5 Nonprofit Branding Techniques That Any Business Can Use
Branding is an important component for any successful business, but even more so for nonprofits. Much of their missions and goals rely heavily on public engagement and support. For nonprofits, employing strong branding techniques helps to establish trust and familiarity, which turns into community buy-in. Nonprofit branding techniques can easily translate to the for-profit sector as well.
State Your Mission
Every nonprofit was created with a specific mission in mind. The first step towards creating a clear and consistent brand is to identify a concise mission statement. This mission statement is the cornerstone of all activity within the organization. All events, communications, and even the structure of the organization itself should reflect a commitment to the mission statement. Likewise, for-profit businesses should have a defined mission statement that guides their brand. When creating a mission statement, try to answer these questions:
- Who are we?
- Who do we serve?
- What do we do that makes us different?
- Why do we matter?
Part of Dion’s mission statement is:
“We are E A Dion, a company that creates fashionable identity jewelry for organizations, which we customize to their organizational identities in beautiful styles that appeal to their membership.”
Create a Visual Identity
Once the mission statement is established, it’s time to think outward. What does the organization want to be known for? What is its legacy? The answer to these questions will help set the tone for creating visual elements. For example, the warm tone of a child care association will differ greatly from the matter-of-fact voice of a human rights advocacy group. The tone of the organization determines what logo, colors, and font to use. This keeps communications consistent and helps people better recognize the brand.
During this stage, some organizations will create uniform elements for their members. Drawing from the nonprofit’s mission, history, and tone, uniform items could be as simple as t-shirts, or as iconic as the fez hats of Shriners International. Oftentimes, associations opt for a logoed pin. At Dion, we design and manufacture custom pins, money clips, keytags, cufflinks, and other forms of custom jewelry for organizations. Whether it’s a new member pin, donor gift, or officer rank badge, having wearable branded items is a great way to boost brand awareness and legitimacy.
Tell A Story
Behind every nonprofit there is usually a personal and compelling story of why it was founded. Telling this story is a fantastic way to earn empathy and trust from the community. As the organization grows, it’s important to prevent the story from getting buried. Whenever possible, nonprofits tell their founding story, and subsequent stories of how they have made an impact. Though it may take some digging, these compelling narratives can also be found in for-profit businesses. The more personal the stories, the more effective they’ll be in driving engagement. Both nonprofits and businesses alike should keep their mission statement and tone in mind when telling these stories.
Find Your Audience
Nonprofits tend to be more embedded in, and connected to, their audiences. However, marketing research is still a valuable tool to help them pinpoint the demographics of their most engaged people. Once a target audience has been identified, organizations can more strategically choose their methods of communicating. Nonprofits are often skilled at utilizing social media due to its low-cost and wide reach. Social media is a great way to communicate stories, keep people up to date on projects and events, and establish a line of communication with the general public. Social posts make it easy for people to share content instantly and follow links back to the organization’s website.
Due to their frequent community outreach and charity work, nonprofits often collaborate with each other. By joining forces with like-minded organizations, they can raise more awareness for their cause and boost each other’s brand. For-profit businesses can do this as well. Whether it’s two neighboring businesses offering coupons for each other, or a big-budget combined advertisement campaign, there are many ways businesses can help each other out.
While nonprofits may not seem like branding experts, their unique perspective offers some valuable branding ideas. Having a close tie to their mission, values, and tone helps them better communicate their stories and connect with their audience more directly. Collaborating with other nonprofits helps to amplify their branding further. Businesses may benefit from taking note!
Looking to boost brand awareness? Getting started on a custom branded jewelry item is easy! Our custom awards help to elevate and celebrate organizations with designs tailored to their needs. Start by browsing our gallery of past products, or