Nonprofit Branding Best Practices
Posted on June 4, 2021
The past few years have witnessed an increase in giving across the globe. It is encouraging to note that even the pandemic did not disturb those who wanted to donate. This has led to the rise in the number of nonprofits globally.
It is quite easy for your website to get lost in the myriad of nonprofit websites online. Hence, you need to establish your nonprofit brand identity so that your brand stands out amid the online chaos!
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity relates to the aspects of a brand that the audience identifies with. It could be the colors/logo/imagery or any other that helps the audience identify the brand. For instance, if we think of McDonald’s, we associate it with red and yellow colors or its logo, etc. Similarly, it is easy for people to identify Apple products because of their unique logo.
Hence brand identity can be understood as the “unique ID” of a brand that makes it stand out.
Contrary to the popular belief that only big brands need to have distinguishing colors and logos, having a unique brand identity has become a must for most businesses in the digital world.
Nonprofits also need to create a unique identity for themselves to make it easy for the audience to identify their preferred nonprofits.
If you are still wondering if nonprofits need to invest in branding, here’s why nonprofit branding is important
Nonprofit branding is important because it is the most effective way the nonprofit can communicate its story to its audience. You can establish your nonprofit brand by using colors and visuals to communicate what your brand is about and what exactly you do.
The colors and fonts you use to tell your nonprofit’s story will help your audience identify you in the online world.
So, you must be wondering, “How does one Brand a Nonprofit Organization?”
Before we get into the technical details of nonprofit branding, let’s delve into the basic building blocks for creating the brand:
Know your Audience
Understanding the needs of the target audience is the first step for building a brand identity. This will require some research. You will need to identify your audience and find out what their perception of your nonprofit is, what do they expect from you? This will be a good starting point.
Before you get down to creating your logo or images for your brand, it is vital to understand what your brand means to people around you.
If you have an existing audience, then it is a good idea to interview them and ask them how they describe your brand. You can also ask relevant questions to your email subscribers and use their inputs also to build your brand.
Check out What Others are Doing!
It is something like a competitor analysis where you check out what others in your field are doing. However, it is quite different from a competitor analysis conducted by businesses. This is because nonprofits are not exactly “marketing” similar products/services and competing in the same marketplace.
In the case of nonprofits, the working model of each one is quite different from the other. So, when a nonprofit looks at what others in the field are doing, it is to gain insights on what works/does not work. This will make their job of creating a brand identity easy.
In case you are planning to rebrand your existing nonprofit, it is essential to take your existing donors, volunteers, and supporters into confidence. This is because these entities associate your brand with certain ideologies. And, if you were to make radical changes to your existing brand without keeping them in the loop, they will be confused. The possibility of losing out some loyal supporters due to this confusion cannot be ruled out. This is a risk best avoided!
It can be done easily by keeping all those who are associated with your brand updated about your intent for rebranding.
You can even involve them by asking for suggestions and ideas. This will serve as valuable information because it has come from people who know you and what you stand for.
Let Others Speak for You!
You can get people who support your brand to speak for you in a visual storytelling format. It could be video testimonials or short videos about people talking about your brand. This helps in giving authenticity to your brand and helps connect on an emotional level with your target audience.
After completing the groundwork like finding out about your audience and other relevant data, you are all set to work on the technical aspects of building your brand!
Guide to Effective Nonprofit Branding
Establish what you want your brand to communicate!
Brands tell the story of the organization to the audience! So, you need to find out what story you want to tell through your brand?
How do you want your audience to identify your nonprofit?
This will depend largely on the primary objective of your nonprofit, the charities your nonprofit supports, etc.
The research you have carried out will also help you create a story based on what your audience expects of you!
Your brand’s story will determine the theme of your brand.
Choosing the Right Colors and Fonts
Once you have your brand’s story ready, you can choose the colors and fonts that blend with your story.
While choosing colors for your brand, you need to understand that each color has a different connotation. So, select only those colors that are aligned with your brand’s theme.
Some examples of what different colors indicate are:
White is associated with purity, innocence, goodness, safety, cleanliness, etc.
Blue symbolizes aspects like trust, wisdom, confidence, faith, truth, etc.
The yellow color is used to indicate joy, happiness, energy, and intellect.
Therefore, choosing the right colors for your brand can make or break it! So, make sure that you select those colors that highlight the story of your nonprofit.
The fonts you use for the content also tell a lot about the brand. For instance, fonts that use harsh lines and pointy edges usually indicate a formal tone while those with flowing lines and smooth corners are considered warm.
Needless to say, the logo of your brand is a critical factor because it symbolizes what your brand stands for. A lot of creativity is required for creating a unique brand logo.
Create a logo using the colors that gel with your brand and depict your brand’s story through an image.
Your logo should be a perfect blend of the color, font, and imagery to define your brand.
Creating a Brand Website
All the aspects of your brand such as the color, font, logo, story, etc. will come together on your website. Your website is the platform that tells your brand’s story to the world.
Use a template that best meets the needs of your brand. However, you must consider the trending website design themes while choosing the template.
Your website should clearly convey the mission statement of your nonprofit. Use the brand colors and fonts selected for designing your website. Identify the relevant “keywords” or search terms that your audience will use to look for your website online. Make sure that you optimize your website with these words.
Make sure to have different versions of your logo that can be used on social media platforms, email newsletters, banners, etc.
Once you have decided on different aspects of your brand such as its color, logo, etc. make sure that you use them consistently wherever you promote your brand.
The world is becoming digital! For a nonprofit to have a strong presence in an online world, branding is a must. Nonprofits need to establish a brand identity that communicates to the audience what the nonprofit stands for and how the audience can associate with it.