The Nonprofit’s Toolkit for Branding

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Nonprofit organizations need to have a solid and meaningful brand to successfully tell their story and share their values with their audience.

In 2019, Forbes released its 21st annual Forbes Top Charities list, “which ranks the largest U.S. charities based on private donations received.” These top 100 charities together raised over $51 billion in donations, which is 12% of all charitable contributions given in the U.S. These numbers speak volumes about the impact some of the most popular nonprofit organizations have on our country. They also convey how important it is for charitable organizations to have a solid and meaningful brand to tell their story and share their values with their audience.

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Always Begin With Research

Branding for a nonprofit organization is fundamentally similar to branding for corporations in that the process begins with extensive research on the target audiences, key decision-makers, stakeholders, and other similar organizations.

The research focus, however, is primarily shifted to how your brand will resonate with donors and volunteers. These are the people who will have the most influence on the organization’s success. Ensuring both donors and volunteers buy into the organization’s message will help drive its success when it comes to achieving goals and objectives. A brand based on sound, strategic research will always yield great results.

Develop Your Brand’s Identity

In other words, what does your organization promise, and what are the values that support your goals? When these aspects are determined, they will inform and support everything from your messaging, how you form relationships, and how you express yourself, both internally and externally. The organization’s identity should be simple, authentic, and timeless because a well-aligned brand identity creates a lasting impact.

For nonprofits, the brand identity should be rooted in emotion and making volunteers and donors feel good about supporting the organization. A successful nonprofit tells a compelling story and fosters a sense of community with everyone involved while remaining true to its core identity.

Translate Your Brand Across Every Touchpoint

Once the brand identity has been developed, it’s time to apply it to every aspect of the organization, from business cards and marketing materials to a responsive website and social media channels. Every touchpoint should leave a lasting impression and communicate your message with consistency.

Creating these assets can be one of the biggest challenges for nonprofits if resources are limited — and especially difficult for a new nonprofit organization just beginning. A well-executed brand identity requires a strategic approach from a dedicated team of people who understand best practices. If your organization doesn’t currently have the bandwidth to take on such a task, consider hiring a branding expert to help you every step of the way. Their knowledge will guide your organization in the right direction and provide valuable insights from an outside perspective.

Who Are We?

Our Atlanta-area branding agency, id8, is committed to building the community around us and being a brand advocate for our clients. As a strategic partner, id8 provides clarity throughout the creative process, focusing on your specific challenges and how to design an identity that will cut through the clutter. We have experience helping local nonprofits like Cobb Collaborative, Tommy Nobis Center, and Sweetwater Mission. We take pride in helping spread awareness about our community’s essential nonprofit organizations.

Whether you’re just beginning as a nonprofit or need to refresh your brand, we can help you create an identity that provides value to your entire organization and leaves a lasting impression.