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The Role Of Branding In The Non Profit Sector -

Why do companies think that branding is important? The answer is simple, really – branding leads to profits. Non-profit organizations have their own brands too. Every non-profit company has a different set of values. But all of them have one thing in common – unlike for-profits these organizations do not work for profit.

Previously we discussed why it is important for companies to carry out brand revival strategies to keep themselves relevant.  The same concept also applies to nonprofit organizations.

But this begs the question; if the aim of branding is to make a profit, how can companies in the non-profit sector use branding to their advantage?

Branding for Non-profit

Keep in mind, nonprofits are pretty similar to for-profit organizations in some ways. For example, they pay the same taxes and follow similar regulations. And they also brand for a purpose. These purposes are not related to profit as they would be in the case of for-profit organizations. When a nonprofit organization carries out a branding campaign or designs a logo to represent their brand, it usually does it for two reasons –

  • To support their charities
  • To attract more people to their cause

Think World Wildlife Fund, Amnesty International and Habitat for Humanity. All of these brands are trusted more than some of the most popular for-profits. It is obvious that these organizations are doing something right.

The purpose of non-profits might be different, but branding strategies that are used by for-profit organizations can apply to them too.

Let’s discuss what these are.

Branding Brings Cohesion To Non Profits

Pip Emery who co-led a recent project about global identity for Amnesty International famously said,

“ If you don’t know where you’re going and why you’re relevant, you don’t have a brand. ”

Nonprofits like Amnesty must constantly establish trust with external audiences, whether they are beneficiaries, donors or partners. And they use branding strategies to clarify all that they stand for.

Nathalie Kylander and Christopher Stone say that branding becomes a cyclic process when it is applied to nonprofits –

“ The role of brand within nonprofit organizations is therefore cyclical and can be captured in a model we call the Role of Brand Cycle. In this model, brand is nested within organizational strategy, which in turn is nested within the mission and values of the organization….A well aligned identity and image position the organization to build internal cohesion and trust with external constituents. Organizations can leverage these to strengthen internal capacity and achieve impact in the world. ”

Branding Clarifies Mission

As discussed, each nonprofit has a different mission. However since all of these organizations fight for good causes, it can be challenging for them to clarify what they stand for. Branding allows them to bridge the gaps between their goals, donors and beneficiaries.

Caroline Bermudez says that nonprofits who liken branding to more than just a fundraising tool use it well –

“ A lot of people in the nonprofit sector feel that brand is a fundraising tool and that’s all it is. When you view brand in that light, it sits disconnected from the mission and outside of the importance of what the organization is trying to accomplish. What we see in the organizations that embrace and use their brands is that they view the brand not just as a fundraising tool but as a strategic asset that’s anchored in the mission. ”

While branding is more associated with for-profit organizations, nonprofits also consider it as an important element of success for them too. It helps them make an emotional connection with their audiences and impacts their fundraising efforts.

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