Branding your nonprofit can feel like an overwhelming task. If you aren’t entirely sure how to brand your organization correctly – you’re in the right place! I’m here to share some of my best tips for creating a cohesive brand. Strong branding will help your organization become a recognizable part of your community, spread your message, and make a greater impact. These nonprofit branding tips will help you start building your impactful brand.
Let’s start by defining what a brand is. Marketing expert Seth Godin explains it best:
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
This quote is in the context of for-profit business, but know that the concept is the same for nonprofits. Your brand is the overall experience, feeling, and story that someone associates with your organization. Logos and color palettes are part of visual storytelling, but they are not all there is to your brand.
When creating programs, social media posts, planning events, developing volunteer guidelines, etc. consider the following:
Being able to answer these questions will help you better understand the bigger picture of the brand you are building.
All marketing, whether for a business or nonprofit, should be audience-focused. This means that you understand WHO you’re trying to reach, and HOW to communicate with them.
For nonprofits, deciding on a target audience can feel difficult. You might be trying to reach several different groups of people. This could include the people who benefit from your programs, donors, and volunteers.
My best advice is to create a brand that resonates with your primary audience. These are the people that interact with your brand the most.
While this will look different from organization to organization, here some examples to help you determine your primary audience:
Sometimes the primary audience of a nonprofit is the people who directly benefit from its programs (like the Girl Scouts). Other times, branding is targeted towards the people who will be donating (like Headbands of Hope).
To decide which is best for your organization, consider your goals and how the audience you serve, donors, and volunteers will be interacting with your brand to help you accomplish them.
If the primary goal of your nonprofit is to raise awareness or encourage activism surrounding a particular topic, build a brand that:
Lastly, make your mission and “your why” a driving force for your brand. Share it as often as possible to help people connect with the importance of what you do. This is something that often comes naturally to nonprofit leaders!
Here are a few ways to put this into action:
If you’ve made it here, I’m giving you a virtual high-five for reading this whole blog post! To recap, here are 3 things to focus on as you build a brand for your growing nonprofit:
Take a moment to write down how these three elements could play out for your organization. How can you cultivate an intentional experience? Who is your primary audience and how will you reach them? How can you further embody your mission and values, while inviting others to do the same?
Ready to dive deeper into brand strategy and intentional design for your nonprofit? Check out my all-inclusive brand and website design services. I’d love to help you use design to have a greater impact!
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