How to Make the Best Nonprofit Slogan (7 Key Steps to Keep in Mind)

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October 7, 2022

Last Updated:

October 27, 2022

Branding is a crucial element to a successful nonprofit. At the heart of your organization’s branding should be your nonprofit’s slogan.

In this post, we’ll show you how to create a nonprofit slogan that conveys your mission and inspires others to join you in your efforts. We’ll also include some examples of effective slogans and what makes them so great, as well as tips to avoid when writing your own nonprofit slogan.

Let’s dive in.

What is a Nonprofit Slogan?

Slogan

A nonprofit slogan is a short and simple sentence or phrase that conveys to your target audience who your organization is and what it does. Your nonprofit slogan should get to the core of the cause you are working for in a way that’s short and to the point. Brevity is best!

We all know the iconic Nike slogan “Just Do It”. This slogan has become an integral part of their branding. You can see it in their advertisements, social media posts, commercials, and even on some of their clothing.

With a strong nonprofit slogan, you can leverage it to help create a sense of identity for your organization.

Note that a slogan is not the same thing as your organization's mission statement. In most cases, your mission statement will be much longer than your slogan, possibly a few sentences. So while your slogan should be different from your mission statement, it should still echo it. You could think of your slogan as an abridged mission statement.

An effective nonprofit slogan should pique your audience’s interest and make them want to learn more about your organization and the change you are striving to make in your community.

Overall, your nonprofit’s slogan is the foundation of your organization’s branding. It should be short and simple so that it can easily be integrated into your social media posts, on your website, and in your marketing materials.

Why Do You Need a Nonprofit Slogan?

Must Have

Nonprofit slogans are essential to your organization. They are a great tool to help give your nonprofit cohesive messaging.

Since your slogan should be easy to remember, it can help you convey to your community who you are and what you do. The best slogans can also invoke emotion from their target audience.

Your slogan is an invaluable tool that you can incorporate across all of your external communications. Whether you're posting on social media, creating newsletters, emails, or appeal letters, you can include your slogan to help unify your messaging.

For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan has become such a strong symbol of their brand that they don’t even need to use their company name or logo alongside it—yet people still know exactly which brand it’s from. Something as recognizable and memorable as “Just Do It” should be the goal of your nonprofit’s slogan.

Nonprofit slogans also give your audience insight into what you do and what the overarching goal of your organization is. It is crucial that you can effectively communicate to the world what your organization's goal is. People engage with and give to nonprofits that share their same values. An effective slogan lets the audience know who you are and helps them decide if they want to engage further with your organization.

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7 Steps to Create the Best Nonprofit Slogan

Steps

If you follow these seven easy steps, you can create your own slogan that shows the world just what your organization is all about.

1. Define the overarching goal of your organization.

Are you feeding your community? Providing shelter for the unhoused? What exactly is the goal of your organization? Answering this question will help you identify the heart of your nonprofit’s slogan.

Think about it this way: If your organization could change one thing about your community, or the world, what would it be?

Your answer should give you a jumping off point as you begin to brainstorm ideas for your slogan. If you can answer this fundamental question, you will be on your way to a great slogan!

Your mission statement can also be a great tool to help provide a starting point for developing your slogan. Mission statements are also a key aspect of your nonprofit’s branding and communications. If you don’t have one, check out this article for tips on how to write a great mission statement.

2. Do your research.

As with any project, research is important. When creating your slogan, you should spend some time researching the slogans of other organizations that provide similar services as yours.

This is important for two reasons: 1) You don’t want to have a slogan that’s too similar and risk causing confusion, and 2) Seeing what someone else does can help spark ideas of your own.

It’s incredibly difficult to brainstorm ideas without having any frame of reference. Researching what other organizations do will help provide you with that frame of reference to start creating your own slogan.

3. Be specific.

When someone hears your slogan you want them to know exactly what your organization is all about. You don’t want them to have to guess what the core of your mission is.

A great slogan immediately tells the audience what the heart of your organization is. Remember, a slogan is a quick way to catch someone’s attention.

For example, if you provide a meal delivery service, your slogan could say “ending hunger one delivery at a time”. Immediately your audience knows your organization’s mission is to end food insecurity and you’re doing that by delivering food.

When you are ready to start drafting your slogan, write down the main goal of your organization in one sentence. This will be your guide as you come up with ideas.

Create a list of several different slogan options based on your guide. You can then look at this list through the lens of “what makes the most sense to an outside audience?”. You could even get feedback from others outside of your organization to see which slogans resonate with them the most.

4. Invoke emotion.

As mentioned above, the goal of a nonprofit’s slogan is to capture someone’s attention and make them want to learn more. The best way to do this is to invoke some sort of emotion.

If you foster a sense of emotional connection with your audience, you will have a more engaged constituency.

One way to do this is to use emotive language in your slogan. Abstract nouns such as freedom, rights, justice, etc. can capture your audience and make them feel something. It is often that emotion that will lead them to engage with your organization.

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5. Be brief.

Brevity is key in creating an effective nonprofit slogan. You want your target audience to be able to remember your slogan. It should be something they can repeat easily.

One tip is to write your slogan first without thinking about its length and then go back and edit out any unnecessary words. If you can edit out a word and the slogan still makes sense, you probably didn’t need that word anyway.

You could also reach out to a friend or colleague and ask for their opinion. Often other nonprofit professionals who understand what you are trying to do can give the best advice.

6. Reflect the personality of your organization.

Aside from the name of your organization, your slogan will be the thing people see and hear the most from you. Make sure it captures your organization's personality.

When creating your slogan, decide how you want people to feel when they hear it. Take that feeling and make sure it's reflected in your slogan.

For example, an arts organization might have a different tone and personality to their slogan than a social justice organization. You can determine the tone of your slogan by deciding how you want your audience to feel when they think of you.

If you are a theater company, you would want your audience to remember how much fun they had at one of your shows. Your tone would be excited and jovial. If your organization is fighting for civil rights, you would want to use a completely different tone. You would want to inspire your audience to care about a certain topic. You may even want to invoke anger at a certain situation to inspire your audience to action.

7. Make your audience want to learn more.

Your target audience will not be able to get the full scope of your organization just by reading or hearing your slogan. However, your slogan should pique their interest and make them want to learn more.

Slogans are an effective tool to create engagement. If your slogan catches your audience’s attention, they will be more likely to engage with your organization.

A bold and emotive slogan will help tell your audience what your organization's goals are and make them want to learn about the ways you are reaching those goals. Short phrases, bold wording, and even punctuation such as an exclamation point are ways you can capture your audience and make them want to engage with your cause.

5 Nonprofit Slogan Examples and Why They Work

Example

Like was mentioned in the seven steps above, a good slogan emphasizes your organization’s goals, evokes emotion, reflects your organization’s personality, engages your audience, and makes them want to learn more. Here are five examples of great nonprofit slogans and what makes them so successful.

Charity: Water: Clean water changes lives

This slogan is effective because you immediately know exactly what their organization is working toward. Their goal is clearly stated. The slogan tells you the impact they are making on those they serve. It is easy to decipher from this slogan that their mission is to provide clean water. It evokes emotion by telling the audience that they are changing lives.

Heifer International: Ending hunger and poverty

Here is another example of an engaging slogan. It tells you exactly what the nonprofit’s goals are. It also leaves the audience wanting to know more about how Heifer International is ending hunger and poverty. This slogan is great at creating a sense of curiosity and making people want to learn more. This slogan piques the audience’s interest and makes them want to learn the ways in which they are ending hunger and poverty.

National Park Foundation: Together, we make parks possible

Immediately when reading this slogan you know what the goal of this organization is. This slogan also does a great job of including the audience. By using the word “together” it automatically makes the reader or listener think “how can I help?”. This is a great example of a slogan that creates engagement and connects the audience to the mission. It shows the audience that the National Park Foundation can’t do it alone. They need your help.

Montana Historical Society: Big Sky. Big History

This is a brief slogan that does a great job of using the state of Montana’s iconic Big Sky nickname and connecting it to the mission of the organization. It also helps create an image for the audience. When you think of Montana you think of big open space.

Connecting the historical mission of the organization to the image people have of Montana helps show the audience that Montana has a rich history and the goal of the organization is to teach you about that history. The audience immediately knows exactly what this organization is all about.

US Forest Service- Smokey the Bear Campaign: Only you can prevent wildfires

This is one of the most recognizable slogans in the United States. It has worked for decades because it is succinct, easy to repeat, and gives a clear call to action. The use of the word “you” immediately engages the audience by letting them know that they are the ones who can help, not the organization itself. It makes them want to learn the ways in which they can help. By saying “only you” it gives emphasis to the audience’s actions and helps them to be more cognizant.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Nonprofit Slogan

Oops

The most common mistake to avoid when creating your nonprofit slogan is to be too generic. You want your slogan to be unique to your organization. Your nonprofit’s slogan is a crucial part of your brand. Make sure it reflects who you are!

You want your audience to immediately be able to connect it back to your organization. If your slogan is too generic this won’t be possible.

Think back to Nike and “Just Do It”. When you read or hear this, you immediately connect what you are seeing or hearing back to Nike. Your slogan should function in a similar way. When someone hears or sees it, they should immediately connect it back to your organization.

A second mistake is to have a slogan that is too long. You want something that is short, succinct, and easily remembered. People will forget a slogan that is too long, or they may not even read the entire thing. Remember, your slogan is not the same as your mission statement. Your mission statement is where you can add a little more detail.

The final mistake you want to avoid is not getting to the heart of your mission and goals. Your slogan is the perfect time to showcase what the true objective of your organization is. You want your audience to immediately know what you are working toward.

If you can avoid each of these mistakes, you will be well on your way to creating a great nonprofit slogan.

Wrapping Up: How to Make the Best Nonprofit Slogan

Best

Having a good nonprofit slogan is essential for your organization. It's a crucial part of building your brand and connecting with your target audience.

When creating your slogan, make sure it captures the goal of your organization. You want someone to know what your organization is about when they read or hear your slogan. You also want to make sure it engages them and makes them want to learn more. Having a catchy and inviting slogan can be a great tool in helping your organization grow and further its mission.

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