The Name game Part 1

The Name Game (Part 1)

Alex Atkinson, Marketing & Media


Does naming your new fundraising campaign fill you with dread and foreboding? You’re not alone if you see a future of too many cooks with strong, contradictory opinions deciding on a name that satisfies everyone, except your donors. It doesn’t have to be so painful.


The most common error is jumping ahead and throwing names onto paper before you’ve all agreed on what constitutes a great name. Many ingredients go into a powerful title. But looking around at some of today’s campaigns, three critical rules of the game are being overlooked.


Sound natural

Great, so your new campaign is going to do many wonderful things and you want the name to communicate as many of them as possible. Please don’t. Longwinded, heavy-handed campaign titles can sound awkward and forced to your donors. Keep it short, focus on one big message, and think of it as a gateway through which your donors will discover all the other great things your campaign will accomplish. In the end, it has to sound like something a normal person would drop into a conversation.


Show emotion

This is the hardest thing to get right. But when you keep the name short and simple, you allow the emotional side of your campaign to emerge. This is the human side to the name, where supporters see the people and motivations behind the campaign and identify with them. This is also where the urgency comes through as the emotional element often hints at a problem that needs solving.


Be original.

Your campaign must sound like a one-off because it’s a specific cure for a specific problem. If you play if safe, you risk slipping into generic, group-hug territory where you lose people who want to be inspired and energized.


Next week, we explore naming strategies where you prepare the ground for the kind of name you’re looking for.

The Name Game Part 2

The Name Game (Part 2)

Alex Atkinson, Marketing & Media


Last week, I looked at three important ground rules for naming your fundraising campaign. The next step—before you start to brainstorm actual names—is figuring out the kind of name you want.


Signpost Strategy

Often the most successful names are purely descriptive, framing the campaign around a simple distinguishing label that is flexible enough to stage all manner of campaign executions. Charity:Water’s “September” campaign is a good example. It’s in September. Enough said.


Outcome Strategy

A sharp rallying cry about the campaign goal can pierce the strongest layers of ambivalence. It’s why so many campaign names today focus on the ultimate outcome, like The Guardian’s fossil fuel divestment campaign “Keep It In The Ground.”


Value Strategy

Oxfam’s “Even It Up” campaign speaks to a core belief in equality that unites their supporters. Can you do the same and zoom out to show supporters the ultimate reason for taking action?


When that blank piece of paper stares up at me, I use these strategies as launch pads for ideas. It really helps to get the creative process rolling, and you often think up good names for each of your strategies. From there, the selection process is just as much about the best strategy as it is about how you execute it in the name itself.