Great tips for successful nonprofit branding

Did you know there are 1.5 million nonprofits in the United States alone?  Unless your organization or cause grabs the attention of potential donors, you might end up being overlooked in the crowd. Whether your nonprofit has an ample or meager marketing budget, try following these basic, backbone branding concepts to help you stand out!

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Build relationships that can last long-term:

Branding isn’t always an exercise that will pay dividends tomorrow, or even in the next week. In the long-run, however, strong brand marketing can really pay off.

One key aspect that takes a bit of time and work is relationship building; this means building long-term connections with donors and supporters.

Your goal should be building a brand that your supporters see as a friend – loyal and trustworthy – rather than seeing themselves as a customer or client.

To avoid having your marketing pieces sound like announcements or advertisements, try using this simple outline when structuring your messages.

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Along these lines, aim to make your messages relevant, with content that grabs your supporter’s attention and suits his or her needs and interests. That way, they are more likely to talk about and share it within their circle of friends. By focusing on building one relationship, you may be surprised at how it leads into word-of-mouth marketing that continues growing your supporter base!

Take a look at how the Ottawa Hospital Foundation creates a relationship with its donors:


Create a memorable brand:

Think about all the top nonprofits that come to your mind. When you picture them, what do you see? Do you see a logo, a face, and maybe even a mission statement? Successful nonprofits are able to have this lasting effect because they because they have created a consistent and memorable brand.

Unlike many for-profits, nonprofits often don’t have a physical product or service to sell but rather, an abstract idea. So, how do the top nonprofits successfully create unforgettable brands?

According to “Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results,” your nonprofit can become a breakthrough brand by following these basic principles:

1. Convince the head: Your nonprofit should differentiate itself from others by explaining how you do better at achieving results with donations from your supporters.

2. Touch the heart: Make sure your branding is focused on your cause rather than your organization. This way you can attract people who are passionate about your mission and are far more likely to be longer term donors.

3. Engage the hands: Create a sense of community about your organization. This can be done by sharing experiences and commitments online or encouraging meet-ups and gatherings offline.

Use all the web has to offer:

Every nonprofit needs a home on the web for donors to come and learn about your cause, and ultimately make donations. Remember that different online channels offer different opportunities to market and brand your nonprofit!

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Web:  Your website is the heart of your online presence, and it needs to be an attractive hub of information. Your donors are visiting your website to come find out who you are, what you do, and how they can help. Because you can customize every part of it, your website may be your best chance to have your brand leave a lasting impression.

A donation page is an important part of any nonprofit’s web presence – here are our tips on creating great ones!

Social Media: Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are free and can be amazing tools to communicate with your donors and foster long-term relationships. Social posts can display your offline activities, what’s going on behind the scenes, stories, and testimonials to give personal insight into what you’re all about. To create a friendly relationship instead of one that seems like a business relationship, social media can be incredibly valuable.

Is your nonprofit using Tumblr? We have five reasons why you should be!

E-mail is a very effective marketing tool. It’s inexpensive, can have immediate results, allows you to send personalized messages, and lets you segment your lists according to your messaging. For example, you can target specific donors about upcoming events based on their location, or specific supporters about opportunities you know they have an interest in. Doing so will go a long way in keeping a strong, friendly, relationship with your supporters, reinforcing that you only try to share relevant content and messages with them.

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