Rubber Duck Race For Nonprofits

Branding is often associated with huge corporations but a powerful brand is important to nonprofits as well. In addition, your brand is your identity and the way people feel about your nonprofit, what they talk about when you come up in conversation and your overall reputation in the nonprofit world. As the nonprofit landscape gets increasingly competitive, it is essential to brand yourself by clearly communicating your nonprofit’s focus, credibility and unique contributions.

Here are 4 ways to brand your nonprofit:

1. Build a positioning statement and tagline
First of all, decide what your message is. Why are you passionate about what you do, what do you stand for and what makes you unique?  For a local recreation center, it could be: Creating brighter futures for children of Phoenix, AZ.  With each communication,  ask yourself: does this show how we create brighter futures?

Next determine your tagline which is a catchy phrase that creates emotion and captures your mission.  An example could be: Happy Kids. Happy Futures. Consistent tagline use helps your audience connect with your message.  Here are some guidelines for creating a strong nonprofit tagline.

Our nonprofit partner, Pace Center for Girls, uses this tagline: “Changing lives, one girl at a time. ”

Pace Center for Girls tagline

2. Visual consistency
Make sure that your logo and brand colors are used across all marketing channels including social media, website, newsletters, emails and press releases.

3. Get everyone on board
Make sure that your staff, board members and volunteers know your message and share it with others. Your staff and board of directors must reflect your value at all times and be willing to stand behind your brand.

4. Develop your key messages
Create messages that your audience connect with and recognize. Share what you do and why it is special, and give your audience a clear understanding of your story. Most importantly, be personable and compelling. As you create your key messages it is also helpful to go back to your positioning statement.

It is more important than ever to brand your organization by clearly communicating your organization’s story and to establish your credibility. A brand is you, your mission and the impact you hope to make on the world. How are some ways you brand your nonprofit? Let us know! 

While the digital landscape is changing daily there is one thing that remains constant, the need for compelling images in storytelling.  Whether you are sharing news, educating about your nonprofit’s cause, fundraising, recruiting volunteers, or recognizing your donors,  visual content is a defining factor in helping your audience connect with your organization and your mission.  You don’t need to be a graphic designer to create engaging and captivating images to promote your nonprofit and your Derby Duck Race! You can design visual images like a pro by using Canva.  It is a great online tool that is free and makes creating beautiful graphics easy for everyone on your nonprofit staff.

design visual images such as blog images
Blog Graphic created in Canva
Why do visuals matter?
  • The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
  • We can understand a visual scene in 1/10 of a second.
  • Visuals draw us in and help us understand content faster and 87% of a Facebook page’s engagement happens on photo posts.
  • According to Buffer, adding images to your tweets in Twitter will result in 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, 150% more retweets.
design visual images such as infographics
Sample Infographic created in Canva
Features included in Canva: 
  • Layouts of all types. You don’t have to google the best size for your Facebook cover photo.  If there is a specific size you need, you can make your own custom dimensions.
  • You can create website images, infographics, presentations, posters, thank you cards, social media posts, and letterhead and numerous other designs.
  • Access to 1 million stock images you can drag and drop. Many are free, some are $1.00.
  • Easily save, download and share images. (jpg, png, pdf standard and pdf print).
  • Auto saves all of your designs.
  • Create photo collages in minutes.
  • Canva for Iphone App – Try the app on your Iphone which includes the sames features of the Canva desktop version for creating visuals using your phone.
design visual images such as motivational quotes
Sample Quote Graphic created in Canva

There is also a Canva for Work paid option which you can sign up for that will allow you to resize your images in different formats for blog, Facebook ad, Twitter post and other formats.  Canva for Nonrprofits is a free subscription version for nonprofits that includes more enhanced features.

Do you have an online design tool that you could not live without?  We’d love to hear about it!

Happy New Year racers! With just a few days left of 2016, it’s time to start thinking about your resolutions for 2017.  Resolutions are all about making yourself better – but why can’t that include your nonprofit?  Pick a few resolutions that we have listed down below that resonate with you and incorporate them in your duck race planning for next year.

Here is a list of resolutions related to your rubber duck race:
  • Complete and return all of my racer forms by the deadline.
  • Create team sales kits to motivate teams to meet their goals. Include duck adoption papers, sample emails, social media posts, sales tips, and duck merchandise.
  • Schedule a duck race kick-off party two months prior to your race at a local restaurant.
  • Increase online Duck Adoption Sales by 15%.
  • Post all year long about your race on social media, not just during race season. Ask trivia questions about your race or nonprofit and award a small prize for the person who answers correctly.
  • Create a simple hashtag for your race to use on social media, your duck adoption website and marketing materials (for example: #chicagoduckrace).
  • Get the media’s attention by wrapping a press release around a duck call, sending duck shaped cookies or having Quacky help with the weather forecast.
  • Tell the story of why you race rubber ducks with a photo book that you show potential sponsors. Chatbooks allows you to create a photo book for just $8 including shipping.
  • Implement a “What a Duck Can Do” campaign to let your fans know exactly what their donations do for your nonprofit.
  • Make an extra effort to ensure the racing ducks are sparkling clean before they travel to the next race.
  • Like GAME Fundraising’s Facebook Page and Twitter Page to keep up to date on racer news and other nonprofit tips.
  • Read the GAME Fundraising Blog for ideas on promoting your race and to learn the latest nonprofit news.
  • If possible, visit another race and learn about their organization.
  • Contact another duck racer to share ideas. GAME can put you in contact with someone.
  • After the race, sit down with my duck race committee and discuss ways to improve the race with my nonprofit and with GAME.

Share any of your Duck Race Resolutions with us on Facebook! Wishing everyone a successful 2017 Duck Race Season!


Every one of GAME’s nonprofit partners and rubber duck races are unique and different in their own way. This allows us to learn different perspectives on different ways to host this type of fundraiser.  This month our blog features a Duck Racer Spotlight on Kennewick, WA and the Tri-Cities Rotary Club.

Organization Name: The Tri-Cities Rotary Club

Years Racing with GAME: 28

Head Duck: Rick Routh (2016)

Duck racer spotlight on Kennewick, WA race poster

Tell us a little bit about your organization and why you are racing Derby Ducks:

Our Race is put on by the combined effort of our six local Rotary Clubs to raise funds to support each Club’s charitable donations, scholarship programs and community projects. All six of our Rotary Clubs sell tickets and are involved in all aspects of planning the Derby Duck Race.

What is your favorite part of planning a Derby Duck Race?

Experiencing the enthusiasm and generosity of our community when we approach them for the various goods and services we need to put on our Race.

Do you have any duck race tips you would share with a first time racer?

Involve the community and make it a spectacle. Launching 40,000 ducks in the water is quite a visual.  Otherwise, it’s just a raffle.

Duck racer spotlight on Kennewick, WA duck adoption event

How do you keep your race fresh and new year after year?

After 28 years now, our Race has become something of an institution in our community, with people looking forward to it almost like the coming of Spring. The fact that we have a brand new car as our Grand Prize and typically almost 50 other prizes, plus other coupon offers on our tickets for items at local businesses also keeps people buying tickets year after year.

Duck racer spotlight on Kennewick, WA car prize

What is something some people might not know about your organization and/or Derby Duck Race?

The money raised by our Race stays in our community to make it a better place to live and to help those individuals who are in need.

What are some organizational goals you are trying to achieve with your Derby Duck Race?

Fundraising and promoting the work of Rotary locally and around the world.

What is your favorite phrase or quote?

Lend a hand, buy a duck (our Race slogan)

What is your favorite Ducktionary Phrase?

Quackerbacker. We have several recognition levels for people/companies purchasing 25, 50, 100 or more tickets.

Search Engine Optimization may seem complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. By shifting your focus to the customer experience and researching your target audience,  you can increase your ranking on Google and drive more traffic to website.  Below are 3 easy SEO strategies for nonprofits that your staff  or website developer can implement to help your online presence.


Take the time and research the most popular and relevant keywords that apply to your nonprofit website. Think about your target audience and what they enter in web searches to find your nonprofit website.  The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a free resource that we would recommend. Choose 3 to 5 keywords and assign them to each page on your website.  Make sure that they appear as much as possible in your content and headline copy.

Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Your title tags and meta descriptions are what show up in when a person enters a search query.  The title tag is the top heading that appears and is limited to 50-60 characters.  The title tag needs to be concise, describe page content accurately, and incorporate a couple of keywords.  The meta description appears below the title tag, includes your key words, and summarizes a web page’s content.   The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters.

easy SEO strategy for nonprofits with meta description

Alt Image Tags

Alt image tags are descriptions of the images you use on your website.  They help significantly with traffic to your site because it tells the search engines what the image is about. Search engines can’t read images without text.  Not labeling images creates a poor user experience for people who have disabled images in their browsers or for visually impaired people. If you use your keywords as part of your description it helps even more to increase your SEO.  A recommended rule of thumb is to keep the alt image tag description under 125 characters excluding spaces.

Implementing these easy SEO strategies will help increase your ranking in Google and make it easier for supporters to find you.  Share with us any other easy strategies you use to boost your nonprofits SEO.

Duck Season has come to a close and it certainly has been a busy one! However, just because the ducks are on a well-deserved vacation now doesn’t mean that they can’t still be talked about during non-race season.  Here are some duck race promotions for all year that you can implement to keep your duck race in the minds of your donors all year.

Duck Jokes

These are simple and fun to post on slower social media days or Fridays before you head into the weekend.  You can create some fun duck joke images in Canva in a matter of minutes.

rubber duck race promotions for all year with a duck joke

Funny Duck Images

If you Google image search “funny ducklings” you will find a lot of fun photos of ducks to post.

Inspiring Quotes

People love seeing positive posts so find an inspiring quote and post it.  It doesn’t need to be about ducks.

rubber duck race promotions for all year with an inspiring quote

Post media coverage about your organization

Share press coverage your nonprofit has received throughout the year.  Fans are interested in what your next projects and events are so share it with them.

rubber duck promotions all year with media coverage

Showcase what your duck adoptions did for your community

Include how duck race funds have specifically helped your nonprofit. For example,  we were able to expand our animal shelter due to proceeds from the duck race or we were able to feed xx number of people this year at the Food Bank due to duck race proceeds.  You can also tell a story of how duck adoptions will benefit your organization.

rubber duck race promotions for all year showing how duck adoption helped

Post past race photos

These are great to post for #ThrowbackThursday or #FlashbackFridays.  It reminds your fans how much fun your first duck race was and how it continues to grow and help the community.

rubber duck race promotions all year showing Throwback Thursday

Post trivia about your organization or duck race

Ask questions about your duck race and/or organization and offer a small prize to the winner.  You can also tie in “You can find the answer on our website” to help your fans out as well a drive traffic to your website.

Have your Quacky Mascot involved in events throughout the year

Your Quacky Mascot can make appearances at holiday parades, fall events, sporting events, carnivals, and can visit your sponsors throughout the year.

rubber duck race promotions all year with mascot appearances

How are some ways that you promote your Duck Race throughout the year? Let us know!

Rubber Duck Race For Nonprofits