A Guide To Enhancing Your Non-Profit Branding Strategy

DCG Team January 14, 2022 0 Comments

Before you make the assumption that branding is only applicable and important in for-profit businesses, remember that there are more than 10 million nonprofits and non-governmental organizations worldwide. That’s a lot of organizations, which means competition! In order to be successful, it’s imperative that you position your non-profit appropriately. Consistently presented brands are 3.5 times more likely to enjoy excellent brand visibility than those with an inconsistent brand presentation. (Source: Demand Metric) It’s time to focus on your non-profit branding strategy that is unique, tells a story in order to stand out from the crowd, gains consumer trust, and improves your overall brand visibility. 

Some examples of non-profit organizations are churches, military support non-profits, animal shelters, etc. They differ from for-profit organizations because they tend to focus on their mission of raising donations for a group-oriented, social or community-based cause.

While branding may not be the first initiative a non-profit organization focuses on, there are many benefits to creating and maintaining a strong brand such as: 

  • Enhancing overall company cohesiveness from internal to external
  • Elevating the value proposition, which will positively affect both the organization and targeted communities
  • Demonstrates honesty, trustworthiness, and legitimacy

How To Start Strong

1. Determine Brand Mission, Vision, and Tone:

Your values, mission, and brand tone will define the vision for your entire company while expressing where you stand in the market amongst other brands.

2. Brand Style Guide: 

The brand style guide provides guidelines for the way your brand presents itself in different media so you won’t have to make guesses when deciding on colors, fonts, or images. This saves you time and energy when building your brand (trust us)!

  • Typography, imagery, logo, mission, tone, examples, etc. 
  • Weekly or monthly content and posting checklists
  • Target audiences outlined
  • Clearly explain what not to do

3. Logo:

When defining your brand, you must make it recognizable with a unique logo. A logo is more than just a symbol or phrase, it’s a reminder of the value proposition that your brand brings.

  • Specific colors that elicit emotion
  • Your design choice is very important because it will stand as a visual representation of your mission and value statements 
non profit branding color scheme example
Source: Unsplash.com

4 Qualities Your Non-Profit Brand Should Represent 

1. Honesty and Integrity

While it’s important to have a style guide to help you achieve a cohesive digital experience, it is equally important to train employees on how to communicate with your consumers and represent your brand. Internal to external, the organization’s values should be cohesive and understood by all staff. 

  • Internally: All staff, trustees, volunteers have a common understanding of brand
  • Externally: Catch’s the public’s attention and demonstrate the complete value of its purpose

2. Tell A Story

Answer the questions, “What does my organization do? Why do we do it? And what impact are we making?” Your audience needs to relate to your cause. A creative way to do this is through visual storytelling. You can choose a central character in your story to humanize the issue you are trying to solve, making it relatable, and driving engagement.  

  • Disseminate your content widely on social platforms
  • Use infographics to help communicate and visualize your mission 
    • “We have problem X– We need you to take action Y” 
      • Example: If you are a blood donor, market how your blood donation can give someone/5 people the chance of a full lifetime, make them feel special, and show they are making a difference
      • Example: Locks of Love– A simple haircut for you, a gift of beautiful new hair for a child who suffers from hair loss

74% of donors are more likely to increase their donation amount and/or give outside of their regular cadence if there’s a compelling reason to motivate them.

-Campaignmonitor.com

3. Community Outreach → Incredible Engagement 

All members of the organization should be communicating your brand values from conversations to comments answered on social platforms. Community outreach is the most effective way to drive nonprofit growth.  

  • Plan events when the entire community can come together and your audience can interact with staff members 
  • Create meaningful relationships with your audience to gain trust 
  • Through social media (which can be difficult) – CTA your services, customer/audience spotlights, joining/posting, and engaging in Facebook/LinkedIn groups
  • Be transparent, engaging, active, and aware on social media to connect with the community, other organizations and build your brand visibility

4. Morals

Your brand should always represent itself in an ethical manner, including corporate practices and brand awareness. For example, when motivating people to donate to your cause, you may not want to use distressing or disturbing photos and videos to enhance donation efforts. Instead, communicate the issue in an uplifting manner and express how donations are making a greater impact. 

Example: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

non profit branding ALS example
Source: ALS.org

Common Mistakes of Non-Profit Branding 

“Wherever your organization is at the moment, creating strong nonprofit branding is hard work.”

  • Non-profit executives may still think branding is more important and applicable in the for-profit sector 
    • Many for-profit businesses charge high prices for their products due to brand popularity and strong development which can be misleading. Your efforts do not need to be expensive or over the top, they just need to be consistent, credible, and represent your company values.
  • Example: Animal Conservation Non-profit: An informational graphic of a specific animal your company protects or a family of animals (showing you are trying to bring them back and protect them)
  • The brand is controlled and designed by top management (hierarchical structure) 
    • Can occur during rebranding, or to avoid implementing a strategic process that mirrors for-profit structures, the brand has become too personal to upper leadership
    • Every employee of the company should have an opportunity or channel for communication and ideas
  • Fear that one’s organization may become too overpowering in the industry 
    • Brand imbalances, afraid the brand may act like a for-profit being too competitive, and losing sight of the mission of non-profits

Case Study: Team ADDO

Introduction: 

TEAM ADDO is a nonprofit started by James Boggs with the mission and goal to inspire and encourage others to make the world around them better. The group stands out as a non-profit honoring the men and women who sacrifice for our freedom and raises awareness for children with special needs, fighting for their lives. They include and welcome people from all backgrounds, Veterans and civilians alike; active duty, prior service, family and friends of Veterans, and all community members who want to make a difference. 

Branding Strategy:

TEAM ADDO’s brand revolves heavily around connecting and giving back to the community. They often host events with Tampa community members, sponsors, and volunteers. The overall mission of TEAM ADDO’s branding strategy is to create meaningful relationships with heroes of all ages in the Tampa Bay area. 

  • Events – Most recently, they held their Heros Welcome Party and 5th Annual All Heros Open Charity Fishing Tournament, hosted by Dealers Auction Xchange. The fishing tournament was held to honor the nation’s Veterans and support Tampa Bay’s Veterans Closet and Shriners Hospital for Children. Overlooking the beautiful views of the Westshore Yacht Club and featuring over 60 boats and 200 anglers, TEAM ADDO was not only able to make a great impact on Tampa’s Veteran community and child patients and families at Shriners Hospital, but they were able to connect the community of Tampa Bay with a fun fishing tournament that brought together 360 people. 
  • Logo – TEAM ADDO’s logo represents freedom, community, and American pride. The red, blue, and white colors instantly tell people that the non-profit supports the American values of liberty, hard work, and perseverance. The two open hands symbolize a welcoming visual while representing the innocence and strength of the children fighting for their lives. TEAM ADDO’s profits support and bring awareness to youth who are fighting for a better future.
Untitled design 6
Team ADDO Logo Variations

Conclusion:

Strong and consistent branding serves as a catalyst for long-term, sustainable growth for non-profit organizations. Once you have clearly established your brand mission and tone, style guide, and high-quality logo, your company can continuously develop your brand by being honest, telling a story, doing community outreach, and maintaining ethical practices. Following this guide will allow your non-profit company to be more cohesive from the inside out, enhance your value proposition to educate and assist your cause, and represent a brand that is human and focuses on the greater good. 

Blog Infographic Non Profit Branding Guide

Key Takeaways:

  • Your nonprofit needs to focus on unique and consistent branding that tells a story in order to stand out from the crowd, gain consumer trust and improve your overall brand visibility
  • To start strong, clearly define your mission, vision, tone, brand style guide, and logo
  • When telling a story with your brand: answer the questions, “What does my organization do? Why do we do it? And what impact is it making?”
  • Community outreach is the most effective way to drive nonprofit growth 

If you are a non-profit organization looking to further develop your brand, where to begin, or need expert advice, contact the DCG Team and we would be glad to assist you!

AboutDCG Team
We are home to exceptional marketing specialists, creatives, software developers, business consultants, brand strategists, and more. DCG team members maintain professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops, reviewing professional publications, establishing personal networks, and participating in professional societies.

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