nonprofit win: maps and cupcakes

When I was the client, the strategy guys doing what I do now used to make fun of how many times I wanted to run a map in our materials. I was always looking for a reason to show a world map with our work displayed “in some kinda new cool way” (that was what they used to say I said…I don’t remember it that way).

Here’s the deal: Maps make things real. Maps help the abstract become concrete. I stumbled upon “She’s the First” because of a map.

“She’s the First” is a nonprofit that helps send girls in the developing world to school. The “she’s the first” thing is the girl you help is the first in her family to graduate from high school. Pretty vivid title huh? And now you and I pretty much know their mission.

They make a compelling case for why their work is important.

And then they use simple maps very effectively to show where fundraisers are held and where the girls are being helped. Maps everywhere!

And they’re into cupcakes. You won’t know why I like that, but in some circles I carry the nickname “Cupcake” (loooong story). Even their cupcakes are memorable — tie dye cupcakes! Yum.

I’m not promoting “She’s the First” and I don’t know much about them…but:

They have a clear brand. And a great name.

They are memorable, sticky and they’re getting media exposure because of the brand and their grassroots roots.

They demonstrate donor impact. (Maps are always great).

If you’re a big, traditional nonprofit, take a lesson from their clear branding, great message and concreteness. And maybe you might be a little uneasy about what a great brand they are. There are many cool growing NPOs out there.

If you’re not one of the biggies…the lesson is easier.

Get a map. OK, seriously, show your impact.

Cupcakes-Couldn’t hurt. (Memorable baked goods are always good).

We need to see impact.

What do you think about the power of maps? How does your NPO make your work concrete to your donors? What’s your favorite cupcake flavor? I love hearing what you think.

Steve Thomas
Partner, Oneicity

(photo credit: clever cupcakes)

Picture of Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas

3 thoughts on “nonprofit win: maps and cupcakes”

  1. “Memorable baked good are always good.” Steve Thomas, Sage.

    “Let them eat cake.” Maybe the person famous for this saying didn’t have such good intentions, but I believe it is a good recipe for success and the foundation for a fulfilling life. Cardamon is a seductive spice too often neglected – cream cupcakes with cardamon are subtle but unforgettable.

  2. @Deborah — I’m not sure I should get a “sage” for memorable bake goods, but I’ll take it however I can coming from you!

    Glad to know about cardamon with cream…sounds like you: subtle but unforgettable!
    Thank you.

  3. @Steve – I always get sage advice from you…and Steve the Sage is beats Steve the Cupcake! However, I am certain you are Kris’s favorite cupcake.

    Never have I been called “subtle.” I’ll try to live down to that one.

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