How To Create a Great Tagline

Does your organization have a tagline?  If you do, is it descriptive and memorable?    

Short and sweet
A good tagline should depict what your organization does in no more than eight words. With so few words, you need to choose carefully. Use strong verbs and the active voice.  A tagline needs to work both verbally and in writing, so no jargon. Your audience needs to connect with it. 

According to Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention, 72% of nonprofits either have no tagline or one that’s not effective. A tagline such as “Making a difference in the community” is too vague.  It needs to be more specific. A really good example of a tagline is this classic one from the United Negro College Fund – 

A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste”  

It makes a big impact with a few words.

Consistency is key
Your tagline needs to be consistent with your organization’s name and other organizational messaging, such as your position statement and talking points. These include who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why it is important. Of course, your tagline can’t cover all of that, but it should at least convey who are you are. 

“Improving Life, One Breath at a Time”  American Lung Association

Your mission statement is not your tagline
Mission statements are more internal and state the organization’s purpose. They are sometimes wordy and filled with jargon, although they don’t need to be, but that’s a topic for another blog post. However, your tagline should be connected to your mission. Taglines are external and meant for the general public. They should inspire your audience.

Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job”  Homeboy Industries

This article by Joanne Fritz of Nonprofit compares some organizations’ taglines with their mission statements. How to Write Great Taglines and Mission Statements Do a comparison of yours and see how you fare.

Using taglines
If you don’t have a tagline or are creating a new one, choose carefully. It’s a huge part of your brand identity. You want to choose one that you will keep for about 10 years. Your whole organization needs to believe in it. If you don’t, how do you expect the public to? Test out your new tagline before committing to it.

Once you have chosen a great tagline, make it a part of your logo. Use it everywhere. It should be on your website and all of your marketing materials. You can even put it on the back of your business cards.

“Our Vision Does Not Require Sight”  Volunteer Blind Industries

Taglines that work
Here are a few other examples of successful taglines. All are past winners of Getting Attention’s tagline contests.  More are included in the links below.

Some are positive. Some are emotional. Some are fun. But all of them are memorable and make an impact. 

“Instruments of Mass Percussion”  Drums Not Guns

“Where Actors Find Their Space” NYC Theatre Spaces

“Filling pantries. Filling lives” Houston Food Bank

Tagline Resources

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