Be boldHave you ever seen the image of the three monkeys that depict “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”? If you have, I’m sure right about now you’re seeing the mental picture of the monkeys in your mind.

Recently, I was talking to my team about our shoe drive fundraising social enterprise brand. We were discussing a partner and brainstorming ideas for success.

I’ve been in sales and marketing for decades and I reminded my team that for any brand we should always think of “unseen, untold, unsold.” Businesses, nonprofits and social enterprises all have the same marketing goals. They have to cut through the fragmented and unbelievable amounts of information that their target audience receives every single day. And, it has to be done in creative and consistent ways.

And, when this is done well, organizations see growth to their bottom line.


When you think of any major brand, I’m sure their logo immediately comes to mind. You see the shapes, colors and images associated with that brand. You probably also think about your feelings related to the brand. For instance, I do a lot of travel. And, I can tell you what immediately comes to mind when I see the logo or think about a particular airline. I can tell you if I feel I’ve had a good experience with them or if I will do everything to avoid ever getting on one of their planes again.

The brain is a powerful organ and it stores all of these visual images for our “mind’s eye.” So, the next time you see a familiar logo, one of their products or services, your mind immediately recalls associated mental pictures or words. When a brand is able to get you seeing their logo and products in your mind in a positive way, they’re golden.


This element is about the story. Period. Decisions to do business with someone, purchase a product or service from a vendor or even to donate to charity are all dependent on the story. In fact, I think this is the most important aspect in our equation.

Every brand has a story. All brands have to become masters at telling their stories. If you’re a fundraiser at a nonprofit or social enterprise, you have to communicate the stories about your mission in a thoughtful and compelling way. If you’re at a business, you have to convey what you do to your customers and how they’ll feel after they purchase your product or service.

Nonprofits and social enterprises have to do the same thing. Donors want to know that after they support your organization, they did some good and made some sort of difference. The only way to help them get to donating is by way of your story.


Businesses are seeking customers and charities are looking for donors. That’s the bottom line.

If you do the first two things well, you’ll see an increase in your revenue. If you don’t do the “unseen” or “untold” parts well enough, your brand is going to be languishing in the dark. In other words, people won’t know who you are or what you’re about.

Next time you’re sitting in a marketing meeting, remember “unseen, untold, unsold.” Hopefully, it’ll serve as a reminder to you and your team for increasing your bottom line.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Be Bold, Dominate and Succeed in Marketing For Today’s Digital World On A Limited Budget” (Free Digital Download)

© 2016 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.