How to Brand your Nonprofit in 2022

Why is Nonprofit Branding Important?

Nonprofit branding is how an organization communicates who they are, what they stand for, and how they go about completing their mission. It shows the passion of the organization and proves why others should support their cause. Also, nonprofit branding is the way you differentiate yourself amongst every other nonprofit out there. Strong branding gets you recognized, and it makes sure that you are remembered. As previously mentioned, branding for your nonprofit is beneficial in a few ways:

  1. Standing out amongst competitorsStanding out from the crowd allows your audience to see you even more. You get recognition for your unique brand and as a result, people will remember you more. Being unique also helps you cultivate loyalty and trust with your audience. Many nonprofit organizations struggle with standing out because their brand is not memorable compared to competitors that may be working on similar causes. Using nonprofit branding services and creating a solid branding package will surely help your organization reach its goals. We will share more on branding packages a little later in the article.
  2. Raising more awareness, and potentially more money As more people learn to trust your brand over time, your reputation builds, and your message begins to reach a larger audience. Having more loyal people increases social awareness and the amount of your donations. Tips for Building a Strong Brand Identity Know your mission and your audience. Before you even start designing a logo or a website, carefully think through your organization's goals and vision statement. Speak with donors, volunteers, and any others who can give relevant input. Afterwards, fully figure out your target audience. Once you know who you will be talking to, you can tailor your communication to meet their exact needs.

Tips for Building a Strong Brand Identity

Know your mission and your audience.

Before you even start designing a logo or a website, carefully think through your organization's goals and vision statement. Speak with donors, volunteers, and any others who can give relevant input. Afterwards, fully figure out your target audience. Once you know who you will be talking to, you can tailor your communication to meet their exact needs.


Create a Nonprofit Branding Guide.

One of the most important aspects of branding is consistency. An organization has a strong brand when all of its elements share the same voice. All infographics, emails, newsletters etc. should be similar in look and feel. Also keep your brand consistent throughout each social media platform you use (if you use any). If you're hoping to raise funds online, a branded donation page helps. Along with your branding, your message should also be consistent. Pick a stance and stick to it. It's hard to trust an organization that doesn't seem too confident in where they stand. Repeat your mission as many times as you can to increase awareness, recognition, and trust. It's almost impossible to say your mission too many times. Every interaction, online and offline, is an opportunity to build relationships. Cohesive communication helps. No matter what you do, try not to stray too far away from your stated mission. A branding guide will surely help your nonprofit stay on the right track. It outlines the key components of your brand and establishes rules for what is and isn't allowed. This ensures consistency and makes branding easier because everything if already organized for you. A branding guide includes elements such as your organization's logo, website design, and more. Below are just a few of the most important elements to think through when developing your brand.

Logo

The logo represents the essence of your organization. It is probably the first thing people see and the main way they will recognize you. An effective logo creates and emotional connection between the audience and your organization. The best logo is striking, relatable, and memorable, while fully communicating what your brand is. A logo should be simple, yet timeless, meaning it will be remembered for years to come. A simple logo can be spotted quicker and easier by your audience. Allow your mission to guide you while designing your logo. The colors, symbols, images, and/or words should all represent your organization. Make sure to not be too literal or to use cliches in your imagery. For example, a heart is a recognizable symbol, but almost everyone uses it and being like everyone else will not help you stand out. If you decide to use typography for your logo, choose a font that is consistent with your brand. You could also add a tagline to clearly state what you do.

Color

Most may think that color isn't important when building a brand. Just do use pretty colors, right? Actually, it is not that simple. Each color has its own special meaning and feeling it gives off based on which culture you are looking at. Because of this, your color palette should be chosen carefully.

Typography

Typography expresses your organization’s personality through the words that you choose and the way in which they are arranged. It's important to choose fonts that work well together. Also, the stylization of your typography (i.e.capitalization) helps your audience find pivotal information faster. Just like with color, each typeface gives off its own distinct tone and allows viewers to experience different feelings. Make sure your typeface is generating your desires emotions from your audience. For example, a strong typeface that is bolded may work better for portraying a loud tone. If you would like to be more calm and inviting, a typeface with a lighter weight is best to use.

One other tip is to make sure your typography is readable and accessible both digitally and in print. This ensures your most important information is still able to be seen clearly.

Tell a great story

Using case studies and success stories within your branding is a great way to build emotion for your audience. You want to connect with them to build trust and touching their heart will do just that. Being an effective storyteller allows you to help your audience understand your organization better by discussing the challenges you may face and the efforts you are making towards your cause. Publicly thank the donors and speak about how their money is spent. Show your supporters why your organization is so great and why your mission is so important. As a result, meaningful relationships are created, your credibility increases, and your nonprofit stands out even more.

Quick storytelling tips:
  • Be Authentic: It's easy to spot when a company isn't being genuine. Instead of coming off as if everything is perfect with your organization, showing some authenticity quickly builds trust because you seem more relatable. If the audience feels like they are being fooled or lied to, they surely will not buy into what you are offering.
  • Be visual: Image and videos are other good mediums used to tell a story, especially in an age where most web users simply scan webpages. Visuals catch the viewer's attention and can quickly provide essential information to them.
  • Have a central character: The central character (as known as the hero) of your organization is typically a person that has their life and connection to the organization clearly written out. A central character is easier for people to relate to because it is one individual compared to a larger group.

Community Outreach

It makes sense to utilize the internet as a main method for reaching out, since most people are in front of some type of screen the majority of their day. However, spreading the word through in-person interaction can still be very effective. Community outreach activities give you the opportunity to physically interact with your audience and build a stronger connection. Your nonprofit will seem more committed and will likely have a stronger reputation, which attracts more supporters and donors.

Be Innovative

Your organization will be remembered for being different. If you really want to be stuck in people's minds, try something innovative. One way to be more forward-thinking is by adopting new technologies. Another way is by starting conversation on your social media platforms.

Work with a nonprofit branding agency If you are having difficulty with creating a brand on your own, consider utilizing one of several nonprofit branding services. Working with an agency that specializes in nonprofit branding can help you develop impactful guidelines, visuals, and more. They can also give you useful strategies to implement within your organization.

Conclusion

Building a successful nonprofit brand can take a large amount of time and effort. Because of this, it is usually not a priority for most nonprofits that are focused on accomplishing their charitable mission. However, there are many benefits to developing a full and cohesive brand. Not only will your message be conveyed more clearly, but your organization will also gain more recognition.