5 tips for naming your fundraising campaign

Enticing donors to contribute to your academic mission or other laudable cause requires a deft touch, starting with selecting its name. Make it banner-worthy.

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Everyone—from the executive team to your volunteers—has an opinion.

Your first step as “namer in chief” is to accept the fact that you will not please everyone—and that’s OK. (I once dubbed a jumping show horse Flying Sparkles.) In his 1952 address to the Democratic National Convention, Adlai Stevenson reminded us, “Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one.”

These five tips and cautionary tales will help you select a name for your fundraising campaign that sticks in the heads and hearts of your donors:

1. Think big—but not too big. Campaigns of any type are one of the few remaining opportunities for soaring rhetoric. Here one can speak of bright shining moments, points of light and the hoof beats of history. A campaign name should inspire and motivate, but you don’t want to over-promise and under-deliver. If your campaign case is centered on increasing your university’s scholarship endowment or upgrading the athletic fields, Transformations probably isn’t a good option.

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