Plant Your Roots and Watch Them Grow: Creating Brand Evangelists

Every nonprofit wants one thing—to achieve their mission. And in order to be a success it depends on the amount of people that care just as deeply for your cause as you do. So what’s going to make them a brand evangelist?

Sarah Durham explained during our webinar series that branding is more than a tagline or logo—it’s about perception.

Let’s break it down in terms of your organization. These are the seeds your organization should be planting to make sure your NPO’s roots are secured firmly in the ground.

Create Programs Worth Talking About

Good experiences are at the root of what creates every single brand evangelist. They start out loving the cause, but eventually end up loving the organization because of the experiences they have while trying to reach the mission.

I can’t stress this enough—ask questions. Ask your volunteers how you can improve their experience and the training programs you have in place. Ask donors what they like and dislike about the giving process. Find out if you’re doing a good job communicating with constituents. Are your messages effective? Do you need to reevaluate?

Be Curious

Because you’ll never improve if you lose your initial curiosity. Continue to evolve your organization by asking questions and actually listening to the answers.

Make an Investment in Marketing

Nonprofit brands that are doing it right are actually investing in marketing. Have you ever heard of ROI? It sounds scary but it’s a really easy concept (that too many nonprofits ignore). Marketing is worth it if you can justify the return on your investment. Instead of thinking about how much the marketing campaign costs, think about what you could potentially get back in fundraising dollars.

“But…but…we’re a nonprofit. We can’t be spending money on marketing.” Those days are long gone, because that’s exactly what you should be doing. You can’t expect to get huge results if you aren’t putting anything into your campaigns.

It’s a fine line between finding a balance

Remember, Not Everything is in Your Control

Can we all have the success of an organization like charity:water? Absolutely not. It’s not feasible.

Why is charity:water able to relate to anybody in the world? Because nobody can survive without water. It appeals to every single person on this planet because they can visualize what it would be like to live without water.

But we’re not saying you can’t build brand loyalty from the ground up with a more narrow approach. You shouldn’t be discouraged if your mission can’t appeal to such a widespread audience. Instead, focus on what you already have.

How do people perceive your brand? How do you want people to perceive your brand?

I want you to take time to truly think about the answers to those questions. I’m not talking about five minutes and then moving on. I’m talking about asking your donors, volunteers and even strangers how they perceive your organization.

Then you have the opportunity to continue what you’ve been doing or try to change the perception.

So how will your organization plant its roots? What will you aim to change so that brand evangelists come out of your organization?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

March 6, 2015

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