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The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand: Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving by Jeff Brooks

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Chapter FourWe're Being Brandjacked

A Guide to Survival

Remember the tale of the hapless business traveler who had a drink with an attractive stranger in a hotel bar? He woke up the next morning in a bathtub of ice water and a note saying one of his kidneys had been “harvested.”

When that urban legend made the rounds, I knew a guy who believed it. Really believed it. He was a frequent traveler and an extrovert who enjoyed conversations with strangers—“new friends,” he called them. The story seemed completely plausible to him, which made it completely terrifying.

This guy didn't just let his fear fester. He drew up a list of warning signs: signals that the new friend you've just met might have her eyes on one of your kidneys. He e-mailed his list around to other business travelers, and that's when I read it. I remember only one of the warning signs: “She asks a lot of questions about your health.”

Don't worry—you don't really need the rest of the list. You aren't likely to have your kidneys harvested against your will.

But there's a different danger you should guard against: If you work at a nonprofit, there's a good chance there's a Brand Expert who has your organization in her sights, plotting a sly attack that could leave you figuratively wounded and gasping in a bathtub full of icy water.

I call it brandjacking—when Brand ...

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