In order to reach goals and make an impact, we must take the time to realize the importance of branding for nonprofits. It’s more than just a logo – it’s a perception of your organization that is tied into an overall strategy.
What is branding?
For our entire lives, we’ve been privy to large corporate brands, from the Coca Cola we drank to the General Mills cereal we ate in the mornings. We easily recognize their colors and logos, we remember their commercials, we know their slogans by heart, and we know how all of these elements collectively make us feel. These are all of the things that branding encompasses.
For nonprofits, branding is your mission and values, your tone in communications, how the community perceives you, the impact you make – and yes, your designed identity as well. It’s something that nonprofits need to embrace as something not exclusive to for-profit brands and corporations. It’s for you too, and has some amazing benefits when done correctly.
What are the benefits of strong branding for nonprofits?
When the internal members of your organization are all on the same page, it immediately strengthens your leadership as a whole. It creates a “company culture” that stands on its core values and achieves goals. Thus, attracting top talent and people who also truly care about those values.
A major component of the nonprofit brand identity design process is the completed Brand Guidelines. This document not only outlines the use of elements such as the logo, brand colors, and imagery – but also helps with alignment in regards to the organization’s vision and tone. Having these items in line creates something that all key players, from staff to the executive board, can be confident in and proud of.
You’d be surprised how many leaders mention the nonprofit that they are involved in, immediately followed by a disclaimer in regards to the “outdated logo” or “horrible website”.
What makes nonprofits special? In comparison to for-profit companies, it’s the emotional connection that they are able to create. This extends to donors, volunteers, and the community they serve. Branding includes your story, and that is what continuously allows you to make those connections while building trust. Highlighting your purpose, your impact, and the passion you put into the work that you do is something that your audience will look for. Some nonprofits find it hard to grasp “marketing” this but think of it more as storytelling.
Strong nonprofit branding has an increased perception of trust and value and leads to greater financial contributions, a larger following of supporters, and the attraction of important partnerships. Want some facts? Past studies have shown that donation pages that include branding receive 38% larger gifts and donors were 68% more likely to give again.
Making An Impression
The first impression that your brand makes can be a lasting one, which is why branding is important for nonprofits. High-quality design, a strong sense of confidence, and proof of impact are all things that people will recognize, appreciate, and support.
When others land on your nonprofit website, is it an enjoyable experience? Can they easily learn about your mission, vision, and values? Is the action that you’d like for them to take made clear? Is it something modern, up to date, and easy to navigate? These are all things that can affect a user’s first impression, which is so often made online these days.
The cohesiveness that comes from proper branding is something that stands out in the nonprofit sector. Especially with so many organizations that still don’t have the resources to implement this yet. This can be a great upper hand for social media and digital marketing. It allows your brand to reach volunteers and donors, which in turn increases your impact. Sharing your mission, behind the scenes work, and achievements along the way can help increase both engagement and brand loyalty.
Also, branding is important for nonprofits that may want to collaborate with for-profit brands. Having a strong voice and brand that will easily mesh and not be overshadowed in collaborations can be a key to success. Also, having guidelines and materials ready in order to make them easy.
There is a strong value in branding for nonprofits that should be taken seriously. It has a true positive impact on organizations as a whole and greatly aids in achieving goals.
Need help with nonprofit branding? Feel free to contact us.