The Tipping Point Part 2: How to Make Your Idea Stick

If you haven’t read the first part of this series, hop on over to that article HERE. Otherwise, welcome to part 2 of The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

In this article I am going to dive into Malcolm Gladwell’s Stickiness Factor and how it applies to your organization.

The Stickiness Factor

“The specific quality that a message need to be successful is the quality of ‘stickiness.’ Is the messages or the food, or the movie, or the product-memorable?”

For our purposes, the Stickiness factor is how effective your nonprofit and your cause or mission stays in the mind of a potential donor, volunteer, sponsor, or grant funder.

The goal is for your idea to be sticky enough to be remembered so it can then be acted upon.

There are a lot of ideas about how you can make an idea (your nonprofit and your cause) more sticky.

One of my favorite ideas come from Chip and Dan Heath in their book Made to Stick.

Take five minutes to watch the reviews below about Made to Stick:

Three Ways to Make Your Nonprofit and Your Mission STICK

I want to share with you 3 ways to make your nonprofit and your cause STICK in the minds of donors, potential volunteers, grant funders, or anyone else.

The three I want to focus on come from Made to Stick,

They are…

  • Using stories
  • Utilizing Authority (credibility)
  • Simplicity

#1 Using Stories

Your organization can become more sticky by using stories. One of my favorite nonprofit stories is how Shelene Bryan talks about going to Africa and then starting (Notice how she also uses humor to draw you in and captivate you).

#2 Utilizing Authority

Another way your nonprofit can become more sticky is by utilizing authority in your campaigns, grants, etc.

An example of this is Pencils of Promise. Did you know that Justin Bieber promoted their nonprofit and helped it become super popular? It just so happened that the founder, Adam Braun, had a brother who was Justin Bieber’s agent. That connection led Justin Bieber to play a huge role in “authority” for Pencils of Promise.

Your nonprofit can look to authority within your community, and authority can be connectors who aren’t famous, so keep your eyes pealed!

#3 Simplicity

The third way that your nonprofit can become more sticky is by keeping things simple.


When I think of simplicity and stickiness, I think about charity:water. They drill wells around the world for clean water.


They don’t try to do a million other projects and they keep their message clear and simple. They drill water wells.

Can your organization simplify your message? Are you promoting too many projects? Perhaps you want to simplify your message so you can STICK in peoples’ minds.

I’m going to come back to Made to Stick AND The Tipping Point in future posts, so I definitely recommend reading them. For now, let’s work on getting your nonprofit sticky!



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