You’ve decided to start building your nonprofit’s next major fundraising campaign. It’s a very exciting time! But for your campaign to stand out from the crowd, it will need its own unique brand.
Before you make any campaign branding decisions, you’ve got another important decision to make: Will you use your in-house team, or will you partner with an outside branding agency?
You might be tempted to use your internal team to create your capital campaign brand. After all, they already work for you and are obviously invested in the organization’s success.
But, take a moment before you make any decisions. Hiring an outside branding agency that specializes in fundraising campaigns will return more benefits than you may realize.
Let’s look at three reasons why an external team is well worth the investment.
1. An Outside Team Guarantees Objectivity
It’s understandable to initially consider using your internal team to help in branding your campaign. After all, your team is steeped in the day-to-day operations of your organization. That institutional knowledge is a good thing.
On the other hand, this also means your team inherently lacks objectivity. They’re so deep in the pixels that they often struggle to extract themselves in order to see the bigger picture.
And here’s the thing: Your internal team may see four to five capital campaigns in their lifetimes. An outside consultant sees more than that in a year. The result of so much experience is the ability to see the forest for the trees. An outside consultant brings the objectivity gained from all that exposure, and all of the do’s and don’ts, to say, “Hey, I don’t think this part of your brand is as strong as it could be. Let’s revisit and revise.”
Now, with that being said, if you have a crystal-clear vision for your capital campaign brand that you simply need executed, hiring an outside consultant may not be your best bet. Why? Because consultants will push back against ideas they don’t think serve your goals, all in an effort to raise your vision to the highest possible level.
Bottom line: If you don’t want that kind of feedback, you’re not looking for a consultant; you’re looking for an order taker, and sometimes that’s perfectly fine.
Your organization and fundraising campaign are your baby. And quite honestly, no one in your organization is going to tell you your baby is ugly. As your outside partner, a consultant isn’t invested in your vision for vision’s sake. Instead, they’re committed to helping you execute your highest possible vision, and achieving the goals of your campaign. And that means sometimes sharing the (ugly) truth.
2. An External Branding Partner Saves Energy
If you’re developing a new campaign, your organization’s energy (made up of both time and money) are top of mind. But once you factor in employee taxes, benefits, and paid time off, your internal team may perform the activities of campaign branding for about the same amount of money as an outside agency can, maybe more. From an investment standpoint, it’s six in one hand, half-dozen in the other.
And time is never on your side. Your internal team will take longer to produce the same work, and — here’s the kicker — it won’t be done to the same quality. That’s not a knock on your team. They just aren’t experts in campaign branding. They’re not meant to be.
Think of a campaign like a train and its tracks. An external team’s job is to design and build the train itself, while your internal team’s job is to keep the train on the tracks. That is, your external team can create a beautiful brand that functions perfectly, but your internal team will be crucial in putting that brand to use on a daily basis.
It’s fair to acknowledge that your internal team will theoretically give your project more undivided attention. After all, your organization is your team’s only client. If you find you need to make a last-minute design change or strategy adjustment, it may be a bit easier to do with an internal team, depending on how integrated your teams are..
The downside of using your internal team is as straightforward as it is natural: When you’re focused on managing your organization’s day-to-day operations, priorities inevitably shift. What you don’t want is for priorities to constantly shift away from your capital campaign.
A branding consultant will keep their “eyes on the prize,” no matter how needs move your prioritized daily activities.
3. Hiring an Outside Agency = More Expertise + More Impact
It’s important to have a strong internal marketing and communications team. You need them. Your internal team excels at what they do, which is to produce deliverables that must be created very quickly or for an ad hoc project. That’s simply a different skill set than what a branding partner should bring to the table.
An external agency will have a tried and true process for building your campaign brand. They’ll hire and train writers who specialize in crafting messaging for fundraising campaigns, along with naming experts, strategists, and designers who work solely in this specific field, day-in and day-out.
Your in-house team is talented, no doubt. But they’re almost certainly generalists. And when you’re designing a capital, or comprehensive, campaign brand, you need focused expertise.
An external partner has the process of building a campaign brand totally dialed in, so the quality you receive from them is going to be higher. And higher quality means greater impact. Greater impact equals more money. And what is money? Mission fuel, in the right hands.
We Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is
At Parisleaf, we clearly believe in the values of expertise and objectivity. We believe in them so strongly that we hired outside partners for our own rebrand.
We’re experts at branding capital campaigns, but we’re not experts at building brands for agencies. On top of that, we knew we could never take an impartial look at our own brand. It’s too close. In some ways, this was the ultimate experiment. If we hired an external branding team to build our new agency brand, would they create something better than we could come up with? We believe the answer is, “Absolutely.” We identify with our new brand (coming soon!) ten times more than anything we’ve had in the past.
The same goes for your organization. Your in-house team may be rockstars at what they do, but what they do all day, every day isn’t building campaign brands. Additionally, they’re too close to it.
So, if you want a team who spends all day eating and breathing successful capital campaign branding and strategy, you need an expert consultant like Parisleaf.
Organizations that take the agency route quickly see the benefits. We recently asked a client with an internal team twice the size of our shop why they decided to go with Parisleaf to brand their campaign. Their answer was simple: “I hired you for your objectivity. Also, because my team is too busy managing the day-to-day needs of our organization. Lastly, I hired you because if it doesn’t work, it’s your neck, not mine or my team’s.”
And that is a benefit of working with Parisleaf as your outside partner. We take the responsibility of creating a campaign brand that aligns with your campaign goals and exceeds your expectations for the new brand.
We look forward to working with you on your organization’s next capital, comprehensive, or otherwise fundraising campaign brand. It’s our mission to help your nonprofit raise more money so you can do more good.
If you’re ready to talk, get in touch.