Helping Nonprofits Communicate

message. solicit. impact.

What Makes You Unique?

What does being ‘unique’ in the Nonprofit world really mean? How does your organization figure out how you’re unique?  First off, can you answer these questions?

  • How do you differentiate from other organizations that have similar missions?
  • Can you explain your mission to a child?
  • Can you explain what makes your mission unique to a child?
  • How are you make your community and donors feel special – how is it different from similar organizations?

If not, that’s okay, you just aren’t in a place where you know how you’re unique off the bat.

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Image from Best Nonprofit Marketing Plan, Ever

(it is a GREAT downloadable guide from Network  For Good, do it! No, really, seriously, download it. We did.)

We posted this picture on our Facebook page last week. We love what this company did, they took what they do and made it 1) resonate with their audience and 2) made their very un-original business suddenly unique.


Can you do the same with your organization?  Are you resonating with your donors and community?   Or are you spinning the same wheel everyone as everyone else? Are you finding the one thing a competing organization can never take away from you, even if they come after your market? Do you know what that is? 

Nonprofit Copy Writer created a working list of questions to ask yourself, your board and your staff.

“Use the questionnaire below to help you compile a list of your distinctives. Then, choose one or two of them – the most unique, overriding, compelling benefits – and you’ll have your Unique Selling Point. Place it front and center in every piece of collateral material you produce.” nonprofitcopywriterUSP (click to download)This list is comprehensive and time consuming but well worth it!

If you don’t have the time required to complete the list above, download the Best Nonprofit Marketing Plan, Everread through their suggestions and use this smaller version below via OPEN. You can do in an hour at your desk this afternoon. These were for-profit specific, but we refitted the questions for the NPO world:

1.   List the features and benefits that are unique about your organization. Do a Google search and compare your features, services and benefits with your direct competitors. Identify the benefits what sets you apart.

2.   Decide what emotional need is being specifically met by your mission. (product or service) Think about this from your donor and community’s perspective and add it to your list.

3.   Identify aspects that your competitors cannot imitate. Put a star beside anything that cannot be easily duplicated, reproduced, or copied.

4.   Create phrases about your unique product or service that are short, clear, and concise. Use the words from steps 1-3 that you singled out. Be sure they can be easily communicated to and understood by your customers.

5.   Answering your customer’s primary question: “What’s in it for me?” Make it to the point and state it as a benefit to the customer. Such as:

  • Domino’s Pizza: “You get fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30-minutes or less…or it’s free.”
  • Target: “Expect more. Pay less.”
  • U.S. Peace Corp: “The toughest job you’ll ever love.”
  • M&M’s: “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”
  • FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight.”

When you’re done come back and tell us…what makes your organization unique? We’d love to hear!  We are doing this exercise ourselves and will post next week about our findings.

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