5 Steps to Consider When Rebranding Your Nonprofit

The decision to rebrand is a big step for many organizations. It can help your brand get with the times, help your team communicate more efficiently and help you engage with an appropriate audience. Whatever your reasons are for a rebrand, you should have a clear idea of your goal and how you plan to go about achieving it.

Take a look at our five steps for getting on the right track to a successful rebrand.

1. Decide if it’s the right time

Rebranding is a lengthy process, so you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Think through your organization’s needs and goals before deciding if it’s the right time for a change. Changing a brand doesn’t just affect your audience—it also impacts how your organization operates.

Before anything else, take time to think through your decision. There are plenty of questions you can ask that can help your organization determine if it’s time for a rebrand. These are just a few to get you started:

  • Do we need a new opportunity to stand out?
  • Is our donor retention rate changing?
  • Does our organization’s vision need an update?

Our friends over at Big Duck have an eBook, The Rebrand Effect, which is another helpful resource for deciding if it’s the right time for your nonprofit to rebrand.

2. Create a brand guide

A brand guide is an important device in your rebranding toolkit because it gives you clear guidelines for design and messaging. Your organization’s voice has to be unified across the board whether it’s in print, online or in-person.

First, use your brand guide to align your team with the new vision. This is also an opportunity to train your staff in the new communication strategies for social media and public relations. An effective brand guide gives your organization a clear method of communicating, and it gives your audience a clear idea of what you stand for.

3. Switch it up

Looking for a chance to stand out? Switching up your nonprofit’s logo or slogan is a good way to express a branding change to your audience. For this step, refer back to your brand guide. Make sure your new logo or slogan clearly represents your organization’s mission and values. Updating a logo requires thoughtful development, but it’s also also an opportunity to tell a story about your new brand.

4. Develop key messages

Key messages play the combined roles of an organization’s mission statement and its logo. On one hand, they lay out the facts and goals that are a part of a nonprofit’s strategy and positioning. On the other hand, they can convey a brand’s story and its personality.

Make sure to pay attention to the things your audience values when creating key messages. Your audience might be the reason you’re considering a rebrand, so make sure to weigh their opinions, too. Strike a good balance—establish messages that your audience can identify with, but also stick to what’s most important to your organization’s core.

More importantly, listen to your staff when you’re developing your key messages. You’re launching a company-wide rebrand, so you need your company’s support when developing and implementing it. You can gain significant feedback by listening to the people that turn the gears of your nonprofit.

5. Make it stick

Once the rebranding process is complete, you have to make it stick. Make sure everyone is on the same page for your organization’s new look.

  • For your staff: Have conversations with them through the whole process. Make sure they feel like they’re part of your nonprofit’s decision-making. Later, make sure that everyone is well-trained in new strategies and communication styles. The more knowledgeable your team is, the more confident they will be when representing your nonprofit.
  • For your audience: It’s time to show off your new brand. Promoting is especially important on your website and social media. Keeping your audience updated will prevent any confusion when you make the switch. Sending consistent messages about your new brand gives your audience a better understanding of your organization’s values and purpose.

The decision to rebrand can make a world of difference for nonprofits. It represents how your nonprofit has changed on the outside, but it can also have a considerable effect on how you operate on the inside. The steps in your rebranding process will lay a strong foundation for those changes and the future of your organization.

What worked (and maybe what didn’t work) for your nonprofit’s rebranding process?

Rebranding Nonprofit

Randy Hawthorne

As the former Executive Director and Editor for Nonprofit Hub and a Professional Certified Marketer, Randy shares his passions of marketing and education with nonprofits to help them implement marketing and organizational leadership principles so they can grow their organizations. Randy lends his marketing and organizational leadership expertise to a number of nonprofits in his community. Outside the office, Randy works with high school and college students and mentors young professionals to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

February 24, 2016

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