Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 13


Nonprofit Branding Makes a Difference

Effective fundraising, unified internal culture, clear community perception,strong leadership: these are all mission-critical for nonprofits, just as they are for any organization. And they are all affected by branding. Big business across the country spends billions on branding. Why? Because it enhances everything else they do. With that in mind, a strong brand is just as vital to nonprofits as for-profit businesses, arguably more so, when efficiency and effectiveness with their resources are so important. What is branding and why does it matter to the nonprofit organization? What is a Brand? While many try to define brand with mixed success, one of my favorite definitions comes from Marty Neumeier’s The Dictionary of Brand, which defines it as a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization. Your brand is simply the physiological association your audience has with your organization. At its very core, who is your organization?What does it stand for and what is its personality? What makes it relatable and how is it unique?

A strong brand knows its vision, mission, promise, core values, and characterization. It is defined in a meaningful and purposeful way to relate to the target audience. All of these things are then represented by its logo, colors, and fancy graphics, which are the visual aspects of the brand. A strong brand allows the organization to be consistent and speak a more powerful message to the right audience again and again. It builds a strong culture. It leaves the impression and perception upon the community that was intended. It provides organizational direction, strategy, and guidance for leadership. It’s so much more than a logo. Why Does Branding Matter for Nonprofits? Fundraising, Volunteers and Awareness Some lean more towards one or more of these than others, but these three are key goals for every nonprofit we have worked with. All three require some form of marketing and advertising, a way to get the word out and rally support in the form of donations, volunteers, or just simple public awareness of the cause. This comes as websites, brochures, flyers, direct mail, social media, print ads, radio ads, etc.

16 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine

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