This incredible list comes courtesy of ad man extraordinarie Roy Williams. While he focuses on ads, this list applies to overall non profit marketing as well.

1. The world of advertising is noisier and more crowded than you ever dreamed possible.
2. Even though you are paying money to reach them, prospective customers (e.g. donors) are not required to give you their attention.
3. Until you win the customer’s attention, your message does not exist.
4. People turn their attention – moment by moment – to whatever is most interesting.
5. It is hard to make ads interesting.
6. The message contained in your ad must be relevant.
7. The message contained in your ad must be credible.
8. True isn’t always credible. And credible isn’t always true. Competitors know this.
9. Ads soft enough not to repel anyone are also too weak to attract anyone.
10. If you evaluate each ad by asking, “Who might this offend?” you will never craft an ad sharp enough to pierce the clutter.
11. Every brand attracts a different set of core values in the hearts of its customers. The strategy that grew Apple computers into a worldwide brand won’t work for J.C. Penney. Just ask Ron Johnson.

I’m very lucky to be heading off to study with Roy for three days in early August. I’ll report back what I learn.