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1 min Read
October 25, 2016

Does your organization have Laundry List Syndrome?

We’re not doctors here at Big Duck, but that doesn’t mean we’re not diagnosticians. A big part of how we help nonprofits is by tapping their knees and asking them to say “Ahhh” so we can determine exactly what it is that’s ailing them.

One of the most common conditions we find is something we call “Laundry List Syndrome.” Untreated, it can weaken an organization’s communications and ultimately affect their ability to maintain their work over time. To help nonprofits self-diagnose, we decided it was time to put out a bulletin.
What is LLS?

Once you know what you’re looking for, the symptoms are easy to spot. Organizations suffering from LLS often find themselves only able to talk about their organization in terms of the programs they run; unable to tell the larger story that weaves their work together. And once they mention one program, they end up listing them all. That means potential supporters are left with a nice long list of names—and little sense of why or what the organization as a whole does.

Who’s at risk?

Larger organizations with lots of programs and a weak organizational brand.

What’s the cure?

Luckily, LLS is quite curable. We’ve found that the best treatment combines a rigorous brandraising process with a course of brand architecture. When staff has a story to tell about the organization as a whole, they won’t need to resort to listing every program and every initiative. And when they do need to discuss what goes on at the program level, having clean brand architecture will give them the tools they need to ladder those programs up to their organizational messaging.

Is your organization suffering from LLS? Not sure? We can help! Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do.


Maya Ovrutsky

Maya Ovrutsky is the Former Director of Client Experience, Member-Owner at Big Duck

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