Nonprofit Marketing Made Easier, Part 2: Brand Identity
July 17, 2023
This is the second article in a series about developing a marketing plan for your nonprofit. The first post focused on developing high-level goals and conducting environmental and competitive analyses.
In this post, we’ll be talking about the branding elements, specifically messaging, to include in your marketing plan.
What is Your Nonprofit’s Brand?
Your brand should express your values and define what your organization stands for. From the visuals on your website to the language in your marketing materials, your brand identity influences how donors, volunteers and beneficiaries perceive your organization.
Consistent branding helps create a strong, recognizable identity for a nonprofit organization. This recognition builds trust and credibility, which are essential for attracting donors, volunteers, and supporters.
We recommend including brand guidelines for your nonprofit in your marketing plan so that everyone involved with executing the plan can consistently apply brand elements, including logos, colors, fonts and messaging.
Key brand messaging elements include:
- Brand Purpose and Unique Selling Proposition
- Brand Positioning
- Brand Promise
- Brand Voice and Personality
- Mission, Vision and Value Statements
Brand Purpose and Unique Selling Proposition
Your brand purpose is why your nonprofit exists and how you want to impact those you serve. It’s a statement that tells potential donors why they should contribute to your organization. A unique selling proposition (USP) emphasizes what it is that sets your organization apart.
Elements of an effective USP include:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How your constituents benefit
- What you do differently than your competitors
- The additional benefit that brings to your constituents
That’s what defines points of contact with your audience. All of your brand elements should include a consistent message and a common goal: to inform your audience and explain how your team will deliver on your nonprofit’s mission. Brand positioning distinguishes your nonprofit’s image from the competition in the eyes of your donors and beneficiaries.
A brand positioning statement identifies:
- What makes your nonprofit unique
- Your beneficiaries and their needs
- Your services
- The benefits of using those services
- What makes your organization different
Your nonprofit’s brand promise should create an emotional connection with your donors, volunteers and those you serve. It’s also an opportunity to differentiate yourself from nonprofits with similar causes.
A promise is only valuable if it’s kept. You risk losing credibility and audience loyalty if your organization doesn’t deliver on its brand promise.
Brand Voice and Personality
What traits or characteristics would you pick to represent your nonprofit organization? Your brand personality is the language and tone used to communicate your mission, goals and services in marketing materials. Think of it as how your brand would speak and behave if it were a person.
It’s important to establish a cohesive brand voice in print and digital marketing assets. Word choice and tone should be purposeful and consistent to represent your brand in a way that engages and motivates donors and volunteers.
Mission, Vision and Value Statements
Mission statements: Those action-based expressions of your nonprofit’s purpose highlight how you serve your target audience. Anyone should be able to understand what your organization does and how objectives are achieved after reading your mission statement.
Vision statements: Your vision statement describes what the future would look like if your organization reached its goals. It’s an ideal you aspire to, a best-case scenario for serving those in need.
Value statements: These statements are the blueprint for your nonprofit’s culture and values. They’re the standards and principles that provide a basis for decision-making regarding communication strategies and charitable efforts.
In our next post, we’ll continue our series of best practices for developing a nonprofit marketing plan with a focus on audience identification and persona development.