Branding may not be something that instantly comes to mind when we think about nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and development sector in general. When we think about branding, we often think strictly in terms of big businesses such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, and Toyota. However, the simple truth is that branding is an essential element for achieving success and is important for a nonprofit just as much as it is for any small or big business.
In essence, branding is all about your public image and perception. It deals with how the outside world views your organization and the work you do. Having a strong brand can give your nonprofit organization many benefits. For instance, it may help a great deal in raising money, increasing awareness about your cause, attracting superior talent, and enhancing your reputation amongst your donors, volunteers, supports, and media.
Here is a deeper look at some of the reasons why you need to invest time and effort in building a strong brand for your nonprofit and some helpful tips to formulate a winning brand strategy:
Why Branding for a Nonprofit?
As a nonprofit, having a great cause to fight for is simply not enough. In order to be successful, you need to know how to market that cause in a way that people are willing to help and contribute
Branding is crucial for all types of organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, because it’s simply not possible to thrive or even survive without having a positive public appearance. Think about some of the most reputable and well-known nonprofit organizations like Save the Children or Amnesty International. Odds are you are already well-aware of these organizations and have a clear picture of what they do. That’s exactly what branding does. It shapes your public image and put a spotlight on your brand name.
As a nonprofit, having a great cause to fight for is simply not enough. In order to be successful, you need to know how to market that cause in a way that people are willing to help and contribute. Branding aids your organization in creating differentiation and stand out in a world with so many different causes. In short, it helps you convey your story in a compelling way in order to make it easy for public to learn how you make the world a better place. People often like to donate and volunteer for organizations they find credible and easy to trust. Your branding efforts contribute toward building that bridge of trust to close the gap between an average person and your organization!
Tell Your Story
The main element of your nonprofit branding should be telling your story in a unique way. If you do this right, you can hope to stand apart from many other similar organizations. A one minute browse through your social media feed will show you just how many causes, charities, and organization are out there nowadays. Most of them are struggling for attention and vying for the same public support, making it harder than ever to get heard. You can only break through this noise if you can leverage all your creative elements to tell a unique story. For instance, you should ask yourself how effectively does your logo or other marketing collateral convey your distinctive message? How well does your social media posts highlight your nonprofit activities? Perfecting the art of weaving and narrating a captivating story about your work is crucial as it lies at the heart of your nonprofit branding strategy.
Take Your Marketing Seriously
It is often observed that a lot of newly established nonprofit organizations don’t take their marketing serious enough. One of the reasons behind this attitude is a mistaken belief that somehow the cause will market itself. It’s quite easy to become complacent when you tend to think that your project is focused on uplifting humanity by empowering so many disadvantaged people. And since your message is so powerful, it will automatically spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, that rarely happens and that too in a very small number of cases. Most of the times, your success will be dependent on your ability to plan and execute a carefully designed marketing strategy for your nonprofit organization.
When it comes to marketing strategy, there are a number of key elements you should pay attention to, such as content marketing, advertisements, and social media campaigns. To excel in each of these areas require sincere effort and often it’s a lot for a small team to take on. Therefore, many branding experts advise to consider recruiting an experienced professional in marketing who do the heavy lifting for you. To give a general advice, always start small with your marketing efforts to build a strong brand.
A good starting point can be to begin investing time in writing blog posts that reflect your brand messaging. Blogs are often very easy to setup and share on social media. You should also think about optimizing your website with SEO. This will help your potential donors, volunteers, and supporters to find you quickly in their search results. Most of all, try to engage and interact with your audiences through online and offline medium. Start a conversation around your specific cause and educate people about the importance of your nonprofit organization’s mission.
Just like for any other business entity, branding is a key element of success for a nonprofit organization. Good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be a marketing guru or need to have expert knowledge to create a winning brand strategy for your nonprofit or social enterprise. All you need is to keep focus on your unique story and find innovative ways of connecting with others. As long as you take your marketing seriously and adopt a proactive approach toward branding, your nonprofit cause will benefit!