Slogans that work best (and what to avoid)

A look at the approaches of two charities—one national, the other local—shows how a generic slogan will elicit shrugs and yawns from what might otherwise be an energized audience.

Too often, they think their message is what they do, when it should be why they do it. Emphasizing the why provides an emotional connection with the audience.

An example can be demonstrated with the comparison of two charitable groups—United Way Worldwide (the headquarters) and United Way of Greater St. Louis, for which I have volunteered for the past decade.

In comparing the banners, i.e., the main message, on the home page of their respective websites, there is a distinct difference. In my opinion, the St. Louis chapter presents a more effective audience-based message in its banner.

The message for the St. Louis chapter is simply, “Helping People.”

That message appears on every webpage, and is even supported by its URL: “”

What makes this so effective is that it succinctly states why people give to the United Way—to help people live better lives. It’s simple, yet effective and personal. It is why they do what they do and what people care about.

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