One Way to Ignite Your Organization with Passion

I was recently with a global ministry client with over 200 years of history where we unveiled our recommendation for a fresh, new brand strategy. After a presentation like this, there’s often some awkward silence as the presenter waits for honest reactions from the room. You never know which direction it’ll go.

The seconds after this presentation were no different, but then one of the top leaders of the ministry broke the silence with this…

“WOW! I haven’t been this excited and energized by what we do in years!! I love it. In fact, I’m manic about it!”

I had chills.

He then went on to describe in detail a video he was envisioning about the ministry’s global impact set to a song from The Who’s rock opera Tommy. The CEO and I caught his fire and we all started singing “Pinball Wizard”!

Now, it’s not every day I burst into song with a client. But what happened that day was truly remarkable. The client caught the vision, became inspired, expressed his raw passion and energy, and got everyone on his team ignited.

That’s exactly what we want donors and prospective donors to the ministry to do – burn with a contagious passion for the mission.

In the case of that particular ministry, it never ceased doing great work impacting millions of lives every year. But it had fallen into the vortex of a tired brand over the years.

That day reminded me of something very important: A good brand strategy for a ministry isn’t just for those “out there.” It’s equally, if not more importantly, for those inside the organization!

Here’s why…

If an organization hasn’t…

  • … done a good job defining its core DNA
  • … identified WHY it does what it does and for whose benefit
  • … determined what sets it apart from like organizations
  • … then figured out how to create truly inspirational messaging and marketing that cuts through the busy marketplace that captures not only the attention, but more importantly, the heart of a target audience,

… THEN the people inside that organization will be semi-bored.

As a result, these semi-bored ministry staffers won’t have the same fire to create greater and greater impact around the world. And if the ministry is semi-bored… then how can they be expected to energize those outside the walls of the ministry?!

An inspired brand strategy doesn’t just help boost marketing and fundraising. It helps improve internal culture, morale, workforce energy, and even employee retention. It also serves as a reminder of just how awesome the mission’s impact is to those grinding away in the trenches every day.

People inside the organization – everyone from the receptionist to the executive director – will become true ambassadors for the ministry among their friends and family… and some may even stop seeing their job as just a job.

If we want to do a better job engaging the hearts of those people who are outside the circle, we have to engage the hearts of the people inside the circle. An inspired brand strategy is one key way to do that.

Your mission is great. You’re changing the world. Now make your passion for it contagious!


Rick is a 36-year veteran in fundraising and organizational development for nonprofit organizations. After serving for eleven years in nonprofit management and fundraising leadership roles, Rick began his consulting career in 1989. In 2002 he founded Dunham+Company, which has become a global leader in providing fully integrated fundraising strategy for nonprofit organizations.

Today, D+C serves over 50 organizations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia, providing integrated fundraising and marketing strategies.

Rick holds a BA from Biola University and a ThM from Dallas Theological Seminary.

He is an active member of the Direct Marketing Association. Rick also serves on the board of The Giving Institute and the Giving USA Foundation. In addition, Rick is a member of The Giving Coalition, the national voice for charitable organizations in the U.S.



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