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The Surprising Return on Investment (ROI) of Nonprofit Branding

Posted by
Marcy Rye
Nov 15, 2016 8:29:47 AM

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When it comes to running and maintaining a nonprofit organization, the focus is often on the charitable work that the organization provides to the community. However, the problem is that nonprofits often struggle to convey the good that they do to the community through a well defined brand and corporate image.

Branding is an important part of any business organization, but this essential marketing concept often does not represent a major component of the communication and investment strategy of nonprofit organizations.

After all, you might object that money should be invested in the cause which the organizations supports rather than investing in positioning and branding. Nonetheless, while the reluctance to spend money on an effective brand strategy is understandable, the return on investment (ROI) which derives from this set of tactics is enormous. Building a strong identity will in fact help your nonprofit organization to draw more attention, generate awareness, and create a stronger community, while also positively impacting donations and other forms of support.

You can see some of our work in this area in our online portfolio.

What is branding and why is it so important for nonprofit organizations?

Before you can get to know the benefits of branding for your nonprofit, it is important to identify the exact meaning of branding in terms of your business. Your brand is the image that your organization has with the community it interacts with. In other words, it is what the general public associates with your nonprofit organization.

Therefore, in a way, no matter what you do in terms of branding, whether you invest in consciously developing the perception of your organization or not, your nonprofit organization does have a brand.

The whole concept of brand goes beyond the logo or color scheme that your organization adopts. Your brand is connected to every public aspect of your organization: website, mission statement, people, words, and channels you use to communicate. It ultimately represents the essence of your organization.

Why Investing In Your Brand Matters

Your nonprofit organization has an identify and a reputation whether or not you cultivate it yourself. Investing in your brand matters because you want to be sure that the impression that the public and potential contributors have of your organization is positive, cohesive, and recognizable. There are many benefits to investing in the branding of your nonprofit organization:

1. You Can Distinguish Your Organization From Direct Competitors

One of the biggest problems that nonprofit organizations can have in terms of branding is the issue of being confused with the organizations doing similar work. When you put conscious effort into your branding strategy, you can be sure that you differentiate your nonprofit from the competition.

Making your nonprofit recognizable and distinct from other organizations with similar goals or areas of focus will help to increase donations because your message will be unique and well-defined.

2. You Will Distinguish Your Nonprofit From All Other Nonprofits

Similarly to other businesses, nonprofits do not simply have to deal with direct competitors.  When seeking out donors, volunteers, or other forms of support, your nonprofit organization will also be in competition with other nonprofit organizations in different sectors.

A correct positioning and a clear perception of your identify are directly connected to a strong and focused brand and will have long-term benefits in terms of awareness and interest.

3. You Will be Able to Create a Loyal Community that Works For You

Building a strong brand helps people identify themselves with an organization. This, in turn, makes it much easier for nonprofits to create and engage a strong community of supporters who will be willing to share your message with their peers and be more involved with your organization.

4.  The Staff You Hire Will Be More Effective

When workers and staff members have a clear understanding of the purpose of the organization that employs them, they are more likely to rally behind it and be more engaged in their jobs.

Beyond that, your employees and volunteers will embody the organization brand on and off the job. If they believe in the brand and stand behind it, their enthusiasm and clear goals will help to draw in more support and donors and help your organization to continuously improve and serve the community better.

When all of your paid and volunteer staff members have a clear picture of the brand and mission of the nonprofit organization they work for, they will also be able to understand their own role better and be more likely to put their all into even the most basic tasks and job requirements.

5. Improve Supporter and Donor Retention

Nonprofit organizations are frequently dependent on the people who donate their time, money, and other resources into the company. Having a strong brand with a clear and positive message means that your donors will know they are associating with an organization that is putting their donations to good use and giving back to the community.

When people donate to nonprofit organizations, part of the benefit to them is that they feel good about themselves in the process. Branding can help you provide them with that good feeling and keep them coming back year after year to donate more to your organization.

Immediate and long-term ROI of a Branding Strategy for Nonprofits

As you see, the ROI of investing in your nonprofit brand is extensive. You will improve community relations and recognition, distinguish your organization from the others, generate more awareness and support, help your staff work more effectively, increase donations and improve your donor relations as well.

When it comes to nonprofits, the ROI of investing in your brand consists of both immediate results and long-lasting effects. 

Get in touch to talk about your nonprofit brand and let us answer any questions you have.

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Topics: branding