Why Nonprofit Branding Goes Beyond Your Name and Logo

Often times when people think of the brand of a company, they automatically assume you’re talking about logos and graphic design. But branding includes the entirety of how people perceive an organization.

Establishing a brand identity includes not only what people see in a logo, but also what people think about when your NPO comes up in a water cooler conversation. This creates a sense of personability, distinction and genuineness for donors to associate with your organization.

An example of excellent brand identity execution is the awareness campaign for breast cancer. They have not only branded the color pink and the iconic pink ribbon, but also broken the barrier on a topic that may have been otherwise uncomfortable to talk about for some. They took a cause people could back and created a brand that they could promote.

Be a Personality, Not Just a Logo

It can seem like everything has been done before and can sometimes feel impossible to be unique. Sure, another NPO may have a similar cause, but they will never have the same personality. Your brand personality will be ultimately what draws in new donors, keeps current donors loyal and allows anyone to feel connected with your organization. Once you define your organization’s personality, you can apply it to all mediums and communicate it consistently.

How do you create a personality for your NPO? Here are a few quick things you can do:

  1. Be yourself by selling yourself; establish a voice for your NPO
  2. Be actively engaged in social media with posts, shares and comment responses
  3. Host and attend community events and outings
  4. Support other nonprofit organizations

Be Unique, Authentic and Consistent

To return to this idea of novelty, something that may have been done before can usually be done in a different way and executed more successfully. For example, Apple didn’t create the first mobile phone, but they did create arguably one of the best and most widely used mobile phones around the world. They did this by revolutionizing their industry with a distinct and focused brand.

Your organization should be focusing more on a specific purpose as well as who is involved in this purpose. It’s about figuring out what your own people want to say and what the people supporting you want to hear, then finding where these things intersect. This will help to convey the message you want to get across in a way that potential supporters will respond to. Once you have decided how your NPO will be heard, it is infinitely important to build rapport with your donors by keeping your message consistent.

Be Relatable, Sensational and Genuine

Creating a brand that people can relate to will make all the difference. If people want to see it, they’re going to go out of their way to see and share it, sometimes to the point of flooding news feeds. Remember when your news feed was doused in videos from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? By creating a viral video campaign that raised awareness, the ALS foundation raised their donations by 3500% and gained 2,150,00 new donors from over 120 million Facebook hits. ALS was genuine on an issue and created awareness. They didn’t guilt people into donating to their cause, because guilt doesn’t work. A sense of genuineness about your organization comes being relatable to potential donors.

Ten Things You Should Know About Branding Your Nonprofit [ologie]

nonprofit branding

Nick Small

With specialties in content strategy and creation, social media engagement and digital marketing optimization, Nick brings a depth of experience in nonprofit marketing. He’s also helped hundreds of nonprofits with their online presence to improve donor retention and attract new audiences, and he still has time for a good glass of whiskey, round of golf or new adventure.

October 13, 2014

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