What is a Nonprofit Brand Messaging Strategy?

4 min read

If I asked anyone at your nonprofit to describe your organization in one sentence, would all of their answers be similar? 

When you sit down to write an appeal letter or a new blog post on your website, are you aware of who is going to be reading it and what matters to them? 

Do you have overarching messaging for your organization as well as more tailored messaging for each one of your nonprofit’s target audiences?

If your answers to any of these questions are “No,” it’s time to revisit your nonprofit’s brand messaging strategy. 

The words you use to represent your organization should be the most concise, compelling and readily understood encapsulation of your mission and values, and they should be detailed in your nonprofit’s brand messaging strategy. 

The words you use to represent your organization should be the most concise, compelling and readily understood encapsulation of your mission and values. Click To Tweet

Your nonprofit brand messaging strategy typically includes elements like your organization’s:

  • Elevator Pitcha brief, persuasive statement that is used to spark interest in what your organization does
  • Value Propositiona statement that articulates a promise of value to be delivered from your nonprofit to its supporters
  • Stakeholder Personaspersonified, fictional descriptions of ideal members of each of your nonprofit’s target stakeholder groups
  • Key Messagesthe main points you need your stakeholders to hear, understand and remember about your organization
  • Brand Voice Definitions – an articulation of how your brand sounds, the types of words you use and don’t use in your communications, etc.
  • Sample Uses of Key Messages – examples of how your key messages can be applied to things such as appeal letters, your website or social media posts

Let’s talk about why a brand messaging strategy is so important for your organization.

Communications Direction

Your brand messaging elements lay the foundation for everything else you do from a marketing and communications perspective. Take any one of these pieces away, and your strategy not only becomes less effective, but your communications become less powerful. 

When you sit down to create any piece of content for your organization, you should be referencing your brand messaging strategy as a reminder of who your stakeholders are, what they care about and how you should be communicating for maximum impact. Similarly, anyone outside of your department or even outside of your organization, like a freelancer or independent contractor, should also be able to reference it for a clear understanding of your brand messaging.

When everyone from your leadership and board to your staff members has clear direction about your organization’s brand messaging, you’re strengthening your brand image through every interaction a person has with your nonprofit.

Consistency and Resonance

Your brand messaging strategy creates alignment in the way everyone within your organization communicates about your brand, and this consistency helps build trust. Trust from your supporters, your community and the people you serve. At the same time, your communications also become much more resonate because your brand messaging strategy identifies your nonprofit’s stakeholders, your organization’s unique value proposition and then the messaging those audiences need to hear to get on board with your mission.

Impact

All of these elements, from the direction of your nonprofit’s brand strategy, to the consistency and clarity of your materials to the resonance of your messaging leads to stronger communications and brand impact. Ultimately, your nonprofit’s brand messaging should serve as the key for unlocking your organization’s vision, mission and values for your stakeholders. And, with these elements clearly spelled out, your marketing activities can become a powerful force for advancing your mission.

The Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto

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Want more thoughts on evolving nonprofit marketing and communications for the sake of social impact? Read our Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto.

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