Branding your nonprofit is the very first and most important step you will have to take when starting a new business or a nonprofit. It is also the most critical, if the branding is not done right it would automatically cause the failure of your nonprofit or rebranding, which would hurt your growth.
Here we have lined 5 simple steps to brand your nonprofit organization:
1- Set Your Goals
First, make a list of your 10 main short-term and long-term goals for your nonprofit and next to it write what is going to take to accomplish them. List the entire process such as marketing efforts, budget, etc... Think of your organization needs and goals clearly; remember branding affects every aspects of your business from operation to your audience.
Get to your business plan and take as much time as it takes to do it right. Once you are finished with your plan you will have a better idea of your long-term goals and where you want your organization to go. Then, ask yourself the following questions: what is the one opportunity we need to stand out from the competition? How can we retain our donors attention? Is our organization's vision strong enough to be sustainable for the first 5 years?
2- Create Brand Guidelines
What are brand guidelines? Your organization's voice and tone. Voice is what qualifies your brand and cannot be changed when tone differs depending on the situation and context. A brand guide gives you clear guidelines for all communication and marketing efforts such as editorial, design and messaging. A brand guideline is the second most important step of branding. Once you have set guidelines they need to be followed at all times.
Your organization's voice should be unified across the board and all employees. You should align your team with the vision and train them. If your guidelines are done right they will give your audience a clear idea on what your organization stands for and your method of communicating and engaging.
3- Your Logo and Slogan
Step 3, it is time to look at your logo and slogan and how they can define and sum up your brand in one image and one sentence. For this refer to your brand guidelines previously set and take the time to reflect on your organization's mission, values and your audience. Choosing a brand logo and a slogan is a very tough and critical development for any organization and an opportunity to tell the story about your brand. For your logo always refer to a good graphic designer, do not try to do it on your own if you do not have a designer background.
4- Key Messages For Your Nonprofit
What are your key messages? Key messages simply describes who you are and why you exist as an organization and are the key points you use to talk about your organization to your audience. They are the perfect mix between your mission statement and your logo. Key messages should always be developed for different audiences and for different purposes such as fundraising campaigns, speeches, etc...
To start with key messages write a set of statements or paragraphs to describe your organization and mission. When you reach out to a particular audience during a fundraiser or a new campaign you will already have the proper messages and language to use. Keep in mind your audience should be able to identify with your key messages. Key messages should mention the problem your organization is solving, your benefits and solutions, target your audience, communicate your mission and have a call to action.
5- Think Long-Term
Once you have set your guidelines, done your business plan, develop your slogan and key messages you have to think on the long-term and make it an necessity for your staff, members and even volunteers to follow through. Also, make sure everyone has a perfect understanding of your organization, so do not hesitate to host monthly meetings and remind your team about the strategy in place. The more knowledgable a team is about the organization branding strategy the more successful the organization will be.
To sum up, when starting a new nonprofit go ahead and start your business plan and develop brand guidelines. Then think of your logo and slogan to make it stick; afterwards, think of your audience and develop key messages to describe who you are in a simple way and think long-term throughout the whole process!
Thank you for reading our article! If you have any questions please comment below. If you need help with your nonprofit branding strategy we specialize in branding contact us today! To learn more about Cause Forward U.S. click here.