Your nonprofit brand is not just your name, logo, or service. A brand consists of the organization’s vision, mission, values, objectives, and personality. Nonprofit branding helps establish a relationship of trust and familiarity. Consistent actions, messages, and design create a unified message and bolster your organization’s brand recognition. A nonprofit that frequently changes their visual or verbal communication style may confuse people and ultimately undermine their social impact.
“Brand becomes critical when you’re seeking to create partnerships, when you’re seeking other funders, and when you’re looking to associate yourself with people in the field,” explained Diane Fusilli, a global brand consultant and former Rockefeller Foundation communications director. “A strong brand helps bring greater credibility and trust to a project quickly, and acts as a catalyst for people to want to come to the table.”
So where do you start?
Visually communicate your brand.
Many small, grass-roots nonprofits have marketing challenges. It’s important to remember that most people first experience your organization through event flyers or social media posts. When visual brand elements are not present, you lose the opportunity to create a meaningful memory and connection. Since great design is all about the details, spend the time and money to develop brand tools. Your brand toolbox should include:
· a logo
· core brand colors
· one or two brand typefaces
· images and illustrations
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure about your brand tools, attend Spokes workshop, “Get More Out of Your Brand” on Thursday, May 17. Megan Condict, Art Director for Verdin will provide easy-to-follow tips for establishing brand guidelines, no matter your technical skill level.
Verbally communicate your brand.
Potential donors probably won’t make a gift to your nonprofit until they know who is leading it, what it does, and how it makes a difference in your community. Your nonprofits’ story is the best way to connect with supporters and potential donors. Choose consistent words and phrasing with care, since your story is the emotional heartstring that compels the majority of donations.
To define your organizations’ verbal brand, imagine that your nonprofit is a person. What would s/he sound like? To which audience is s/he speaking? What action does s/he want the audience to take? According to this helpful article by Stephanie Schwab with Crackerjack Marketing, a cohesive brand voice requires four key attributes:
Remember to share verbal brand guidelines with everyone who writes or speaks on behalf of your organization. Don’t forget about volunteers, board members, and interns who all have opportunities to promote your nonprofit.
You work hard for your organization, so make it count. Schedule the time to produce brand messaging and design elements. Brand guidelines not only make it easier to produce content for social media, newsletters, and other marketing materials, they also allow improve connection with current and potential donors. As always, Spokes is eager to support your efforts and can point you towards additional tools and resources. Give us a call at (805) 547-2244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.