Branding used to be a thing that many nonprofits were quick to shy away from, afraid they would be categorized with their for-profit counterparts. However, modern times are calling for more and more branding when it comes to nonprofits. Nonprofits that are most recognized by their brands are everywhere; World Wildlife Fund and Habitat for Humanity are just a few that have established their brands. Names and logos are something that the public can recognize your nonprofit by, and many already take advantage of this by putting their logos on mugs, t-shirts and stickers. So, why take the time to brand yourself? Here are some reasons and tips for your nonprofit when thinking about branding yourself.
What is a Brand?
Branding expert Marty Neumeier says a brand is “Who you are, What you do, and Why you matter.” In short, your nonprofit’s brand should be a mixture of your values, mission, strategies, relationships, impact, and their value to supporters. It’s your reputation and how well you keep your promises.
A brand is what others think of you, and branding is your nonprofit’s application of creativity and technology to implement your branding strategy.
Valuing Your Non-profit’s Brand
Nonprofits can experience difficulties when encouraging engagement through branding. For-profits provide brand engagement with ease, because they provide immediate gratification for customers, through services or goods. Nonprofits, however, depend on loyalty and a vision; things that are not necessarily tangible. Because of this, supporters may not feel a sense of urgency.
To develop a sense of urgency and a loyal following, brands are effective. After establishing a brand, if your nonprofit continues to keep promises it establishes, volunteers and donors will see that tangible results can and will happen; even if they are months or years in the future.
When branding your nonprofit, focus on conveying the mission to audiences, and relatable stories. If audiences relate with your organization in some way, they connect with you on a deeper level that goes beyond emotion or support. Your brand becomes a part of who they are, and they are driven to engage and become involved with your organization. All because of a brand!
Tips to Branding Effectively:
Brands must be crafted strategically. When branding your nonprofit keep these three characteristics in mind.
- Your Brand Must be Strategically Informed: Every decision you make while branding must tie back to your organizational strategy, and the overall goals and mission of your organization.
- Your Brand Must be Exceptionally Crafted: Creativity is key. Don’t rush the process; give it time to make sure your brand is fully developed and is sensational, not just OK.
- Your Brand Must be Consistently Executed: Audiences want to know what to expect from brands they support. Being consistent brings trust and a loyal following.
Branding is key in today’s nonprofit world; take advantage of this opportunity to increase support and engagement!
About the Author: Hannah is an undergraduate at The University of Iowa, studying Communication Studies and Journalism. She hopes to one day work in Fashion Public Relations.