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20NTC Session Proposal

Branding for the Apocalypse: How to Get People to Care about Your Cause When Everything Is Horrible


Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re living in end times? Needless to say, times are tough. I work with a lot of nonprofits, and almost every one of them has told me that they’re having a challenging time getting people to care about their cause amidst all that’s happening in the country and around the world. Unless you’re the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or the Red Cross, you’re probably in the same boat. Not only is it hard to get people’s attention, it somehow feels insincere to raise your organization’s needs when there are so many pressing matters bombarding people’s feeds on an hourly basis.

Unfortunately, I can’t change what’s happening in politics, and I can’t wave a wand to make the natural disasters go away. But I’d like to help you think through how your nonprofit’s brand might evolve in these uncertain times. In this panel discussion, I’ll be joined by Rhiannon Tasker who leads donor communications for The Public Theater in New York City, and Kristyna Jones, Co-Founder, and COO of Brothers Empowered 2 Teach (BE2T), a New Orleans-based non-profit founded in 2015 whose mission is to inspire and incentivize men of color to choose careers in education.

Rhiannon will share how one of NYC’s most iconic and influential performing arts organizations has confronted political issues head-on in their programming and communications, leading to a wave of public support. Kristyna will discuss how BE2T is decidedly apolitical in their actions but has found a winning formula for generating buzz, enthusiasm, and support for their work in the schools, communities, and funding circles of New Orleans and beyond.

In this session, we’ll discuss the roles of inclusivity, authenticity, and urgency in order to remain relevant and resonant. We’ll discuss the healthy tension between hope/joy/optimism and struggle/adversity/realism. We’ll make the case that it’s in the dark times that we need to invest in branding the most — to elevate spirits and show the world what’s possible through their support and their actions.

Learning Outcomes

  • Rise above the noise by creating a brand that feels more bold and urgent
  • Adopt strategies for developing a more inclusive brand that exceeds expectations
  • Understand why brand authenticity is of paramount importance today, and how to achieve it




280 - 281


April 11, 2018


1:30pm – 3:00pm



CFRE Credits

NFR - 1.5

Collaborative Notes

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Session Evaluation

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