Nonprofit Marketing Commitment #2: We Will Develop a Strong Brand Image and Identity in Alignment With Our Mission and Values

4 min read

Your brand is the key that unlocks your mission and vision for your stakeholders. Are you treating it that way?

If not, it’s time to make Commitment #2 in the Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto, which says:

We will develop a strong brand image and identity in alignment with our mission and values.

We will stop making our nonprofit status an excuse for our weak, unrecognizable and unremarkable brands.

In fact, we’ll start believing, and acting on the belief, that our brands should be among the most revered brands in the world, mentioned in the same breath as Amazon, Tesla, Google and Apple. Their budgets may be greater than ours, but our aims are far higher, and our value to society is far greater. We will start from within. We will develop an internal sense of brand identity rooted in our mission and values. Then, we will evolve our internal brand identity into a powerful external brand image. The visuals, words and feelings we use to represent our organizations will be the most concise, compelling and readily understood encapsulation of our mission and values available to us, and we will commit to strengthening our brand image through every interaction.

Until the commitment to developing a strong brand is made at every level of your organization, your brand has the potential to do more harm than good.

That’s exactly what Erin Walton found out when she took on a new role as the Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), a nonprofit dedicated to the healing and empowerment of sexual assault survivors through non-judgmental crisis intervention counseling, individual and group trauma therapy, and medical and legal advocacy.

During an interview for the Executive Director role, Erin used the word “victim” to describe the clients the organization serves, and she was quickly corrected by a board member who told her that they preferred to refer to their clients as survivors, not victims.

“That’s problematic,” Erin said, “because victim is in the name.”

As it turned out, victim wasn’t the only problematic word in the RVA’s name. The word “rape” as also blocking the organization from expanding its mission and operations into important centers of influence like schools and workplaces. And even the term “advocates” created issues because it only described one part of the organization’s three-pronged mission. The visual identity and messaging that went along with the name were similarly limiting. Erin realized it was time for a change, and made an organizational rebrand one of her first priorities as Executive Director.

If you’re interested in learning more about what happened next, you’re in luck, because Erin is our guest for the next webinar in our 13-part series with Independent Sector, which is scheduled for February 6th, 2019 at pm ET. Register here. You can catch the first two webinars in the series here.

During this webinar, we’ll unpack the second commitment in the Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto with Erin and learn more about how a rebrand brought her organization’s image and identity into alignment with its mission and values. Erin will share a behind-the-scenes look at the process of evolving her organization’s name, messaging, and look, and tell you more about the challenges associated with getting internal stakeholders on board, landing on a new name, rolling out the new brand and restructuring marketing to sync up with it. She’ll also share the many ways her organization’s mission impact has grown since relaunching under a new brand.

Then, we’ll discuss how you can evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s brand, and what you should do if it’s time for a change. We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A, so come with your questions for Erin and I.

Whether you’re considering rebranding or simply want to learn more about the role your nonprofit’s brand should play in advancing your mission, this webinar is for you.

Learn more and Register for the webinar here.

Register for the Full Series

February’s webinar is one of a series of 13 hosted by Prosper Strategies and Independent Sector over the course of 2019 centered around the 10 commitments in the Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto. See the full schedule here and check “sign up for all webinars” if you want to automatically be registered for all sessions.


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