As with any other business, having a good branding strategy is an essential part of running a nonprofit organization.
After all, you'll need to generate visibility, awareness, stand out from other similar organizations, build trust within your audience and encourage the said audience to engage with you.
With that said, in this article, we are going to share some thought-provoking tips on building the branding strategy for your nonprofit organization. So, without further ado, let's get started.
1. Know Your Audience
2. Define Your Brand
3. Establish the Guidelines
Know Your Audience
Like you would do with a for-profit organization, getting to know your target audience before establishing your branding strategy is crucial.
After all, branding is like telling the story of your organization. To be as engaging and convincing as possible, you need to know who you are addressing. Keep in mind that you need to tell people what they want to hear.
With that said, start by figuring out what types of people are critical to your nonprofit organization, like donors or activists, for example.
After that, build a character persona. In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. Get to know their age group, find out what they value, what motivates them, what makes them tick, etc.
Define Your Brand
After figuring out who makes up your target audience, it's time to sketch out how your brand will look. Now, what makes a brand is your organization's values, personality, value proposition, and positioning.
Start by setting your organizational values. Write a list of things that drive motivation within your organization — something that you are not willing to compromise and will remain the same as your organization grows over time.
When it comes to the personality of your brand, imagine that your organization is a human being. How will it interact with others? Is it joyful and friendly, or is it more serious and cold? After you've figured that out, ask yourself if your brand's personality and target audience will get along well together.
When setting your value proposition, you have to think about how the target audience will benefit from engaging with your brand. Just like with selling goods, a good value proposition will offer something more to its buyers than the product itself, a certain emotion, to be more specific.
For example, people buy Apple products mostly because it gives them the feeling of being different, or people may buy Volvo cars because it gives them the feeling of safety.
That's where you'll have to aim when setting the value proposition for your nonprofit organization as well.
Emphasize that people will get to help others in need once they've donated to your charity or provide a sense of accomplishment and personal development that people will experience once they've decided to volunteer for your organization, for example.
And finally, there's the positioning of your brand. Here, you'll have to determine a way to stand out from the others. After all, there may be plenty of nonprofits that do the same thing as you.
So, how could you distinguish your brand from the others? Well, by doing the things we mentioned above differently. For example, your competitors may have a branding that's more serious. So, your branding should be more fun and cheerful.
Establish the Guidelines
Think of branding guidelines as being the rule books that will guide you on how to showcase your brand to your audience. Branding guidelines are made out of logos, color palettes, fonts, and your brand's voice and tone.
When it comes to colors, you'll have to choose something that reflects your brand's personality. For example, white depicts purity and faith, whereas blue suggests security or trust, and warmer colors like red, yellow, or orange are associated with liveliness, joy, and passion.
The same thing goes with your brands' typography. Fonts that use smoother edges may appear more friendly and welcoming in nature. In contrast, fonts that feature pointy corners and harsher lines are generally colder or more serious.
Your brand's tone and voice reflect the way you are going to present yourself to the audience. Keep in mind that this needs to align with the colors and fonts you'll choose.
In other words, you can't use sophisticated words and have a serious tone when the colors and fonts you use suggest a more playful atmosphere.
The same thing goes with the logo. It has to perfectly depict the personality of your brand through its colors, fonts, and voice. Now, in order to get the logo right, consulting with companies that offer brand identity services might be a good idea.
After all, it's time to work on the branding guidelines themselves. In here, you'll have to include the mission statement, fonts, and colors you are going to use, where the logos are going to be placed, and a short description of your organization.
Furthermore, you'll have to determine how your brand is going to be showcased in different scenarios. For example, you've got plenty of freedom when displaying the brand on your website. However, when printing out flyers, the colors, fonts, and logos need to be altered.
All in all, these have been the three main aspects you'll have to look out for when branding your nonprofit organization. Keep in mind that knowing your audience is important since that will give you an insight into what your brand is going to be built around.
After that, establish your brand's values, personality, proposition, and position so it caters to the audience you are looking for while also distinguishing yourself from other similar organizations.
Branding a Nonprofit Organization
"CRO and PPC specialist by day and content writer by night, Carl Fisher is a man dedicated to bringing knowledge, information, and advice in front of those who need it. His "specialty areas" include digital marketing, web development, technology, as well as magical realism and sci-fi literature. With more than 6 years in the digital marketing industry, he currently works at SASVIM - a growth company that primarily works with product development teams and tech startups that struggle with growing and monetizing their user base."