Brand Strategies for NonProfits

Brand Strategies for NonProfits

What a strong brand will do for your nonprofit and how to maintain one.

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Brand Strategies for NonProfits

While branding used to be prescribed mostly to for-profit businesses, branding is an extremely important aspect of nonprofit success as well. While the typical marketing and sales strategies differ greatly between nonprofit and for-profit organizations, brand strategies actually apply to both sides. Strong brands communicate the message that the organization they represent are reliable, consistent, and worth investing in. Developing a strong brand can benefit your nonprofit in a multitude of ways by strengthening positive perception, building your reputation, creating buzz, and opening doors.

Great brands are both simultaneously the gateway to success, and the hallmark of success. Because of this perceived circular logic, many nonprofits choose to forgo brand building because they believe that great brands form themselves over time. While in some cases that certainly has happened, for most nonprofits, creating and maintaining a strong brand acts as a snowball or launchpad to legitimize and further grow their organization.

So how can a nonprofit kick start the cycle of positive brand perception and continued growth? We have laid out our brand strategies tips to help ensure your brand is headed in the right direction.

What Is a Brand?

Your Identity. 

Brands are both the tangible identity around a cause or organization, and the total sum of the perceptions about what an organization stands for, what it does, and how much social impact it is though to achieve.

What will a strong brand do for me?

Grow and Improve Your Reputation.

Brands and reputations are very much linked, which is the main reason why cultivating your brand has a real wide ranging impact on your entire organization. How you speak, present yourself, talk about your successes, and the visual content that you share all make up your brand and contribute in a very tangible way to your reputation.

Widen Your Audience.

Having a strong brand allows your audience to associate a cause with your specific organization which means that when they look to take action, your brand will come to top of mind and they will know where to start.

Get Shared On Social Media.

Having a great cause with a great message along with a visually appealing and memorable brand (logo, images, storytelling, videos) will get you shared on social media, and your audience will be happy to rep your organization to spread the word.

Branding Strategies

Be Relatable. Your organization needs to both tout your successes and garner additional support while simultaneously being approachable to the average small donor or volunteer all the way up to larger sponsors. You need to showcase what you have in common with the community, and how you make a difference on many levels.

Differentiate Yourself.Competition is steep, and people want to make sure they are donating to an organization that does the most good. Standing out and having a clear goal and message is extremely important to draw in a loyal and committed audience. Donors have a lot of choices presented to them, you need to showcase that your organization is worthy of their attention, time, or money by bringing a fresh perspective or unique message to a crowded marketplace.

Tap Into Emotions.Having a well documented, clear emotional message motivates people to act. Utilizing personal stories allow your donors to sympathize and connect with your cause directly and can be the tipping point between remotely sympathizing and taking true action to help your cause.

Create Trust. You need to showcase the dependability of your nonprofit by creating a stable brand that has the messaging and content behind it that illustrates how your organization makes a true difference. This type of branding will make your organization more attractive to new donors who are unsure if their hard earned money will be well spent, and long term donors as well who can trust that your nonprofit is consistently doing a great job.

Aspects of a Nonprofit Brand

  • Logo.The logo is the centerpiece of your brand. It should be simple, but also communicate who you are. The best nonprofit logos differentiate themselves from similar organizations, and feel both approachable (to attract your audience) and professional (to establish trust).
  • Color.Color invoke feelings and indicate mood. Make sure you have choose the right mood to represent your message. Color theory is very much at play, make sure you have professional help or do your own research to make sure you are sending a consistent message with your brand.
  • Typography.Fonts represent your voice and are a major building block of any brand. The way that you utilize fonts communicates a message about your organization. Utilizing fonts with no consistency or using over the top fonts can overwhelm and complicate your message.
  • Tagline or Mission Statement: Your Brand’s Soul. Nonprofits need taglines and mission statements that accurately and emotionally express their values and commitment. But make sure yours is short, sweet, and do not deviate from it or its value becomes diluted.
  • Your Voice. The way you write your messaging and content, and the way that you communicate with your supporters online is a very critical part of your brand. Your voice should be consistent, approachable, and have a true personality.
  • Your Content. What you share online, and what visual messages you create is also an aspect of your brand. The subtle message and cues that you send out everytime you post are tiny pieces of your brand and should always reflect your organization’s values and be branded to match your visual identity (logo, colors, typography, and voice).

In a world that is over-saturated with marketing it can be difficult to stand out and get your message heard. But effectively harnessing the power of branding for your nonprofit can accelerate your growth, build your reputation, and get you noticed above all the noise. Adopting some of the strategies laid out will help your organization begin to cultivate a positive brand association, and improve your outreach and messaging.