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In Fundraising, Different Is Distinctive
In Fundraising, Different Is Distinctive

You need to differentiate your organization from others, which comes after establishing your position in the community. According to direct response pioneer and guru Richard Viguerie, you might need to become “a purple cow.” 

This will lead you to a few questions:

  • What does it mean that you need to become a purple cow?
  • How does differentiation relate to positioning?
  • Differentiation is visual, why?

First, “Purple Cow” is the title of a book by Seth Godin. The concept is to cut through the clutter of an over-communicated world by being unique, like a purple cow in a field with black and white or brown bovines.

Viguerie sat with his friend Kevin Gentry during 2020 to discuss nonprofit fundraising and marketing. The result is a 40-page booklet titled “Viguerie’s Four Horsemen of Marketing.”

Differentiation relates to positioning because positioning is the foundation upon which everything else is built. It doesn’t mean you’re better than the others. It’s doing something that no other organization offers, Viguerie and Gentry explained. Here’s a key concept: Position is private, what you decide. Differentiation is taking that position through public activities, according to Viguerie and Gentry.

Differentiation being visual brings more questions:

  • Who signs your direct mail appeals?
  • Do you have known and respected advisory board members on your letterhead?
  • What should you feature in images for your newsletters and other publications?
  • What might you send supporters?

All of these decisions are visual in nature. According to Viguerie and Gentry, you have fewer than 10 seconds to make an impression as people sort through their mail while standing next to a trash can. What you send must immediately catch the interest of the target.

To receive a copy of the booklet, send an email to kgentry@standtogether.org