5 Steps In Branding Your Nonprofit
Step-by-step branding, the nonprofit way.
Whether you know it or not, your nonprofit already has a brand. Honing in on that brand and creating one that truly represents your nonprofit can be daunting, but it has its rewards. Below are five easy steps to creating your nonprofit B.R.A.N.D.
B: Build a team.
Put together a specific team for your brand. Many nonprofits, on both the local and national level, struggle to find people to join their nonprofit's team. However, thanks to social media there are simpler ways to find new people to join your team, one of which is through LinkedIn. LinkedIn is filled with professionals from all trades, from consultants to design gurus. Just create a LinkedIn account for your nonprofit and reach out to a few of these professionals to ask if they would be interested in joining your board or team by providing their services, preferably for free. We suggest allowing your nonprofit's CEO or the head of your board to reach out and make those connections; the fact that these specific people are the ones reaching out will give the request even more weight and already establish a personal relationship.
Along with this, technology has also made it easier to conduct meetings and get everyone together virtually through join.me and go to meeting, allowing nonprofits to optimize their time by easing the difficulty of scheduling meetings where attendees can all be physically present. This also gives your nonprofit the opportunity to work with people all over without any geographical limitations.
When all is said and done, gather together this passionate group of people and entrust them with the job of shaping and maintaining your brand. Their creative minds will be in charge of establishing goals, conducting research, running focus and test groups, and producing the brand. Having a specific team for your brand will ensure quality control and help implement all of the various voices in your nonprofit.
R: Reflect on your nonprofit.
Figure out what makes your nonprofit different from other nonprofits. Authenticity is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the nonprofit world, and for good reason. Donors need to know that they can trust you and your nonprofit. Your brand stands as a set of expectations donors have for your nonprofit that should always be met. Transparency is important; keep it simple and let your donors in. This is where your branding team can work to find your nonprofit’s voice and let your organization’s personality shine.
Reflect by asking yourself a couple of key questions:
What is your mission or cause?
What is the problem you are trying to solve?
How are you tackling the problem?
Are you trying to address a different area of the problem?
What community are you serving?
How are you serving them?
And then one of the most important questions: How would others describe your nonprofit, specifically in a 7 word sentence? Studies have shown that the average human attention span now stands at a whopping 8 seconds. Your nonprofit should beat this statistic by efficiently knowing the 7 magical words to describe itself.
Additionally, if you haven't already, make sure to register your nonprofit on GuideStar. Most donors will visit this website to learn more about your nonprofit before making a donation.
A: Appeal to your audience.
Get on the level of your audience. Engage them emotionally and create sympathy for your cause through personal stories and let your donors know what is at stake. Always highlight how your nonprofit has been working to help that cause through pictures, stories, and most importantly, videos. Put the positive front and center. For instance, make creating at least one video about your nonprofit a goal for this year. This video can showcase a successful fundraiser or donation campaign or show interviews and personal testimonials from volunteers and those at the center of your cause contributing both to your nonprofit's brand and visibility.
Nonprofits have the advantage of being able to reach out to all kinds of people across different places, creeds, and walks of life. However, donors today are bombarded by all sorts of nonprofits and their causes. Use your brand to create and keep focus. Treat your brand like a conversation with a donor at an individual level. Talk like you would one-on-one, instead of speaking to a group. This will not only make your brand and nonprofit more relatable, it will also make it accessible.
We like what charity: water did here where they provided a "why water?" tab. This gives new users a place to visit in order to automatically learn about why they should be involved.
N: Nurture donor involvement.
Customize giving. We're not talking about making improvements to your donation strategy, but about giving donors a choice to give to certain fundraisers, events, or projects. This can be done in addition to their monthly giving or in place of a one-time donation. Utilize online donation and fundraising platforms, such as peer-to-peer fundraising. This type of fundraising allows donors or other people outside of your nonprofit to create their own pages online and raise money for your cause, and has been one of the most popular ways donors have been personalizing their giving. No matter what way is chosen, keep your donors active.
One of the most popular platforms available is CrowdRise. CrowdRise allows users to create their own online fundraising website for their cause, promising a working website in 42 seconds, and all for free!
D: Develop and maintain.
Creating a brand that belongs solely to your nonprofit can be made easy, as long as your nonprofit is willing and ready to put in the work. Keep an eye on your brand. As always, consistency is key. Make sure that your brand and what it stands for is being upheld across all areas of your nonprofit. Internally, make sure that those working within your nonprofit have the right attitude and values and are continuing to communicate that through good relationships with donors and affiliates. Externally, make sure that your logo, graphics, tag line, and mission statement are all consistently displayed throughout all platforms (emails, newsletter, social media) and are clear to donors, new and old. This is especially important when constructing your e-newsletter. Remember, your e-newsletter will keep donors coming back, so make sure you're consistently using the best practices.