Even if your organization, campaign or project’s Day One is a vision or a goal, it’s important to make sure that it is perceived as a reality in order to cultivate maximum interest in, and support for, its case or cause.

Day One can be the day your mission is officially adopted. Day One can be the introduction of a new program. Day One can be a debut performance or the unveiling of a new exhibit or expansion. Or, Day One can be the grand opening of your new multi-million dollar museum, theater or community services center.

The fact is that there are many Day Ones in the life of every nonprofit that, when used to create urgency and support through integrated and well-branded communications and actions, will ultimately have a positive impact on your organization’s long-term success.

Rather than positioning your project as a futuristic goal, it’s important to bring it to life NOW through imagery and messaging that is current, consistent, engaging and actionable. This involves not only traditional branding methods, such as building a verbal and visual branding platform that may include a positioning statement, key messages and a logo or mark. It also requires that you put your brand to work in any number of ways to build the exposure and momentum you need to cultivate support from both internal and external audiences.

Here are some ideas about how to bring your Day One initiatives to life and, as a result, create a real-time giving environment in which staff, volunteers, members, donors, stakeholders, prospects, constituents and the public at large can become engaged and involved.

  • Develop a well-branded “official” magazine or newsletter (or a section of existing organizational publications) that keeps people informed about your project’s mission and progress toward Day One goals. Be sure these media offer opportunities for people to give to and get involved with the project.
  • Promote and offer traveling exhibitions that bring your organizational, campaign or the project’s vision and mission directly to key targets through actual interactive and/or informative displays.
  • Offer well-branded, mission-related educational programs that people can attend at venues throughout their communities.
  • Conduct high-profile fundraising events such as community walks or runs that maximize awareness of your initiative and naturally get people involved!
  • Create a website, a micro site, or a space on your current website to specifically promote the project and cultivate support.
  • Start a social media network that focuses on progress toward Day One goals and involvement opportunities.

These branding and promotional initiatives require all involved parties (administrators, program and/or exhibit professionals, operations staff, architects, development officers, the marketing team) to work together on an integrated planning timeline that puts everyone on the same track to reach Day One goals. A sequential approach to promoting and funding a project (plan the project/develop the programs/market the experience/raise the funds) is not the most effective or efficient way to realize maximum results.

In today’s world, there are many current and urgent needs competing for our time, attention and support. Add to that the multi-media culture and clutter that we navigate every day, and it’s clear that we can’t afford to position our organization, campaign or project as a future endeavor.

It’s the here and now of Branding Reality that will get you where you need to go!