Taglines are tricky things. They are supposed to say everything about an organization in a few short, descriptive and clever words. As lofty as that definition is, it is not unattainable. Taglines are worth the work it takes to create them. If you don't have one, or you have one that's not working, here's why you should invest in getting a good one.
1. Taglines say what makes your nonprofit different
Who cares about your nonprofit and why should they? You’re a great organization providing needed services, but what makes you any different from the other nonprofits in our community? Taglines help your audiences connect to your organization's impact on the community. Send Me St. Louis recently adopted the tagline, "REACH OUT. BUILD WITHIN." which speaks directly to pastors and congregation leaders, encouraging them to strengthen their congregations through the service and volunteer opportunities Send Me provides. Chesterfield Art’s tagline, “OUT WEST. OUT OF THE ORDINARY.” says they are different because of geography and the type of arts they exhibit.
2. Taglines bring emotion to a dry name
Organization names can be serviceable in that they accurately describe an organization's function, but might fall short in emotional appeal. A tagline can bring out the power and emotion in what your organization does. The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition uses the tagline, "FOR EVERY CHILD, A PLACE TO CALL HOME" which gives heart and meaning to their name, and connects audiences to their mission of finding homes for kids in foster care. Family Support Network’s tagline of “STRONGER FAMILIES. SAFER CHILDREN.” brings meaning and life to their name.
3. Taglines help describe an obtuse name
If your organization’s name is emotional or not very descriptive, a descriptive tagline can help balance that out. It can answer the, "So what do you do?" question. The tagline may not explain everything, but it can explain enough so people get a general idea. Justine Petersen's tagline is "BUILDING ASSETS, CHANGING LIVES." The name does not tell you what the organization does, but the tagline suggests the financial support that they provide for their clients.
4. Taglines give donors something to remember about you
Donors want to know why they should connect with your organization. Taglines spell out that relationship and give them something to remember. Even if people don't remember the exact tagline, they can remember the feeling it inspired, or the idea of what makes you different. Big Brothers Big Sisters recently adopted the tagline, "BE THERE. FOR GOOD." letting the "good" work for them on several levels, as in be there for a long time and be there for the greater good of helping kids in the community. The thought is extended by replacing “good” for other typical Big/Little activities — Be there for laughs, Be there for ice cream, etc. It allows donors and potential Bigs to connect with the organization and to be inspired to volunteer or donate.
5. Taglines give your board and staff something to rally around
Those few short words remind everyone inside your organization of your distinct personality and mission, and galvanize your institution around that thought. St. Louis Effort for AIDS uses the tagline, "EDUCATION, TESTING AND SUPPORT FOR LIFE" to emphasize that the board and staff are committed to helping people affected by HIV/AIDS live fuller, healthier, longer lives. The tagline communicates the cause and provides inspiration for those working inside the organization.