Branding for Nonprofits

Assessing your nonprofit’s brand value

Corporations spend considerable time and money to assess their brand value.

Brand value can give insight into overall profit potential, customer loyalty and whether or not investors would be willing to invest capital in the corporation.

Within the nonprofit sector, leaders often don’t give much thought to their brand value and most don’t think it applies at all.

However, understanding brand value can help nonprofits determine how much to invest in their marketing efforts, how and when to use their brand and can help leaders begin to understand the relationship between branding and donor investments.

And brand value is often a consideration when corporations are choosing cause-marketing partnerships.

A nonprofit’s brand – its reputation for delivering on its promise –

should be clear and consistent, relevant to the nonprofit’s mission and it should emotionally connect the organization’s target audiences.

A strong brand can lend itself to donor loyalty, increased donor investment and help distinguish one nonprofit from another.

When assessing a nonprofit’s brand, consider the following:

Brand relevancy. This becomes particularly true with older organizations. Is the nonprofit still relevant to the target audience? Are the nonprofit’s services still what the community needs and are they accessible? Do the brand elements clearly connect with the purpose of the organization, or do they imply something the organization is not?

Upon hearing the organization’s name and its key messages, is it clear to the audience or is it confusing? These are all important factors for consideration.

Brand consistency. With so many organizations competing for the same resources, it’s important to develop a clear, consistent brand that is relevant to the mission and the audience you are trying to reach.

The organization’s brand will help it stand-out from the crowd and highlight the main focus of the organization. The name of the organization, logo, color scheme and key messages all should be used consistently. The more consistent you are, the more your brand is reinforced in the mind of your audiences.

Accountability. Does the nonprofit deliver on its promise, every time? Accountability is key both to delivering on the promise of the organization and transparency in financial accountability.

No matter the cause the organization supports or the service it provides, donors want to know that the nonprofit and its leaders can be trusted and have solid management practices so that their money is put to good use.

Emotional connection. Building an emotional connection between the work your organization does and the overall impact it has makes it easier for a broad audience to engage the organization and donate their time and their money.

People want to know they are making a difference. Connecting with your audience’s emotions, making what you do relevant to them and making sure you highlight the reason for your impact, strengthens your brand and increases the potential for investment.

The stronger a nonprofit’s brand, the more known it becomes and the more donors become willing to invest and stay loyal to the organization.


Written by Stacy Jones. (LinkedIn)

Stacy Jones is senior project director with The Shoestring Agency. Stacy can be reached at or 1-888-835-6236.