Understanding the value of your nonprofit branding
There is no shortage of benefits to be gained from establishing strong nonprofit branding for your organization. Of course, businesses of all types can use their branding as a way to leverage sponsorships and generate revenue, but for nonprofits in particular, it’s an especially important point. Because as nonprofit entities you rely heavily on outside funding to fuel your missions, an effective nonprofit branding strategy is central to creating a reputable identity that potential sponsors can feel comfortable investing in. Your nonprofit branding is what is going to help drive the impact of your organization.
Although there are some varied opinions about what exactly constitutes a brand, nonprofit branding typically includes:
- The name of your organization
- Tag line
- Messaging, or who you are and what sets you apart from other organizations
- Emotions and other descriptors that embody the full scope of your impact
What is the value of nonprofit branding?
Nonprofit branding can be a complex undertaking, but it provides a major return that is more than worth the time and effort that go into it. Effective nonprofit branding has three key areas of value.
- It differentiates your organization from others in the same nonprofit space. Quite simply, your brand highlights your message and defines to the world what you’re all about. It also illustrates your leadership in the field, which in turn serves to build up your credibility within the nonprofit community.
- Your staff, Board, volunteers, donors, and benefactors all receive the same message. Consistency is key in nonprofit branding. It means everyone is receiving the same message from all angles of your organization, and it makes it easier to market your brand because there is no need to reinvent the wheel with each new initiative. Your message is the same across all platforms, always.
- It’s a financial asset that allows you to generate revenue off of your brand name. For example, you may choose to offer – as part of a sponsorship package – the opportunity to utilize your brand name for the length of the sponsorship, either internally or externally. This gives outside businesses the opportunity to align themselves with a strong nonprofit brand and helps them show off their value to the community.
Building your brand value
Building a nonprofit brand with real value can be achieved by following these four steps:
- Establish a cohesive message that defines who your organization is at its core, what value you bring to the community, and how you differentiate yourself from other nonprofit organizations.
- Build brand guidelines and stick to them. In other words, establish your identity and remain consistent at every turn.
- Create a dialogue with your staff, Board, volunteers, donors, sponsors, ambassadors, and anyone else with an investment in your organization, and get them to buy into the brand. Make it clear how you expect them to implement the brand across all facets of the organization.
- Clearly deliver your message every time. Don’t waver. A consistent message helps to build trust and displays a sense of dependability. It also helps your audience feel confident in the work you do, as well as what they can expect from you.
It’s worth noting that these four steps can also be applied to nonprofit rebranding, although fully rebranding a nonprofit organization presents a whole other set of challenges and is a blog post for another day.
Ultimately, the goal of nonprofit branding is to ensure that everyone within your organization believes in your message and your brand identity, and then delivers on it at every turn. After building your nonprofit branding from the ground up, you’ll want to make sure it’s embodied from the top down.
For help establishing a nonprofit branding strategy for your organization, contact Paradigm Marketing & Design to schedule a consultation.