The Importance of Nonprofit Taglines

Earlier this year, more than 3,000 people voted in nonprofit marketing consultant and blogger Nancy Schwartz’s survey of the best nonprofit taglines. Now, she has officially released a free report that announces the 12 winners, along with 1,000 other examples and, most importantly, what works and what doesn’t (what she calls the “10 have-to’s” and “7 deadly sins”).

I won’t repeat all of the winners here, but the one noted in the Grantmaking category is from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation: Make the most of your giving.

Why does your organization need a tagline? Schwartz says, “Think about it. Your tagline is seen more than any other 5 to 8 words you communicate. It’s on business cards, email signatures, signage, online and print communications and more. A bad tagline, or none at all, is a huge missed opportunity.” She explains further on her website: “The absence of a tagline — or the use of an ineffective one — will put your nonprofit at a competitive disadvantage in funding, building your staff and volunteer base, and increasing use of your programs and products.”

However, according to the survey, 72% of nonprofits either don’t have a tagline, or they rate their tagline as poor. But the report gives details about what to do to fix that “to ensure your tagline does as much for your organization as possible,” and shows examples of effective taglines throughout. Download a free PDF of the report…

Schwartz regularly reviews taglines on her blog, including a 2006 look at the University of Minnesota’s, Driven to Discover (she loved it). She will also discuss taglines during this week’s Magic Keys Radio Show and Podcast on Friday from noon-12:30 p.m. central.

Join the conversation: Did any of the report’s winners (or other nominees) resonate with you? What local nonprofits or foundations are using taglines effectively?

– Crystal Colby, MCF’s web communications associate

One Response to The Importance of Nonprofit Taglines

  1. Andy Goodman also covers this topic in the October 2008 edition of “free-range thinking.” He features Eric Swartz, Tagline Guru who talks about the benefits of a good tagline and how to develop one for your organization. There’s nothing more rewarding than coming up with that perfect, memorable phrase that just nails what you are all about!. If you aren’t familiar with Andy, visit his website

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