Creating a straightforward and individual brand is one of the most influential ways to drive the effectiveness of your organization. The messages that come to mind when individuals think of your organization are strong indicators of how focused your organization may be. What is your organization’s value, and why should people care?
For the February edition of our Best Practice Network Webinar Series, we talked with Jocelyne Daw, co-author of Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results about the importance of creating a clear brand value for your organization and how it is fundamental to attracting and maintaining volunteers.
Insights from Jocelyne
The Importance of Branding
Jocelyne’s book was coined around the question of what nonprofits can do to be most effective. She interviewed several nonprofits that ranged in sizes to see who was great at having a clearly branded message. When people were questioned about what the most effective brand stands for, everyone said something similar, because the brand image was clearly defined. According to Jocelyne, this is the best way to drive your organization’s mission.
What Do You Stand For?
When creating a brand, it is most important to have a clear focus for your organization. What do you stand for? Jocelyne provided key insight that exemplified that it’s more than just your mission statement: “…brand is a set of expectations and beliefs the marketplace has about you.” What does your organization do better than anyone else? In her book she identifies 7 principles that help achieve this focus.
Discover Your Brand Value Proposition
In my opinion, the most shocking and noteworthy thing Jocelyne said was that no one really cares about your organization; they care about the difference you are making towards your cause. If your organization can embody this shift that says, “It’s really more about you then it is about me,” it will help drive the success of your brand and its value.
Three tips to creating a unifying system to discover this brand value are: convince the head, touch the heart and engage the hands. Your brand should be built from the inside out, which may require the need for introspection and re-branding down the line. To create a successful brand value or re-branding (if necessary), organizations must start by engaging employees from within.
What if your organization focuses on multiple issues? How do you then create a driven focus to strengthen your branding? Great feedback from Jocelyne concerning this question suggested refocusing on each issue that your organization may be addressing. Does each one of these issues really embody everything you do and everything you are about? If not, then get rid of the areas that are less relevant to your main focus, or try to generate a main theme that can tie in all your issues.
Size of your Organization
Does the size of your organization matter? According to Jocelyne the size of your organization isn’t as important as the awareness you are creating around your cause. Just because your brand is well known does not mean you have a strong brand image. A great example of this is the organization UNICEF. They went through a rebranding because they found that when asking people about what their organization stands for, the messaging was all over the board. With a successful rebrand, their message to save children’s lives from preventable causes is clearly defined. Once they rebranded themselves, their organization became much stronger and more influential.
What does it mean to be a brand champion? What characteristics do they need to have? An excellent brand champion is someone who is able to connect with individual values and help the organization do the same. It’s important to help create an organization that is donor and volunteer centered. Often it can be effective to utilize a brand champion to help connect your donors with the individuals they are helping. This helps you to create a unified and clear brand.
Want to learn more about creating a clear nonprofit brand? View the full recorded webinar here, and check out VolunteerMatch’s twitter feed @VM_Solutions using the hashtag #VMbpn.
Photo by fostersartofchilling.
Carley Klekas is an intern at VolunteerMatch. You can reach her at @theearthygal or firstname.lastname@example.org.