – Were you supposed to have keynote speakers at your event? This can still happen – virtually. Have them record themselves giving their speech and post it on social media, or in an e-blast. See how a charity in Seattle launched a four-day virtual party and surpassed its fundraising goals.
        • Reach out – Have your gifts officer reach out to people who were supposed to attend your event. A simple phone call can go a long way. Be honest about how you are dealing with this situation, but stay positive.

      2. other ways to give

      The reality is, nonprofits are losing money because of this virus. The other reality is, nonprofits serve people who will struggle most from social distancing. Service industries are shutting down, schools are closing, and stress is high. Give your supporters as many opportunities to give as you can so you can continue to help those who need it most.

        • Digital giving campaign – Come up with a simple campaign idea and launch it on any and all platforms. Email, social media, website, etc. Here is a resource on how to effectively create a digital campaign.
        • Rewrite your appeal – Has your spring appeal gone out yet? If it hasn’t, consider rewriting parts of it to incorporate how your nonprofit is fairing this storm. Be very clear, concise, and honest about the impact this is having on the people you serve. If you have already sent your appeal out, follow up with an email on how much much the Coronavirus is affecting your organization. Remember, keep your messaging optimistic.
      3. get creative

      Right now, we are playing the waiting game. Everyone has been sequestered to their homes and cabin fever is real. Take this opportunity to be innovative and encourage people to take action!

      • Live tours – Do you have a new project or space you have been working on? People love seeing life on the inside of a business. Give them a virtual tour of your space. Let them see how this mayhem has brought innovation and creativity to your mission.
      • Instagram takeovers – This is a great way to let your supporters experience different points of view throughout your nonprofit. Give your login information to one of your clients, staff members, etc. and let them show what a day-in-the-life looks like. People love getting the inside scoop on exactly who they are supporting. Reminding the community who you are serving can drive donors to give to make an even greater impact.
      • Highlight the good – In the midst of the chaos that this virus is bringing to our communities, people need to hear the good stories that can come out of this. There is a positive side to everything. Call out someone you recognize as doing some good. Share a story of someone being a good neighbor. People need to see how in times of struggle, there is always hope.
      • Other than money – What about the people who aren’t able to give financially? Can they give in another way? Be inventive by offering other opportunities for individuals or families to give. Can they write cards for homebound residents? Can supporters send food? Homemade meals? Sack lunches? Give the people at home something to do!
      • Start conversations – Communication is key right now. Ask your supporters questions. Give them a phone call. Send out a questionnaire. Ask your followers on social media. What are they doing to push through this pandemic? Are they doing anything remotely to help support the community? Share those ideas. Give more ideas. Make this experience a conversation.

      To sum things up – be honest, ask for help, and get creative. But don’t forget to thank. Show your supporters how appreciative you are of their assistance. Send video acknowledgments, handwritten thank you notes, texts, and phone calls. This shows just how much their support means to your organization. Without them, the community wouldn’t be the same. 

      When times are tough, the best of humanity needs to come out. We need to relay the importance of helping others along with yourself. We need to be a true community. And together, we can.

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      Cut the Crap: What’s the Best Way to do an Appeal? Fri, 07 Feb 2020 15:34:19 +0000 The post Cut the Crap: What’s the Best Way to do an Appeal? appeared first on Scott Allen Creative.


      cut the crap: what’s the best way to do an appeal? 

      Here in the nonprofit world, spring appeals are about to flood our inboxes, our mailboxes, and our wallet-boxes. Over the years, we have been privy to many strategies on how to get the most impact with your appeal, and it seems everyone has different theories on what strategy works the best. We cut the crap, rolled up our sleeves, and got real. What exactly is the best way to appeal?

      1. Method

      As your donor base ages, so will the method of receiving donations via direct mail. A study done in 2018 found that 18% of baby boomers, 9% of Gen Xers, and 6% of millenials are most inspired to give by direct mail. Meanwhile, social media giving is quickly rising in popularity. 39% of millennials, 33% of Gen Xers, and 19% of baby boomers are most inspired to give by social media. (Source) Consider running social media ad campaigns around your appeal and invest heavily in a Giving Tuesday campaign after Thanksgiving. 

      All generations across the board prefer giving online as opposed to cash, transfers, or check in the mail. (Source)

      2. Hero’s Journey – wait, who is the hero again?

      We are all familiar with the idea that an appeal should be written like a story. Most of us have been taught to make the donor the hero. But what if this is backwards? Some nonprofits struggle with an “us vs. them” mentality that results in issues with donor retention. The true heroes of the story should be the people (or animals) who are overcoming their adversity with the help of their guide (the nonprofit and donor). Here, we have re-organized the typical hero’s journey for you.

      3. Segment

      Have slightly different appeals for different levels of donors. If you have one donor that is stuck giving $50/month, push them an appeal asking for $75/month. Lapsed donors? They need their own special appeal. The limits are endless, but we caution to only embark down this road if your CRM is organized enough to handle this list separation.

      Mailchimp allows you to segment your emails based on sign-up date. When used, companies reported open rates 29.56% higher than non-segmented campaigns. Mailchimp also has a feature to allow new sign-ups to indicate what their interests are. If you’re a multi-faceted nonprofit, consider creating interest groups based on different areas of your nonprofit. Organizations that utilize this reported click-rates 74.53% higher than non-segmented campaigns. (Source)

      4. Have Impactful Design

      Never underestimate the power of a good photo. There is a reason photography outperforms graphics by miles on social media: people love to connect with other people. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Source)

      Invest time into a quality photoshoot with the subject of your appeal. Get good lighting. Get good angles. Get candid shots. You know, everything those 22-year-old Instagram influencers manage to do so well. It will pay off with increased donations, trust us. 

      Keep the colors consistent with your brand. That’s all we have to say about that. 

      Type size and style
      Keep it simple and easy. Stay away from handwritten fonts, no matter how tempting it seems to make it look like it was written by an actual person. We all know it wasn’t written by an actual person.

      Okay, now you are ready to spring into your spring appeals. Sorry everyone, that was our last joke. May your appeals be appealing!

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