At first, the words “non-profit” and “branding” don’t seem to fit together, or at least they didn’t used to. A difficult conundrum for nonprofits is the juxtaposition of wanting to create a unique identity, but not wanting to look ‘branded’ – or polished. That fear stems from the idea that “if it looks good, it’s expensive.” Or in the case of a non-profit, “if it looks good, it looks like we don’t need any money.“
Through our experience working with non-profits, we are learning this is not the case anymore. At a time when for-profit organizations are taking a more transparent approach to their business, non-profits are realizing the value of a professionally developed brand. It’s easy to explain the value of a good, consistent brand, but what is really most important is the emotional feeling that the non-profit exudes – it’s got to grab its audience by the heart and rein them in.
Rather than conveying this feeling in the old grassroots kind of way, the new trend is to convey it in a very professional, branded, yet personal manner. Audiences have become so sophisticated that they expect a refined brand – and they will trust your organization more because of it. A professional, yet personal brand image will help to better articulate your message, engage donors and activity, and raise awareness and money. If a good, solid brand can visually and verbally articulate emotion to your audience, your non-profit will be successful. When rethinking or even beginning to think about branding a non-profit, don’t think polished. Think personal.
To learn more about branding your non-profit and see examples of how it’s done, sign up to see thinkPARALLAX Creative Director, Guusje Bendeler speak at San Diego AMA’s 2013 Cause Conference. http://bit.ly/X8iY6F