If you are looking for marketing, fundraising, and communications inspiration outside the nonprofit sector, I suggest you look to political campaigns before looking at corporate ones. They usually start scrappy, focus on issues, and want to recruit individuals for small-donor donations, volunteering and advocacy. Sound familiar?

Every time we have a presidential election in the US, we see a big bump in what’s considered best practice in online marketing and fundraising for nonprofits too. This and future posts aren’t about endorsing any candidate, but rather learning from their campaign operations.

So let’s start the takeaways from the 2020 campaign with Pete Buttigieg’s Pete for America Design Toolkit.

If you want people to talk about you and share your stuff, make it super easy, as Pete for America has done here.

Here’s what you as a nonprofit comms pro can take away from this example:

It’s built on a subdomain, allowing it to have a different navigation and page layout than the rest of the site.

Everything is well-organized and starts with what people want. The sections are Logos, Colors, Type, and Team Pete, not 17 dense paragraphs about brand standards that you have to wade through before getting to the good stuff.

The language is supportive and friendly, not red-pencil rule enforcing. Instead, the interactive site empowers people to make their own choices, but within a well-defined palette. This is definitely a departure from campaigns in other years where exact colors and fonts were closely held secrets because campaigns didn’t want people going rogue with designs. Of course, people will do it anyway, so why not empower them with the right info?

We’ve got tons of ways for you to show your support for Pete! Use our color pairing tool to select approved color combinations for all of our campaign logos and download them in JPG, PNG or SVG format.


The brand personality shines through without feeling too forced. The campaign has renamed the colors in the palette to reflect Mayor Pete’s history, including Heartland Yellow, Rust Belt, and Truman Brown.

Rather than adopt the default red, white and blue color palette of past presidential candidates, our color palette is deeply rooted in Pete’s home town – South Bend, Indiana. Born and raised in South Bend, Mayor Pete has led the rust-belt, midwestern city through a period of renaissance since he took office. The nine colors in our palette are an ode to Pete’s hometown and his life there.


It encourages people to express their own identities and values while staying on brand. The Team Pete section has logos for each state and US territory that borrow from typography and colors associated with that state. They are also open to creating other identity graphics, including for interest groups (a la the Women for Obama T-shirt that I still have in my closet). Nice touch giving credit to the professional artists who hand-lettered the state designs too.

Are there other graphics that would be useful? Let us know.


Of course, when you download the graphics, they do ask you to agree to their terms of service. But keeping all that bossy, legal language at the end, rather than upfront like most branding guides, is a great choice for a site that is trying to empower advocates and influencers.

What do you think? How could you draw lessons from this example and incorporate them into your nonprofit’s work? We’d love to hear your thoughts and links to your online style guide for supporters in the comments.

Want more commentary?

Mashable: Pete Buttigieg’s new influencer handbook is an extremely online way to campaign

Fast Company: Exclusive: Pete Buttigieg debuts a radical new approach to campaign branding