Play It Again, Sam: Repetition in Non-profit Communications

When you’re working in development and non-profit communications, you live and breathe the message (and story!) of your organization.

After endless conversations with donors, writing newsletter articles, blog posts, social media pieces, and other communications, the professionals within your organization are often the first ones to get ‘message fatigue.’

Maybe it’s you, or a CEO or board member, who’s getting a little bored with the talking points. They grow restless with saying the same thing over and over, and want to change the tune.

While it’s great to be creative in how you present the message, don’t let your main story get lost! There’s nothing wrong with continuing to hit the high points of your story for your donors and supporters. In the advertising world repetition is key, with an old adage that it takes seven presentations for a message to stick. There’s a good reason why brands with nearly 100% market recognition (Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Rolex) still spend millions on advertising every year.

So keep in mind two points:

  1. You’re not always writing for your best supporters, those who know your organization inside and out – you’re writing to invite people to become that best supporter, and they need to hear what you do!
  2. Stick to your organization’s main strengths, the compelling story of the life-changing work of your non-profit, and why your donors are the ones making that happen through their support.

When you get the itch to change the tune, just remember: “Play it again, Sam!”

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