Our experience in professional nonprofit fundraising and communications has taught us something pretty invaluable. You can reach ambitious goals without sacrificing your conscience. Or your personality.

Remember, your brand is much more than just the services you offer. Or your logo. Or a framed slogan on a wall. It's an ongoing story that unfolds with every single ad, newsletter, grant application and promotion you send out into the world. When you tell a story, and tell it well, you do more than just inform people in the short term. You inspire them for the long term.

It works great for those stretchy winter gloves. Not so much for building a strong brand. Your organization has its own history, perspective, strengths and challenges. Recycled ideas just aren't going to do that justice. Timely, considered thinking with the right creative partner will.

Good ol' common sense is a wonderful thing. And of course, your own trusty intuition is worth quite a bit. But when you're solving a problem, it's always a good idea to keep the door open for an unexpected solution. You just might find it's the best one.

Remember to always do your homework. Whether it's making a bookmark or a billboard, understand as much as you can about what you're doing, why you're doing it, and how others are doing it. Then, most importantly, do it your own way.

Never trust this man.