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Branding for a Non-Profit

Thu, 09/18/2008 - 9:34pm -- gbm

We work with many non profit organizations when they are ready for a new website. Usually their lack of technology is frustrating their membership and overwhelming the volunteer board members who feel they are communicating with stone tablets and smoke signals. As we begin work and start to flesh out the scope of the project, we often come to an area they had overlooked: Branding themselves.

This raises the question, what is a brand and why does a non profit even need one? The short answer is this: a brand is the emotional experience your members, donors and visitors have when coming into contact with your organization. So the logo, the stationery, the tone and venue of meetings, the quality of photos taken of board members, these are all facets to the emotional experience that should be considered.

Basic Brand Building Blocks

The brand as it pertains to the types of services we provide would include:

  • Logo
  • Stationery
  • Brochures/collateral marketing materials
  • Website

So at the next board meeting, ask your board members how they feel about the organization's brand:

  • Does it convey the mission and focus of the group?
  • Does it invoke loyalty and pride?
  • Does it attract new members and donors?

We recommend budgeting for a revamping of the logo and other materials if it's been a decade or more since it's been thought about. Many organizations hurt their own recruiting and fund-raising efforts by looking frumpy and out-of-date. Often, the original files for the logo/masthead, etc. have been lost and a poor-quality reproduction is being used. Take a fresh look at your brand, you may be surprised what you see.