2 min Read
November 6, 2018

Weaving campaigns into your bigger story

Will Nolan

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) has a simple approach for launching new campaigns so that they don’t come as a surprise to our community of families and supporters.

Whenever we have a new campaign or new messaging, we try to implement it gradually. This makes the new material feel organic, like a natural development of PPMD’s story, and not too campaign-y or surprising.

For example, if our holiday campaign has a new tagline or theme, we don’t just drop it on our community on the launch date. We start weaving in hints in the fall about what we will be fundraising for, the importance of that project to our community, and build a slow ramp up to the official launch.

Once we are ready to talk more aggressively about the new topic, our audiences are used to hearing about it from us, but not burned out. We also try to use messaging that has a longer shelf life than just a campaign or other short time period. Language that feels like it is part of our community’s vocabulary already will have longevity, beyond just that one year-end fundraising appeal.

We’ve seen great success practicing this gradual implementation approach when launching a holiday campaign theme in December, after that slow build through the fall. To make our winter campaign visuals and messaging feel like a seamless part of PPMD’s brand, we also weave them into our annual report, which we publish in the spring, and our annual conference in the summer.

I think that across the nonprofit sector, audiences are bombarded with lots of messages that can sometimes feel disconnected from the whole, especially during the four to six weeks of fundraising season. But when constituents feel like there is a longer story being told, they appreciate it because it makes them feel connected to an ongoing narrative.

Another approach we take is to make sure we are always talking to our community about the things they want us to be talking about, even if we have other topics we need to get them to care about too. We spend a good deal of time figuring out how to blend and balance what they want with what we want, so that when it comes time to support us, they feel like they’ve been heard, and also better understand what it is we are trying to accomplish as an organization.

Finally, we try to make sure that the signature elements of PPMD’s brand are easily useable for our large community of families. We’ve been particularly happy with our newest logo (thanks, Big Duck!) because it features a tagline that—during a month like September (Duchenne Action Month)—people want to share and use on social media, because it’s not so much about PPMD, but rather about joining the fight to end Duchenne. Even fans of “competing” organizations have embraced our new logo because at the heart of it is a clearly defined action and call to arms, if you will.

You can read more about Big Duck’s work with PPMD in this case study.