An article published by the Philanthropy News Digest discussed the importance of branding in the non-profit world–something that was previously reserved mainly for for-profit businesses.
Matt Schwartz, founder and director of strategy for MSDS, a design and brand strategy firm in New York, gave his advice for branding your non-profit, and why it’s so important.
Schwartz says branding is becoming crucial for non-profits because competition is increasing, especially online. People see your organization on your website, social media, and other outlets in the digital world. Making sure your brand is consistent and explains your mission will help engage people and set you apart from your competition.
He has three characteristics that must be upheld always. First, being strategically informed, which means that everything your organization does should tie back to your mission and values. Second, things must be exceptionally crafted; you have to do great work! Make things exceptional, not just acceptable. Third, everything has to be consistently executed. Consistency gains trust, which gains support.
On top of these characteristics, Schwartz says there are six key components of non-profit branding. Those are:
1) Organizational strategy. Know where you want to be in the future, and how you’ll make it happen.
2) People. The employees, volunteers, and donors should reflect your organization and live the mission in their daily lives.
3) Messages. Every message has a different audience, and your messages should be tailored through each media which you’re communication through in order to get the best response.
4) Interactions. When you interact with your supporters, whether in person or online, you should make sure your behavior is aligned with your organization’s mission, and also make that person feel valued.
5) Visual Design. Schwartz makes a great point that people determine their opinion of things by how they look. Making sure your organization’s brand (trademark, name, logo, etc.) is visually appealing is key in gaining valuable engagement, and moe importantly donations.
6) Communications Tools. How you deliver your message is just as important as what that message is, and making sure you’re using the right communication tools is helpful in maintaining consistency and keeping engagement high.
All these elements are important in having a good brand image for your organization, but you might be wondering why good brand image is so crucial. Schwartz says showing your best image is so important because your brand is essentially what people think about your organization. So if you give them your best possible brand, you’ll reap the rewards with more donations and volunteers.
About the writer: Erin is a junior at the University studying Journalism and Entrepreneurship. She is undecided about what she wants to do after school. She is passionate about writing, dogs, and Chipotle.