Nonprofit Marketing Commitment #3: We Will Build Cohesion Internally and Communicate With Consistency Externally

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Your staff, board members and volunteers are your best brand ambassadors. Are they presenting a consistent, yet personalized message about what your nonprofit does and why it matters?

If not, it’s time to make Commitment #3 in the Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto, which says:

We will recognize that to advance our mission we must build trust, and that to build trust, there must be consistency between how we see ourselves internally, how we act, and how we represent ourselves externally.

We recognize that our organizations cannot achieve their full potential for mission impact if our internal stakeholders present an inconsistent image of who we are and what we stand for. But this does not mean we will force our brand identity and image on our staff or other stakeholders. We will not turn them into robots, parroting the same key messages in the same way over and over again. Instead, we will make the development of our brands a participatory process, giving our internal stakeholders a role in shaping our brands and the license to personalize the way they represent our organizations within a set of guideposts that ensure consistency and cohesion.

Your staff, board members and volunteers are your best brand ambassadors. Are they presenting a consistent, yet personalized message about what your nonprofit does and why it matters? Click To Tweet

What do we mean by cohesion and consistency?

Cohesion is an internal characteristic. It means that your internal stakeholders (staff, board, and volunteers, etc.) are all operating from the same basic understanding of what your organization does, why it matters and how their role contributes to the broader mission.

Consistency is an external characteristic. It means that all communications touchpoints your organization puts out into the world, from a brochure to a conversation with a donor, tell the same overarching story and link back to the same overarching ideas and messages.

You can’t have consistency without first building cohesion, and to achieve both, you’ll need to focus on the fostering the following characteristics at your organization, as outlined in Nathalie Laidler-Kylander and Julia Shepard Stenzel’s seminal text, The Brand IDEA:

  • Integrity:  alignment between how your organization sees itself internally, how you act, and how you represent yourself externally.
  • Democracy: engagement of all internal stakeholders in both the development of your organization’s brand identity and the articulation of that identity.
  • Ethics: the brand itself and the way it is deployed reflect the core values of the organization.

In our next webinar, we’ll unpack the principles of brand integrity, democracy and ethics and show you exactly how they can improve communications cohesion and consistency at your nonprofit.

Then, I’ll talk with a nonprofit leader who is in the midst of her own effort to foster more communications cohesion, consistency and mission impact, Valentina T. Parissi at The Great Books Foundation.

Valentina will share how a recent brand refresh prompted the Great Books Foundation to have important conversations with internal stakeholders that led to improved brand integrity, democracy and ethics. Then, she’ll share what her organization is doing currently to foster a greater level of cohesion and consistency as their programs and services continue to evolve rapidly.

Register for the webinar on March 6th here. You can catch the first three webinars in the series here.

Register for the Full Series

March’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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