What’s in a name? A lot, it turns out, if you’re Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) and you want to improve the way you’re telling your story to Canadian-Anglicans.PWRDF, the relief and development arm of the Anglican Church of Canada is now embarking on a name change. This, after an “appreciative inquiry” conducted at the 2007 General Synod revealed that only 30 per cent of Canadian-Anglicans know what PWRDF is about. “That was a serious concern for us,” said Cheryl Curtis, PWRDF executive director, in an interview.Last April, a “participatory branding survey” showed that 80 per cent of 90 respondents want PWRDF to have a name that is “clear, simple and works in the global context,” said Ms. Curtis. PWRDF networks in dioceses and parishes across Canada, its partners overseas, youth council members, and staff from General Synod, the church’s national office in Toronto, participated in the online survey.
The fact that PWRDF is also celebrating its 50th anniversary gave the branding project a big push, she added. The anniversary is “a focused time of building more connection with Anglican churches, development, relief, and global justice ministry,” said Ms. Curtis. “We’re working on how to do that in a more engaging, more inspiring way.” Ms. Curtis underscored that the branding project has the support of the PWRDF board of directors, and Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and president of the PWRDF board of directors.In a letter announcing the name change plan, Archbishop Hiltz said: “It is fitting that as we mark the 50th anniversary, we embrace the challenge of discerning new ways to tell our story of relief and development work in the world – ways that not only inform but inspire sustained commitments of generous support. Consideration of a change of name is a vital piece of that discernment. Announcement of a new name would provide a wonderful segue into the next era of our witness to the compassion and justice of the Lord.”Most respondents to the branding survey said that the name PWRDF does not really reflect what the organization does. “Some indicated that to call an organization ‘a fund’ is confusing,” she said. Ms. Curtis also acknowledged that the word “primate” was often misunderstood. When PWRDF was created in 1958, it was simply known as Primate’s World Relief; 10 years later, the words “and Development” were added.Canadian Anglicans are being encouraged to suggest new names for PWRDF by Friday, July 17. PWRDF’s branding steering committee will recommend two names from a short list to the PWRDF board of directors, which is scheduled to meet on Oct. 31. The new name and logo will be launched at the 2010 General Synod meeting in Halifax.Keep these characteristics in mind when thinking of a name, according to Ms. Curtis: “Partner-centered, faith-based, ethical, accountable, credible.” Suggestions must also be “easy to spell, clear and meaningful, work well in the global community, be original and memorable, and speak to the benefit of what PWRDF does with communities and individuals.”Changing PWRDF’s name is only part of PWRDF’s “brand strategy project,” said Mary Jane Braide, PWRDF’s branding consultant. Briefing the Canadian house of bishops last spring, Ms. Braide said the goal is to “develop a strong and unique PWRDF story, to communicate the story clearly and consistently, and to build new ways to engage and organize Anglicans across the brand focus.”Ms. Braide underscored the importance of standing out, noting that there are 85,000 registered charities in North America that are vying for donors’ attention and support. PWRDF has to know what makes it distinct, she said. “Why support PWRDF? What’s in it for you and for the world?”Ms. Braide also urged Canadian-Anglicans not to be put off by the term “branding,” which has become a loaded term with negative associations. Branding is really just “effective story telling…what you promise to deliver to anyone who gets involved.” She cited the Heart and Stroke Foundation as an example of a “well-managed brand,” saying it has a “very consistent voice” across CanadaSuggestions for a new name can be sent to Christine Hills, PWRDF communications associate, at [email protected]