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Why a strong brand is important for not-for-profits

2 min read

With so many different not-for-profit (NFP) organisations competing for members and donors – many within the same industry or for the same cause, and with similar benefits and service offerings – it can be hard for a NFP to stand out and differentiate itself. Good branding can separate your NFP from others, allowing it to receive more attention and more members or donors.

What is branding?

Branding is much more than a logo design and colour scheme. Good brands tell potential members what your NFP stands for, giving meaning to your product or service. Simply put, it’s how your members see you.

NFP marketing specialists Third Sector Services identify the following as crucial branding elements:

1. Graphics

Symbols, logos and colours are important cues for NFPs. They aid recognition and help form a perception about what NFP does and what it stands for. A well designed logo represents the professionalism of a NFP, leaves a greater impression on potential members or donors and can even demonstrate the type of services that the NFP offers.

2. Identity

This relates to how the NFP wants the brand to be perceived, or what they want their brand to stand for. For example, a NFP may believe in providing outstanding service, which they demonstrate through being available at any time. Or, a NFP may stand for innovation via its services that are featured in their advertising, with all language focusing on innovation. Identity helps establish a relationship between the member or donor and the NFP.

3. Personality

Brands have human-like characteristics that personify the NFP. Having a strong and understandable brand personality will help a NFP portray itself more clearly in marketing material and advertising, and build a stronger message. The clearer and more coherent the brand portrayal is, the better potential members or donors will recognise and recall the NFP. Displaying a clear brand personality also helps people identify with the NFP on a more personal level.

4. Values

Most NFPs have beliefs and core values, such as innovation, professionalism or community, and these should be reflected in your brand. The clearer the values are the more prospective members or donors will identify with your brand, which will increase their preference for your NFP over others.

5. Implementation

Once all of the components have been determined, the brand needs to be implemented via coherent and consistent use of the logo, tag line, use of language in advertising and other communication tools, image choices, and interactions with members or donors. For branding to have its maximum effect, all staff must understand and engage in the NFP’s brand to ensure the message is clear and consistent.

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