Both large and small nonprofits earned top honors this week for their attention-getting taglines, demonstrating again that an organization of any size can craft a powerful, pithy motto to build awareness and connect with its key audiences.  Organizations of all sizes participated in the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards, hosted by president of Nancy Schwartz & Company and publisher at GettingAttention.org.

The 13 winners were selected from 60 finalists drawn from 1,702 nonprofit taglines submitted to the 2009 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards competition. More than 4,800 nonprofit professionals cast votes in the final selection round.

The awards program is designed to encourage nonprofits to effectively use taglines, a high-impact, low-cost marketing tactic often overlooked or under-emphasized by nonprofits; Nancy says, “A nonprofit’s tagline is hands down the briefest, easiest and most effective way to communicate your organization’s identity.”

Nancy says that the winning taglines in the 2009 competition demonstrate how powerful taglines can work as a first step in branding or as a highly-effective tool to refresh a nonprofit’s messaging, emphasize its commitment to its work and/or revive tired positioning.

A great tagline can help people find you, too!  Searching on Google or even on Facebook for issues or ideas can tap into words in your tagline that may not be included in your organization’s name.

2009 TAGLINE AWARD WINNERS

Arts & Culture: Big Sky. Big Land. Big History. — Montana Historical Society

The Montana Historical Society takes its state’s most elemental and distinctive characteristics (Big Sky, Big Land) and deftly melds them with its mission in a way that generates excitement. The result is a tagline with punch and focus. And a big hit with voters.

Associations: Building community deep in the hearts of Texans —TexasNonprofits

TexasNonprofits’ tagline tweaks the title of an iconic American popular song from the 1940s and brilliantly connects it to the spirit, passion and mission of the state’s citizenry. A great example of how word play works in a tagline.

Civic Benefit: Holding Power Accountable — Common Cause

Common Cause’s tagline leaves no doubt about the organization’s mission, unique value and commitment. It’s definitive, with a powerful economy of words. An excellent example of the tagline clarifying the nonprofit’s focus, when the organization’s name alone doesn’t do so.

Education: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste® — UNCF -The United Negro College Fund

This 38-year-old tagline from UNCF still rings strong. It elegantly delivers its straight up, powerful message. When your tagline is the boiled-down essence of your argument for support, you’ve achieved tagline bliss. That’s why this one is a classic.

Environment & Animals: Because the earth needs a good lawyer — Earthjustice

Earthjustice capitalizes on what people do understand – that a lawyer protects rights – and uses that framework to dramatically position its role and impact in the environmental movement. And it does so with humor. If your tagline makes people smile or light up, without stepping on your message, then you’ve made an emotional connection…Bravo.

Grantmaking: If you want to be remembered, do something memorable. — The Cleveland Foundation

It’s a rare tagline that manages to recruit people to its cause both unabashedly and effectively. That’s exactly what The Cleveland Foundation pulls off here. Clear, concise, and…memorable! A model for any organization promoting philanthropy.

Health & Sciences: Finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to. © — PA Breast Cancer Coalition

The PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s tagline is both emphatic and poignant. It strikes a deep emotional chord, and conveys the focus and impact of its work without being overly sentimental. “Finding a cure,” a highly used phrase for health organizations, is bolstered here by the appeal to solve a problem now so future generations won’t suffer from it.

Human Services: Filling pantries. Filling lives. — Houston Food Bank

With simple but effective use of word repetition, the Houston Food Bank clarifies its work and impact. It delivers on two distinct levels—the literal act of putting food on people’s shelves and the emotional payoff to donors and volunteers. An excellent example of a mission-driven tagline.

International, Foreign Affairs & National Security: Send a Net. Save a Life. — Nothing But Nets

Short, punchy and laser-sharp, the Nothing But Nets tagline connects the action with the outcome. It’s inspirational in the simplicity of its message and its reason for existing. The kind of tagline nonprofits should model.

Jobs & Workforce Development: Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job — Homeboy Industries

Homeboy Industries’ tagline is a mini-masterpiece, telling a memorable story in just six words. It stops you in your tracks, makes you want to learn more and sticks with you afterwards. That’s the kind of potent nonprofit messaging every organization desires.

Media: Telling stories that make a difference — Barefoot Workshops

If your organization’s name is vague, it’s critical that your tagline be distinct. Barefoot Workshops’ tagline sums up the transformative power of stories to create change in people and their communities, so clarifying the organization’s focus. Saved by the tagline!

Religion & Spiritual Development: Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors. — The people of The United Methodist Church

The work of religious organizations often operates on several planes at once — a challenge for any organization and its messaging. Here, The United Methodist Church delivers a tagline trinity that supports its applied faith mission and is warm, enthusiastic and embracing.

Other: A head for business. A heart for the world. — SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise)

If an organization’s identity contains within in it a distinct contrast between its key characteristics, that’s often good tagline material. Here, SIFE surprises with its crystal-clear tagline that conveys not only what’s unique about it but also capitalizes on the contrast between profit and compassion.

The full report will be out in November with more details about the 13 winners and all of the entries and more! For your free copy on publication, subscribe to the free Getting Attention e-update.

Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards Winners Announced
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