Identity Heft: How to steal from yourself — and why you should!

This is part four in my four-part Identity Heft series. In case you missed the others…


According to MailChimp, only 25% of nonprofit email newsletters get opened. Less than 3% get clicked. And think about your social media accounts — how many likes and shares do you really get with each post? The fact of the matter is, your audiences are not hanging on your every word. Some are, but the vast majority aren’t.

And that can get strangely distorted when you’re in the thick of it; you know all of the Communications materials your nonprofit is cranking out (it’s literally your job) but an average supporter will only see a small fraction of what you do.

Believe it or not, this is great.

Save yourself time and energy with repetition - recycle and remix your nonprofit's marketing content!

Psst – Are you on Pinterest? You know what to do!


This, ladies and gentlemen, is your licence to copy. SHAMELESSLY.

Let’s say you write a monthly blog post. If you recut, rehash, remix, and rework your posts, you’ll have enough material for a slew of media across all your communications platforms.

For example, you can recycle a blog post by:

  • Grabbing soundbites for Tweets
  • Using excerpts for Facebook posts
  • Layering quotes over pictures for social media graphics
  • Reusing text in email newsletters
  • Stashing particularly good phrasing (project descriptions?) for long-term use
  • Recycling the post in its entirety in your Annual Report (maybe with a few tweaks)
  • Taking any comments or responses as inspiration for future blog post topics!

By spreading your content across platforms and focusing on different elements each time, you actually help your audience understand your message and ensure your hard work gets seen!

And if someone catches you recycling content? That’s even better!


Here’s the great thing about repetition: it works.

It’s why commercials rerun ad nauseum and flashcards help with memorization: humans learn through repetition.

Communications-wise, marketing gurus claim it takes seven exposures to a brand for someone to finally take action and buy (or perhaps donate?).


So while you’re groaning at the seven millionth time telling that story again, a potential donor could be getting comfortable with the idea of supporting your work. Don’t make them have second thoughts.


Repetition is good when you have a strong message.

The more times your audience sees your message, the more memorable it becomes.

But that raises the question — how good is your messaging? And that question becomes more critical when it comes to organizational language like your mission, vision, description, and more.

The repetition rule applies to your organizational language too, except where you may have reworked content when sharing one-off posts, your core descriptions and identity should be identical every time.

You can get away with highlighting different angles for blog posts because they tend to be more creative summaries; you’re hoping the audience will get the gist of what you’re trying to say.

An organization’s identity, on the other hand, should be clear and unwavering. The more you “just wing it” and make up language on the fly, the more you dilute your identity.


So do you have a strategy, or are you just winging it?

If you’re ready to move forward with a plan, check out Workshop in a Box — the interactive communications workbook for nonprofits on a budget.


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