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How to Start Your Nonprofit’s Branding

March 19, 2021

The concept of ‘branding’ can be vague and intimidating to approach, especially for a nonprofit spending most of its time working hard on its mission. Yet, the relevance of branding in market strategies is insurmountable. Brand identities help establish organizations as leaders in their field who are dedicated to their customers.

In this article, we’ll explain more about what branding can do for you, and provide tips for you and your nonprofit to get started with brand image.

What is Branding, and Why Does it Matter?

The presence of a strong, clear brand has never been more necessary for organizations than in today’s fast-paced, digital environment. You may be wondering… what actually is “branding”? Great question! To answer, let’s first go over a few things that a brand isn’t:

  • Branding is not just a logo and fun colors you love
  • Branding is not just your mission statement
  • Branding is not just about what to post on Facebook

Branding affects how a donor or those you serve feel about your brand. It concerns itself with the fonts, colors, and design that catches people’s eye. With the right combination of branding and marketing, you can truly change the world.

How to Start your Nonprofit’s Branding 

Step #1: Find Your Audience

The first step in building your brand is understanding who you want your audience to be. Looking at gender, race, geography, socio-economic backgrounds, behaviors, and interests are just a few ways to help narrow down your target market. A brand needs to have a compelling voice, something that can only be achieved when you know who you’re talking to. 

It can be helpful to take record of who makes up your current donor and recipient populations. Or, perhaps you should look at a new population if you see new trends for your organization. Once you do this, you can start to get a grasp of what personalities you want your brand to embody.

Step #2: Research Similar Organization

As a nonprofit, you might have avoided studying the competition. However, it’s always helpful to research similar organizations in order to find out what works, what doesn’t, and what gaps your nonprofit can fill. 

Take a look at the online content of organizations that are similar in geography, industry, demographics, or platform choice. Be sure to get as much detail as possible, such as how many posts they make a day, or the general attitudes people have toward their posts. You can use third-party tools like BuzzSumo to see what popular content to look for and study.

Step #3: Create Accounts and Stay Active on Social Media

Now that you’ve researched the market you want to enter, figure out what social media platforms you wish to utilize. Keep in mind, every platform will sway to different types of people, so be sure to research which network will best target your audience. 

Once the accounts are created, be sure to keep a consistent posting schedule. Brands aim to be repetitive in order to cement their missions into their audience’s mind. Thus, try to stay in your audience’s feed. It may be easier to start off with about 2 posts a week, and then ramp it up once you get the hang of it. 

Your posts should be clear, consistent, and relevant. But we could go on and on about your content.

Step #4: Provide Key Insights

One of the biggest characteristics of a good brand is trust. When people feel like they are receiving value from your brand, and not just junk, they will want to reciprocate with their support. Build a fruitful relationship by providing key insights into your industry events, news, and updates. 

Be honest, be transparent, and be informative. Helping your audience reach their goals should be priority number one. 

Brand marketing can be a difficult task for nonprofits of all shapes and sizes. Once you get started, however, you will be able to reap the rewards. 



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