first strong team LLC

36-25 union st apt 9c
flushing, new york 11354

NYS Entity Status
ACTIVE

NYS Filing Date
JUNE 09, 2014

NYS DOS ID#
4589300

County
QUEENS

Jurisdiction
NEW YORK

Registered Agent
NONE

NYS Entity Type
DOMESTIC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Name History
2014 - FIRST STRONG TEAM LLC









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  • AROUND THE WEB

  • Needham Joins Final Nike/USL HSG Top 25 With Upset of Longmeadow
    By mschneider - Tuesday Jun 20, 2017

    Source: US Lacrosse Magazine
  • Lincoln-Sudbury Claims State Title to Round Out Final Nike/USL HSB Top 25
    By mschneider - Tuesday Jun 20, 2017

    Source: US Lacrosse Magazine
  • Lessons from the Atlanta Community Food Bank on rolling out a new brand
    Thursday Oct 27, 2016

    After months of meetings and presentations, your new brand is board approved. Huzzah! Time to ‘go live’! But before you do... pause! Taking time to craft a smart rollout plan will be a critical part of your rebrand process. A new brand is more likely to resonate and thrive if it’s rolled out both internally (to staff and board) and externally (to volunteers, donors, partners) with attention and care.

    Julie, Atlanta Community Food Bank: Success meant marrying mission with a refreshed look that would send a “get noticed” signal to the community. Hunger is a critical issue, and urgency around ending hunger in our community is vital, achievable, and is something we do together. Success was also very much getting consensus from multiple audiences (board, stakeholders, staff) that we were making the right move with the right look.

    Allison, Atlanta Community Food Bank: Success also meant that we not only got love from our staff and constituents, but also from the “old guard.” We have a lot of people at the Food Bank who are 20+ year employees, not to mention constituents who have been with us since our founder was working out of the basement of a local church. The blue and the cornucopia have been long-standing icons of the Food Bank for so long that changing these things felt very nerve wracking. Getting their buy-in was so important.

    Ally, Big Duck: Specifically, how did you engage your staff in the brand rollout?

    Julie, Atlanta Community Food Bank: This turned out, for us, to be our biggest pivot point. Consider, though, that our staff was pretty change-fatigued coming into this rollout on the heels of a onboarding a new CEO and weathering a massive re-org and launch of a new 10-year strategic plan. It became critical to consider how to engage staff, knowing they could not collectively play a big role in the actual design of the new logo and tagline. Making it fun and engaging became a vital concept. It was the little things that counted—a fun “trunk show” to unveil new brand uniform options; fun swag giveaways at staff meetings where we were simultaneously covering all of the necessary communications around the rollout; an engaging, ceremonial staff exercise and lots of cupcakes and goodies to sweeten the goodbye for a brand that had been near and dear for a long time. Must also say that one of our best investments, besides Big Duck, was the creation of a fun, light-hearted, celebratory brand launch video to say farewell to the old look and introduce the new!

    Allison, Atlanta Community Food Bank: To echo Julie’s comments, we also went department by department to go through the steps we took to get to the new brand and to show them how it would be implemented across different areas that may have meant the most to them (trucks, letterhead, etc.). Because we were so change-fatigued, the fact that we were careful to go to every single department and show them the new look helped.

    Ally, Big Duck: What has your community’s response been so far to the new brand?

    Julie, Atlanta Community Food Bank: Overwhelmingly positive. From our partner agencies to our stakeholders, board members and volunteers—just about everybody has said “We love the new look!” and has been proudly wearing the abundant amount of swag items we handed out.

    Allison, Atlanta Community Food Bank:
    There’s been a lot of revitalization about the Food Bank and what we’re doing because people are noticing the change. Wherever we can put the new brand, we are!

    Ally, Big Duck: What advice would you give to another nonprofit rolling out its brand?

    Julie, Atlanta Community Food Bank: 
    That there are a lot of moving parts—a LOT. Coming up with the new look is just the starting point. Fully planning how to make sure the brand is effectively launched, accepted and that it gets teed up for a long, highly visible life, is where the real work begins. It is really critical to build a well-constructed plan to consider everything from letting key stakeholders under the curtain early (no surprises), to how to get staff to turn in their old uniforms and wear the new ones, to planning far enough in advance for the simultaneous creation and rollout of new marketing collateral, etc…

    Allison, Atlanta Community Food Bank: Have Big Duck on your side. But also, making sure you’re keeping in mind ALL of the moving parts—for us, we had people who wanted to order items prior to our fiscal year ending, and identifying ALL of the places our logo lives, which was much more than we had anticipated.

    Ally, Big Duck:  While it’s early, can you share any anecdotes about what impact your new brand has made?  

    Julie, Atlanta Community Food Bank: Hunger exists every day for a whole lot of people—people you may not realize are finding it hard to put meals on the table. Having a new brand sends a bold signal into the community that there is a problem we can solve together. LET’S GO!

     

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Leading a nonprofit rebrand: Lessons learned from Good to Great
    Thursday Dec 1, 2016

    Behind the most successful nonprofit rebranding initiatives lies not just a great logo or perfectly phrased tagline, but also a strong leader and team of people who feel engaged in the process, motivated to give thoughtful feedback, and focused on the goals of the work—not just the work’s deliverables.

    In the book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, Jim Collins offers a powerfully simple metaphor for explaining what makes a good organization become a great one, which naturally applies to the work of nonprofit rebranding.

    You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.

    Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

    In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.

    Nonprofits embarking on big organizational shifts such as rebranding can also benefit from some of Collins’ thinking, shifting attention away from the “what” to the “who.” Inspired by his bus metaphor, we’ve assembled a few leadership lessons for nonprofits thinking about undergoing a significant rebrand. Safe travels.

    1. Invite the right passengers onboard the bus. Nonprofit rebranding is not a one-person job or a task managed exclusively by a consultant. Rebranding successfully requires assembling the right team for the journey as much as making decisions like what color your new logo should be. Strong leadership entails a well-thought-out plan for engagement and feedback from different areas of the organization—from staff inside and outside the communications team, to senior leadership, to the board, to outside experts and consultants. The earlier you know who needs to be on the bus, the better. 
    2. Get the right butts in the right seats. Effective nonprofit leaders don’t just invite the right people on the bus, they think about getting the right people in the right seats. For nonprofit rebranding, that means mapping out the responsibilities and expectations of those involved in the process based on their connection to the organization and areas of expertise, and clearly communicating how the ultimate decisions will be made. A RACI chart is a helpful tool to employ when rebranding: it clarifies roles and responsibilities, making sure that nothing falls through the cracks. RACI charts also prevent confusion by assigning clear ownership for tasks and decisions. We’ve seen that strong nonprofit leaders don't shoulder the full responsibility for decision making or obscure how the decision will ultimately be made or who will make it. 
    3. Agree upon the destination. Now that you have the right people in the right seats, work on defining and communicating the destination. Jim Collins explains that this is where many leaders fall short—they start first with the “what” and then shift to the “who.” In the case of the nonprofit rebrand, that means getting aligned about what the rebrand is ultimately in service of (fundraising? greater awareness? advocacy?), identifying who the right audiences are to achieve that goal, and clarifying the strategies to reach them. As a leader, it’s your job to ensure that everyone understands and is bought into what the destination is and how you’ll get there. If everyone on the bus has a different destination in mind, then it’s going to be a tough journey. Some of the most challenging rebrand processes we’ve been a part of happen when key people involved lose sight of why they’re doing this. It’s the leader’s job to keep that vision alive. 
    4. Expect some potholes. Change is hard, and rebranding is no exception. The more you can embrace the idea that challenges will be part of the process—and better yet, see them coming before anyone else does—the better shape you’ll be in. People will disagree, and the work might not be “it” the first time around. Rebranding is a process, and as a leader it’s your job to expect the challenges, understand them, and navigate through them. 
    5. Keep your passengers in the know. Communicating with everyone involved throughout the rebrand process is essential, especially because rebrands don’t happen overnight. Let folks know what the process will include, what’s happening next, and the status of everything. Don’t leave your passengers unengaged or lost. 
    6. Triage passenger feedback and politics. When it’s time to start making decisions and evaluating the work, it’s your job to listen to new ideas without judgment, take feedback seriously, and process what you’ve heard through the lens of the desired goals. Consider everything, but be comfortable knowing that not everyone’s opinions have to be included or have to be reflected in the final product. It’s up to you, as the leader, to decide and hold firm on what will (and what won’t) happen.
    7. Arrive safely at the destination. Ultimately, it’s your job as the driver on this journey to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, and follow the smartest route possible. In a rebrand, you’ll have to ensure decisions are made, commit to those decisions, and make sure your team understands and supports those decisions. Some detours are okay, but a successful journey must come to an end.

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Mid-Level Donors = Low Hanging Fruit?
    By Gail Perry - Friday Apr 7, 2017

    Mid-Level Donors.

    We're all talking about these lovely folks in your data base who are already giving significantly - and the potential they offer.

    But what to do with them, when you are already practically burdened by too much to do??

    Today, here's a clear 5-step plan upgrade your mid-donors and take them to new giving heights.

    We'll follow the basic, fundamental principles of fundraising:

    • Know who to ask.
    • Know their interest in what you do.
    • Have a compelling case for your work.
    • Make an ask for a specific amount.
    • Meaningful acknowledgement and appreciation of their support.

    And we'll apply these fundamentals to the “middle donors” in your database who have capacity to give more.

    Here are five steps to start transforming your mid-level donors into major gift donors.

    1. Good Data and Segmentation.

    All good fundraising starts or stops here - with your data.

    You need good reports and information about donors in your database records.

    If you can’t create reports and segment your donors by first gift, last gift, largest gift, and cumulative giving, stop what you are doing today and fix your data management (Email us, we can help).

    WHO are your mid-level donors?

    Look on your reports for where your donors tend to group. It could be $100-$200, $500-$1,000, or higher.

    Identify your mid-donor range and start reviewing your lists for capacity.

    Look for:

    • Cumulative giving (Indicates level of commitment to the organization)
    • Largest gift (for example, $100 every year but 4 years ago gave $1,200)
    • Other simple research to ID giving potential:
      • Gifts to other organizations
      • Political giving (opensecrets.org)
      • Home value (zwillow.com)

    One of the best investments you can make is to bring in a create a college intern or a volunteer to help research donors.

    I’ve done this multiple times and they discovered invaluable information that was so helpful.

    2. Know Your Mid-Level Donors.

    Try these steps:

    • Start with the top donors - the highest identified capacity.
    • Work your way down the list.
    • Set aside time every week for calls and meetings to say thank you.
    • Ask them: “Why do you support our organization?”

    This simple question will start to tell you how to move your $100 donor to $1,000, your $500 donor to $5,000, and up. Maybe use a volunteer to make thank you phone calls to them.

    Be sure to record the info a donor shares in their database record.

    That information gives you the basis create a solicitation plan - either one-on-one cultivation, or an upgrade appeal letter.

    You choose.

    But do make a plan for each capacity donor that will lead to a either an in-person or an appeal Ask.

    3. Ask Organizational Questions

    Before you create a plan to upgrade middle donors, ask these important questions internally:

    • What would our organization do with additional revenue?
    • What mission objectives will be achieved?
    • How will it appeal to the reasons donors have shared about why they support our organization?

    The answers to these questions will guide all of your communications and all the upgrade appeals you send to middle donors.

    Of course, you must be specific when ask for an upgrade.

    So you let donors know what your organization wants to accomplish, how much it will cost, and how their gift at a certain level will make a difference. 

    4. Create a Project Plan for Mid-Level Donors.

    Now you have:

    • Data that outlines your mid-donor potential,
    • Feedback from the donors themselves,
    • Some research on your top identified prospects.

    NOW . . . . . it’s time for a PLAN.

    It's time to start treating your middle donors like major donors and upgrade their giving.

    A basic plan for ANY Mid-Level Donor Program.

    1. Assign top mid-level prospects for one-on-one cultivation and solicitation.

    2. Review your data often on your mid-donor segments. (there's always "juicy" potential there!)

    3. Send customized communications and upgrade appeals. Send them to segmented donor groups based on steps 2 and 3 above.

    4. Create a new mid-level donor recognition program, or expand your existing giving society to include these donors. Then it's easy to give them special communications, recognition at events, include them in special publications and on website, etc.

    5. Find a Matching Gift to help launch your mid-donor program.  A matching gift is easy to solicit.  Donors love seeing their gift multiplied!

    5. Work the Plan and Manage Your Time.

    Prioritize time for you and your team to execute your mid-donor plan.

    To stay organized, I create a weekly work plan that includes the priority tasks to execute all annual development plan activities that must be done.

    Anything else that needs to get done that week will have to fit in the open time, or it gets moved back. (You can do this, right??)

    Don’t let the busy get in the way of the necessary.

    Keep an eye on use of staff time and ROI for your middle donor efforts.

    If you can create and effectively manage this kind of plan, it can have a major impact on what your organization can achieve overall.

    You'll develop closer relationships and retention of these important middle donors.

    AND you'll expand your major gift prospect pipeline and gifts.

    Bottom Line: What is your middle donor success story? Let us hear what’s worked for you.

    Need help planning and implementing a mid-level donor program? Email us, we can help.

    This is a guest post by our new fabulous new Fired-Up Fundraising colleague, Dan Bruer.

    Dan Bruer has over 18 years experience in fundraising and nonprofit management, developing and leading comprehensive fundraising programs and capital campaigns for regional and national non-profit organizations and universities, including University of Missouri-Columbia, UNC-Chapel Hill, American Red Cross, and major national conservation organizations. He specializes in major gift and midlevel donor programs. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team.

    The post Mid-Level Donors = Low Hanging Fruit? appeared first on Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry.

    Source: Fired-Up Fundraising with Gail Perry
  • 29 Ideas for #GivingTuesday 2016 you haven’t thought of
    Monday Oct 10, 2016

    I recently attended an event at Whole Whale focused on #GivingTuesday ideas and they know their stuff! We heard from communicators at New York Cares, DonorsChoose.org, and more about how they're approaching #GivingTuesday and what's been successful for their organizations in the past. This article shares similar success stories and insider tips--it's a perfect resource to get your organization's creative juices flowing before November 29th. 

    -Laura Fisher

    This article was originally published on Wholewhale.comWhole Whale is a digital agency that uses data and technology to help nonprofits make an impact. 

    We hope you are participating in #GivingTuesday 2016 as the nonprofit sector tries to build a herd mentality in the same way that online retailers built up Cyber Monday. What’s more, the sector is trying to build a new unselfish social habit, which means it will take more nonprofit participation to compete with the existing holiday corporate messaging. This past year, Cyber Monday revenue grew 16%, topping $3 billion in sales (Adobe Digital Index 2015). In 2015, Giving Tuesday grew by 145% to a record total of $116.7 million in donations. This year Whole Whale analysts predict that #GivingTuesday will raise over $250 million, read more about this and other facts about #GivingTuesday).

    There are tons of #GivingTuesday guides, playbooks, toolkits, examples and stories so we decided to try to summarize some of the best ideas as well as add our own. Enjoy!

    1. Join #GivingTuesday. The rest of these tips don’t really make sense if you aren’t participating… List yourself on GivingTuesday.org/join
    2. Draft a quarterback. Have an internal point person executing the plan and creating wrap up analysis with learnings for next year (this doesn’t have to be your classic fundraising person either). Have them recruit a team of volunteers/super supporters from your network. Pro-tip: give this group a title like #GivingTuesday Advisors.
    3. Beat those pesky giving lines #GivingMonday. Look, if the generous profiteers at Kmart can start Black Friday at 6am on ThanksGiving – you can ‘open your doors’ early and count donations for your campaign starting Monday (or earlier). Feel free to use this joke when you do it.
    4. Use social norms and price anchoring. The average donation amount in 2013 was $140 (Blackbaud). Make this subtly known on your donation form options and copy. Yes, we know averages are wildly misleading – but it’s for a great cause. Geek out on more influence tactics
    5. Focus on new donor cultivation while using it as an opportunity to rally existing supporters to ‘friend raise’ and pull in their friends by donating themselves.
    6. A message from your constituents. Plan a Youtube video with recorded “I gave because” from your super supporters – with donate button. Release it on Monday and throw some ads behind it. Here is a great one the Michael J. Fox Foundation created from supporter letters.
    7. Host a live YouTube ‘telethon’, announce new donors and interact with social media interactions. Pro tip: register for YouTube.com/nonprofit and make sure you have a strong internet connection.
    8. Put your CEO in a dunk tank. Well it doesn’t have to be a dunk tank, but you get it. This idea is inspired by our friends at DoSomething.org who put their CEO, Nancy Lublin and COO, Aria Finger in a dunk tank and only dunked them if they hit a million for their annual event. We were there, it was awesome. Pro-tip: combine this with #7.
    9. Karma. Find a cause you care about and donate to it on #GivingTuesday. Never hurts to have (good) karma on your side.
    10. Schedule it. Schedule out your giving reminders across all major platforms using HooteSuite, Facebook scheduled posts, and your email scheduler. Try to analyze peak times your followers are active – we like FollowerWonk for analyzing followers on Twitter.
    11. Ink your supporters. Create temporary hand tattoos with your  {logo} + #GivingTuesday or #Unselfie. Send these to volunteers ahead of time, ask them to ask staff during lunch to collect. These can also be used as incentives for early giving or participation. Here are the cheapest ones we found – 1000 for $100
    12. Reputation matters. New volunteers will be evaluating new nonprofits based on rating sites. Check to make sure you are updated in places that matter: Guidestar.com, CharityNavigator.com, GreatNonprofits.org, Wikipedia.org.
    13. Time sucks suck… Participate, but don’t let this take too much time! Time is money, manage expectations on returns for your work.
    14. Start early. Trends for Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday show people gearing up in August/September.
    15. Blitz your message! Have super supporters schedule tweets that say “I gave to @{YourCharity} #GivingTuesday” for December 2nd, 2014. ThunderClap is a great tool for this.
    16. Better together– don’t worry about crowded messaging, we are increasing the size of the pie, which means your slice will be larger. Think about how you can collaborate with other orgs in your cause area. Donation averages per charity involved in 2012 & 2013 stayed relatively even as total charities involved increased by 250%.
    17. Matching Gifts are to #GivingTuesday as deals are to #CyberMonday.  Create urgency by creating a 24-48 hour period where donations will be matched. Use Double the Donation’s #GivingTuesday Matching Gift Pages for free.
    18. Don’t cannibalize your holiday messaging. This is just the start of the race – not the final sprint. Think about positioning this as participating in a social movement to combat the shitty commercialism that has taken over one of best excuses to eat turkey with in-laws.
    19. TEST YOUR DAMN DONATE PAGE. This should happen well before #GivingTuesday. We have had increases of 20% and higher for every page we have A/B Tested for our Whole Whale clients.
    20. First Tuesday giving. Offer an option for donors to repeat their donations on the first Tuesday of every month.
    21. Be a part of the conversation. Be hyperactive on social and consider running ads in the afternoon 1-4pm when donation activity peaked on #GivingTuesday in 2013 (Blackbaud).
    22. Prepare a landing page. Promote your Giving Tuesday campaign on your site’s homepage, and across subpages so that all visitors will know about it. Create a focused giving page just for #GivingTuesday and promote that exact page, don’t make people click to find your donate button please.
    23. Progress meter! Set a donation goal and show users the progress towards that amount. Pro-tip: feel free to raise the goal if donations start pouring in and try to seed early donations to get started. We like IndieGoGo and Tilt, but you can also fake this functionality by manually updating an image on your site as you hit milestones.
    24. Say thanks! Show a feed of Twitter users who have donated and try to thank each one that donates with #GivingTuesday.
    25. Make donations tangible. Will the money go toward a new program or needed equipment? Giving transparency can help your story when getting ‘fence-sitters’ to convert. Lakeside Chautauqua managed to raise $105k by focusing on a local restoration project in their community.
    26. Be #Unselfie (ish). Encourage your members to share their #unselfie(s) with you on Twitter, FB, and Instagram. Try to highlight the best stories – Once again, The Michael J. Fox Foundation did this very well in 2013.
    27. The best ideas are not in the room. Look to your supporters for great fundraising stories that you can bring national attention to.  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation did this well by finding a 10 year-old who was selling barrettes to raise money to help her friend struggling with the disease.
    28. Don’t ignore corporate giving! Companies are just like people (#HobbyLobby) and may have employee giving programs you can tap into or find matching gifts through. America’s Charities is a leader in running workplace giving campaigns and has some great tips for #GivingTuesday corporate giving.
    29. Did it work? Create a December donation forecast, then measure total donations for December and on #GivingTuesday. Ask the question: Did we cannibalize giving, redistribute to Tuesday, or increase it?

    Video training on online fundraising basics

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Using your brand strategy everyday in everything
    Wednesday May 17, 2017

    If you’ve ever researched branding you’ve probably heard jargony terms like “brand proposition”, “brand promise”, ‘positioning”, “personality”, “voice”, or “unique selling proposition (USP)” tossed around. Any rigorous rebranding process typically starts by establishing a clear strategy, using at least one, if not many, of these approaches. There are a lot of approaches for developing brand strategy, any one of which can help your team get clear on what you’re trying to communicate.

    A well-developed brand strategy should help everyone see how your strategic plan or mission comes to life in day-to-day communications, both inside your organization and outside of it. But too often, nonprofits and businesses view their brand strategy as something that’s only useful when creating a new logo or tagline-- not as something that can help transform how everyone in your organization communicates every day. When folks criticize branding as “navel-gazing”, decorative, or extraneous, it’s usually because the team behind it has developed it in a vacuum. A solid nonprofit brand must originate from and be deeply tied to its vision, mission, and values, and bring them to life in dynamic ways that inspire the hearts and minds of people inside and outside of the organization.

    BIg Duck’s model for building strong nonprofit brands, which we call “brandraising”, uses two simple brand strategy concepts: Positioning and Personality. Both can help anyone on your staff– from your staff leadership and board to to your programs team and beyond– write, speak, and behave in ways that bring your mission to life and create a truly on-brand experience of your organization, head-to-toe.

    Positioning

    Positioning is the primary idea you want people to associate with your organization, and it’s a North Star everyone on your team can use to guide their actions daily. It’s closely related to your mission, but more focused on and oriented toward how you want to be perceived, not what you do.

    For example, Auburn’s mission is, “Auburn equips leaders with the organizational skills and spiritual resilience required to create lasting, positive impact in local communities, on the national stage, and around the world. We amplify voices and visions of faith and moral courage. We convene diverse leaders and cross-sector organizations for generative collaboration and multifaith understanding. And we research what’s working — and not — in theological education and social change-making.

    Walk into their office or meet with their team and you’ll see that mission is used rigorously to inform their work. But that language isn’t easy for staff to remember and use with every interaction. Their positioning—“Auburn is the premier leadership development center for the multifaith movement for justice.

    Publicly, Auburn shares and promotes its mission. Internally, its positioning statement gives staff a tool to express their big idea so they can be sure that everything they do supports and advances it.

    Positioning is often reductive: a simplification of what you actually do. It’s hard to get it right, but when you do, it’s a useful pocket-tool you can grab handily on the fly.

    When developing your organization’s positioning statement, make sure yours is simple, clear, and usefully distinguishing from others in your space. Remember, it’s not always something you state publicly, so you can get away with things like “the leading organization...”, for instance, which could be problematic in public-facing language.

    Got your positioning pinned down? Here’s a few ways it can be used inside your organization for maximum value.

    • Integrate an overview of your mission and positioning into your onboarding trainings for new staff and board members. Make sure everyone is clear what they are and how to use them. Consider developing a set of role plays that give them a chance to practice. 
    • Use positioning to guide how you write and speak. For example, give the positioning to the board member who’s going to speak at your upcoming event and frame it as the ‘cheat sheet’ for what they need to communicate about your organization.
    • Use positioning to help determine if new materials your vendors develop are on strategy. Does that new brochure or website, at a glance, support your positioning?

    Personality

    Personality is the tone and style your organization uses to communicate. It’s relatively easy to develop and can have a transformative effect; suddenly, everyone’s writing, speaking, and representing your organization consistently. (Read Farra’s article The Power of Brand Personality at your Nonprofit for more.)

    If positioning is a more perception, or communication-oriented way to think about your mission, than personality is a more perception or communication-oriented way to live and express your organization’s values for many (but not all) organizations.

    If you’ve ever taken a class at Soul Cycle you know their staff are dynamic examples of living the brand. No matter which location you visit, Soul Cycle staffers are unrelentingly friendly, helpful, and upbeat, no matter their role or level of seniority. Sure, they have bad days, but they are clearly trained to turn on the charm whenever a customer walks in. Wouldn’t it be nice if your staff were perceived that way by your donors, clients, and board members too? They can be-- but first you need to hire and train them to do so– otherwise, they’ll continue to do what most people do naturally, just be themselves, for better and for worse.

    Auburn’s personality is Loving, Entrepreneurial, Courageous, Multifaith, Progressive, and Respected. This list of guiding attributes is distinguishing and practically useful for writing, speaking, and other external communications.

    Some of my favorite organizational personalities have had words in them like, “menschy” and “fierce”– unexpected, memorable, and useful words that staff can connect with and that help differentiate.

    Once you’ve established a list of about five adjectives that reflect the personality you’d like your organization to express consistently, consider bringing it to life in these ways.

    • Integrate your personality into hiring practices and training programs. Want to establish your organization as welcoming, warm, and embracing? Doing so means you need to hire people who are, themselves, likely to be those things, or at least know how to act that way. 
    • Create on-personality spaces, events, and partnerships. Paint the walls and put up artwork in your public spaces that reflect your personality. Pick event venues and partners whose personalities are “on brand” for you. 
    • Celebrate in personality-centric ways. Each week, a staff member at Big Duck gets to annoint next week’s “Duck of the Week”, an honorary, celebratory title with no responsibilities at all. The Duck of the Week celebration, along with others we integrate into our weekly Team Time, help us live our friendly personality trait. Similarly, sharing industry research, great case studies, and other resources each week keeps our team on our toes and better able to live our smart personality trait.
    • Use personality to guide which social media channels you use and how you use them. Is your organization inclusive, perhaps you should convene an online community. Do you want to get your supporters to see you as energetic and gutsy? Consider hosting a takeover of your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Intellectual and inquisitive? Ask questions and moderate spirited debates via comments or Facebook Live.


    Ready to get started putting positioning and personality into action? Read more on how to create a winning brand strategy on Big Duck’s blog or in my book, “Brandraising”, learn how we brought Auburn’s brand strategy to life, or give us a call.

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits
  • Using your brand strategy everyday in everything
    Wednesday Jun 14, 2017

    If you’ve ever researched branding you’ve probably heard jargony terms like “brand proposition”, “brand promise”, ‘positioning”, “personality”, “voice”, or “unique selling proposition (USP)” tossed around.  Any rigorous rebranding process typically starts by establishing a clear strategy, using at least one, if not many, of these approaches. There are a lot of approaches for developing brand strategy, any one of which can help your team get clear on what you’re trying to communicate.

    A well-developed brand strategy should help everyone see how your strategic plan or mission comes to life in day-to-day communications, both inside your organization and outside of it. But too often, nonprofits and businesses view their brand strategy as something that’s only useful when creating a new logo or tagline-- not as something that can help transform how everyone in your organization communicates every day. When folks criticize branding as “navel-gazing”, decorative, or extraneous, it’s usually because the team behind it has developed it in a vacuum. A solid nonprofit brand must originate from and be deeply tied to its vision, mission, and values, and bring them to life in dynamic ways that inspire the hearts and minds of people inside and outside of the organization.

    Big Duck’s model for building strong nonprofit brands, which we call “brandraising”, uses two simple brand strategy concepts: Positioning and Personality. Both can help anyone on your staff– from your staff leadership and board to to your programs team and beyond– write, speak, and behave in ways that bring your mission to life and create a truly on-brand experience of your organization, head-to-toe.

    Positioning

    Positioning is the primary idea you want people to associate with your organization, and it’s a North Star everyone on your team can use to guide their actions daily. It’s closely
    related to your mission, but more focused on and oriented toward how you want to be perceived, not what you do.

    For example, Auburn’s mission is, “Auburn equips leaders with the organizational skills and spiritual resilience required to create lasting, positive impact in local communities, on the national stage, and around the world. We amplify voices and visions of faith and moral courage. We convene diverse leaders and cross-sector organizations for generative collaboration and multifaith understanding. And we research what’s working — and not — in theological education and social change-making.”

    Walk into their office or meet with their team and you’ll see that mission is used rigorously to inform their work. But that language isn’t easy for staff to remember and use with every interaction. Their positioning—“Auburn is the premier leadership development center for the multifaith movement for justice.”

    Publicly, Auburn shares and promotes its mission. Internally, its positioning statement gives staff a way to staff a tool to express their big idea so they can be sure that everything they do supports and advances it.

    Positioning is often reductive: a simplification of what you actually do. It’s hard to get it right, but when you do, it’s a useful pocket-tool you can grab handily on the fly.

    When developing your organization’s positioning statement, make sure yours is simple, clear, and usefully distinguishing from others in your space. Remember, it’s not always something you state publicly, so you can get away with things like “the leading organization...”, for instance, which could be problematic in public-facing language.

    Got your positioning pinned down? Here’s a few ways it can be used inside your organization for maximum value.

    • Integrate an overview of your mission and positioning into your onboarding trainings for new staff and board members. Make sure everyone is clear what they are and how to use them. Consider developing a set of role plays that give them a chance to practice.

    • Use positioning to guide how you write and speak. For example, give the positioning to the board member who’s going to speak at your upcoming event and frame it as the ‘cheat sheet’ for what they need to communicate about your organization.

    • Use positioning to help determine if new materials your vendors develop are on strategy. Does that new brochure or website, at a glance, support your positioning?

    Personality

    Personality is the tone and style your organization uses to communicate. It’s relatively easy to develop and can have a transformative effect; suddenly, everyone’s writing, speaking, and representing your organization consistently. (Read Farra’s article The Power of Brand Personality at your Nonprofit for more.)

    If positioning is a more perception, or communication-oriented way to think about your mission, than personality is a more perception or communication-oriented way to live and express your organization’s values for many (but not all) organizations.

    If you’ve ever taken a class at Soul Cycle you know their staff are dynamic examples of living the brand. No matter which location you visit, Soul Cycle staffers are unrelentingly friendly, helpful, and upbeat, no matter their role or level of seniority. Sure, they have bad days, but they are clearly trained to turn on the charm whenever a customer walks in. Wouldn’t it be nice if your staff were perceived that way by your donors, clients, and board members too? They can be-- but first you need to hire and train them to do so– otherwise, they’ll continue to do what most people do naturally, just be themselves,  for better and for worse.

    Auburn’s personality is Loving, Entrepreneurial, Courageous, Multifaith, Progressive, and Respected. This list of guiding attributes is distinguishing and practically useful for writing, speaking, and other external communications.

    Some of my favorite organizational personalities have had words in them like, “menschy” and “fierce”– unexpected, memorable, and useful words that staff can connect with and that help differentiate.

    Once you’ve established a list of about five adjectives that reflect the personality you’d like your organization to express consistently, consider bringing it to life in these ways.

    • Integrate your personality into hiring practices and training programs. Want to establish your organization as welcoming, warm, and embracing? Doing so means you need to hire people who are, themselves, likely to be those things, or at least know how to act that way.

    • Create on-personality spaces, events, and partnerships. Paint the walls and put up artwork in your public spaces that reflect your personality. Pick event venues and partners whose personalities are “on brand” for you.

    • Celebrate in personality-centric ways. Each week, a staff member at Big Duck gets to annoint next week’s “Duck of the Week”, an honorary, celebratory title with no responsibilities at all. The Duck of the Week celebration, along with others we integrate into our weekly Team Time, help us live our friendly personality trait. Similarly, sharing industry research, great case studies, and other resources each week keeps our team on our toes and better able to live our smart personality trait.

    • Use personality to guide which social media channels you use and how you use them. Is your organization inclusive, perhaps you should convene an online community. Do you want to get your supporters to see you as energetic and gutsy? Consider hosting a takeover of your Instagram or Twitter accounts. Intellectual and inquisitive? Ask questions and moderate spirited debates via comments or Facebook Live.

    Ready to get started putting positioning and personality into action? Read more on how to create a winning brand strategy on Big Duck’s blog or in my book, “Brandraising”, learn how we brought Auburn’s brand strategy to life, or give us a call.

     

    Source: BigDuck smart communications for nonprofits