Communicate the Unexpected


Unexpected street sign

As we communicate with our donors, many of us work within guidelines that are predetermined and probably include using certain typefaces, using color schemes and achieving an overall look and feel of the organization, right?

I’m a fan of having graphic standards that identifies any brand. But once in a while you might want to try the unexpected.

I did this recently on a communications piece for a client. It was a postcard that was intended to say thank you for your support and provide an update on a few programs for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

But frankly, a typical “Thank you for your support” message bored me. Yawn.

I thought if I’m bored with it, then our donors may be too right?

So we tried something different.

Instead, the headline read, “Our participants would like to say thank you, but they can’t.”

Hmmmm? Why???? Why can’t they talk? (I hoped the reader would ask him or herself.)

The messages then revealed the various activities and learning opportunities that the participants have had so far this year. These included trips to the Brookfield Zoo, art classes at a professional art studio, and excursions to Navy Pier. The list went on.

The message was “Your generous contributions have expanded so many programs for our participants that they are simply TOO BUSY to stop even for one second.”

This was well received by our donors and even spurred a few emails to me about how clever they thought it was. Most importantly, the piece inspired them to read the information and know the gifts had been turned into positive experiences for the individuals they wanted to help. Ahhh, success.

So next time you need to create something that demonstrates the impact of your services, ask yourself how you could communicate the Unexpected.

by: Michelle Jimenez, Senior Consultant HUB Philanthropic Solutions


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