Money & Business

Wednesday Buzz: The Price of Looking Too Nice

By / Sep 2, 2015 (Startup Stock Photos/StockSnap)

When designing newsletters, flyers, or other promotional materials for your organization, should you have to be worried about things looking “too professional?” Plus: A seven-step strategy-development template.

Nonprofit marketing expert Kivi Leroux Miller presents a nightmare scenario for designers in her latest blog post: An executive looks over the materials you’ve put together for an event or a donor campaign, hands them back, and says they look too good.

“The theory is that donors will think you wasted their money if any of your communications look like they cost you cash money to produce them,” Miller writes. “This theory holds that all money should be going to programs and services.”

In what may be the most egregious affront to design sensibilities imaginable, one of Miller’s friends was requested to use Comic Sans font and clip art “so that it’ll seem done by a volunteer.”

So what is a nonprofit designer to do? Miller turned to the pros to get their insights, and their perspective goes beyond the standard question of whether or not the materials look nice.

“Design isn’t just how something looks. It’s how it works and the experience people have interacting with your product. … As a nonprofit, I wouldn’t want to skimp on investing in smart design that helps get people to accomplish a goal (such as making a donation or joining an emai list),” Peter Panepento, of Panepento Strategies, advised.

Click here to see Miller’s full post, rife with horror stories and design wisdom.

Development Strategy of the Day

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Looking for a new device to channel your association’s new strategy? Innovation and strategy coach Matthew E. May has a new method for a hands-on development process. He describes it as “a visual tool, a creative device, a standard operating procedure, and an artifact of a team’s strategic thinking.” So download the template, follow May’s instructions, and let the creative process begin!

Other Good Reads

What’s the source of your organization’s internal struggles? According to Warby Parker cofounder Neil Blumenthal’s contribution to LinkedIn’s series on hiring secrets, “Entitlement is the root of all evil in a company.”

If you want to get more out of your association’s next team-building retreat, keep in mind these 15 tips from Anne Thornley-Brown, via Cvent’s Event Planning blog.

If you’re concerned about being replaced by a robot, then don’t read this story about the potential of artificial intelligence in business, by editor Charles McLellan on ZDNet.

Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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