“Own Your Brand” — best pitch of the year

IMG_6230I actually enjoy reading the solicitation letters that flood in from nonprofits in December. The reads are often good, sometimes dreadful. Very occasionally, they are just plain awesome.

One solicitation really stood out this year. The mailing came from City Blossoms, a small nonprofit in DC that focuses on growing community gardens to build strong neighborhoods. I think of this group as scrappy, and visionary. They work with kids and dirt—not an easy combo—in edgy neighborhoods. What grows from their work is community, understanding and enthusiasm for the environment.

And someone on the City Blossoms team obviously knows about owning your brand.

Nonprofits have a tendency to lose sight of their brand when they go to craft the final letter of the year. The letters get crammed with stats and names and goals and results. That’s fine, but you’re asking me to believe in what your organization achieves, not teaching me math.

City Blossoms volunteers are champions in their communities, and their general audience is children and the people who care about them. The organization put those two things together and came up with a brilliant answer: Okay, kids, who helps the citizens, and saves the day? Makes a magical result from something bad?


You could get into heavy text about Yungian archetypes, but why not just draw a comic book? That’s what City Blossoms did, and it was as fun to read as…a comic book. I learned a little about their volunteers, what’s happening, how they transform neighborhoods.

And I was grinning while I read a solicitation letter. Now that’s a winner.