Trademarked Events and Nonprofit Organizations

Trademarked Events and Nonprofit Organizations

Trademarked Events and Nonprofit Organizations

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament started this week. This is the time of the year in which companies see production slow down as employees follow scores and check their brackets throughout the day. This is also a time of year in which nonprofits need to pay close attention to copyright issues.

Last year we received emails from multiple nonprofits that used the phrase, “March Madness” as prominent part of a fundraising campaign or volunteer activity. Connecting your organization’s volunteer activities and income development needs to pop culture and current events is resourceful. The challenge in this situation, is that the phrase “March Madness” is trademarked by the NCAA.

Super Bowl, Olympics, and World Cup are phrases that are trademarked by the entities that implement those events. While the chances of the NCAA or NFL suing your nonprofit organization are slight, it is a real risk management issue. Is using the phrase “March Madness” going to boost a bracket-based fundraising campaign more than using Battle of the Brackets,, Spring Madness, or March Mania? Hopefully not. If you are ever concerned about a trademark or copyright issue, do your research before you start implementing. The 10 minutes of preparation could save you hours of work later.

We’ve providing some reading for your Friday afternoon. As always, check out Tumblr for additional links throughout the week.

  1. Medium has created a storytelling grant to connect nonprofit with authors, illustrators, and photographers to bring your story to life on Medium, and present it in a truly stunning fashion. This is a great opportunity for any nonprofit focused on storytelling.
  2. Google Voice is a service that many small nonprofits use to help their management of phone calls and voicemail. Google announced this week that they’re going to roll the program into Hangouts. While the details haven’t been announced,
  3. Is Twitter phasing out hashtags and @replies? The Drum shares some of the recent rumblings.
  4. #Fundchat’s weekly Twitter conversation was focused on the myths of fundraising. Check out their transcript for some great insights. Michael Rosen also wrote an insightful post on donor stewardship on #fundchat.
  5. Allyson Kapin from Frogloop shares information from DonorDigital’s review of 16 nonprofit engagement strategies after making a donation.
  6. Network for Good released their Digital Giving Index, which captures a lot of helpful data from 2013.
  7. We’ve discussed the gamification of philanthropy in this space before. Marketo has an interesting opinion piece on the subject focused on gamification, Fitbit, email, and social sharing.
  8. Did you miss #14NTC? Socialfish has several media decks from the conference for your perusal.

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