5 ways to determine whether your tagline is working

Your organization’s name and tagline are two of the most effective ways to communicate what your nonprofit does and why. Do you wonder whether your tagline is a good one? If so, answer the following questions.

1. Does your tagline compliment your name?

If your name is straightforward and descriptive you may need a tagline that invokes emotion. If your name is more emotional than descriptive, a descriptive tagline can provide the clarity that explains what it is you do. Emotional names with emotional taglines can be confusing and descriptive names with descriptive taglines tend to be boring, so look for the compliment.

2. Is your tagline audience-directed?

Taglines should answer the question, “Why should I care?” It is not about what We as an organization do, it is how we are changing YOUR life. Audience-directed taglines, either with an implied or overt YOU can be very powerful. We sometimes avoid these because we want our tagline to appeal to many audiences, so we just talk about ourselves and it feels safe. But taglines need to tell people who you are helping and why. This allows audiences to understand why they should care. Speaking directly to the benefits of your organization is very powerful.

3. Is your tagline more audience-directed than your mission statement.

Your mission statement is not a marketing tool. A mission statement guides an organization internally. It is not usually audience-directed. While your tagline needs to be supported by the mission statement, making your mission statement pull double duty as a tagline is asking too much. Consider a tagline that distills your mission statement into an audience-directed call to action instead.

4. Does your tagline explain what makes you different?

Most nonprofits work to change lives or empower communities. Taglines that use these words seem to work because they are true and sound powerful. But if your tagline can work for many other nonprofits, perhaps you need one that is more specific to your organization. Let’s assume everyone is trying to change one life, one child or one family at a time. Your tagline needs to include something that makes it specific to what you do, where you do it, or for whom specifically you do it. Tell us who you are helping and why.

5. Is your tagline memorable?

Memorable taglines are short, action-oriented, and capture the feeling or essence of an organization. If you or others in your organization have a hard time remembering your tagline, the likelihood of others remembering it is slim. Avoid jargon and acronyms that can’t be understood by people outside your nonprofit without explanation.

If you’re thinking, “Our tagline is a real clunker,” don’t worry, we can help!

Contact us so we can discuss how to make your tagline as powerful and memorable as the work you do.