How to leverage your nonprofit’s brand for better fundraising results.

By Kyle Schnurbusch, Strategy Director

Your nonprofit’s brand is more than just a logo, name or slogan. It’s an expression of your organization’s values, mission and the causes you support. A strong brand can be a powerful tool to reach donors and build loyalty with current supporters. Investing in developing your nonprofit’s brand can increase visibility and help you meet your fundraising goals.

As 2023 begins, use the following assessment questions and considerations to ensure your nonprofit’s brand is ready to support your fundraising initiatives ahead.

Do your current donors know your brand’s purpose in the world? 

When annual fundraising goals are on the line, it can be difficult to slow down fundraising activities to ensure outreach communications are on-brand and clear to donors. However, the discipline to regularly gauge your donors’ interest, perceptions and knowledge of your organization can influence more fundraising success in the long run.

A donor survey is a great way to uncover insights into your donor’s knowledge and interest in your organization. Questions might be:

What aspects of our mission are most important to you?
What do you hope for in our future?
Why do you support our mission?
What do you tell others about our organization?

When assessing responses, analyze the results based on your annual case for support and the information within donor personas you typically use in your everyday outreach to see how they compare. The insights gathered in the survey can expose messaging opportunities that bridge knowledge gaps.

Remember, even the most loyal donors are busy and constantly bombarded with communications from other organizations, so it’s never a waste of time to reach out to your donors to keep them connected while inspiring more purposeful communications.

Are your donor messages inclusive of your brand’s values?

If you’ve created unique messages for different donor types, take time to review your messaging alongside donor personas to ensure your brand values are represented and aligned with the intended recipient.

If your organization hasn’t developed donor personas that highlight shared values, use these steps:

1. Create a donor survey to obtain insights into what aspects of your organization interest and inspire them. Incorporate your values (4 to 5) into answer options and have them rank the statements from highest to lowest priority. Ask donors to provide a rationale for their ranking as well.

2. Using the responses, group your donors based on their top ranking. Once grouped, look for commonalities they share like other known interests, preferred channels of engagement and support behaviors.

3. Using the values shared and corresponding psychographic and behavioral information, develop 4-5 donor personas.

4. Use the personas to guide the construction of your individualized messaging within your different communications.

When your messaging clearly represents the values you share with your donors, connections are reaffirmed and fundraising success will happen.

Does your organizational culture align with your brand values? 

Creating a positive, productive culture for a nonprofit organization means aligning it with the values and vision of the brand. When these two elements are in sync, it can lead to increased engagement from both employees and donors, as well as improved decision-making and productivity.

To ensure that your culture is aligned with your brand values, organizations must integrate  brand values into everyday process frameworks and activities. Organizational leadership should encourage your team to live out these values in their daily activities, be it providing outstanding client service, embracing diversity and inclusion or partnering with others in the community—whatever best aligns with the values in place.

When a team is living out the organization’s values, everything is more connected and purposeful. A team will feel more inspired to advocate for your organization’s mission, and go above and beyond to ensure others surrounding your work, including donors and volunteers, are welcomed, appreciated and inspired to build on your mission.

Is your internal team prepared to be brand ambassadors? 

An important responsibility for anyone serving at a nonprofit is being a brand ambassador. Organizations that have team members who understand this responsibility and equip them with the tools to promote the brand are more effective marketers and are better fundraisers.

If your organization is just beginning to prioritize brand ambassadorship among team members, It is important to create clear expectations and objectives from the start. This could include determining the type of content they will be responsible for creating, as well as who should be responsible for creating it. It is also important to provide training on how to properly use the brand’s social media channels, as well as any additional resources they may need to create effective messages.

Additionally, your organization’s leadership should provide team members with a clear understanding of the company’s vision and mission. This will ensure that they are always on-brand when representing your organization. As part of their preparation, team members should be given access to the company’s brand guidelines, so they have the information to accurately represent your brand on hand.

Finally, it is essential to provide ongoing feedback and support for your brand ambassadors. Set quarterly check-ins with your team to determine what’s working well and where they might need more support.

When your team members become inspired brand ambassadors, you’ve multiplied the number of communicators and fundraisers at your organization that can amplify your fundraising success.

So, is your brand ready to fundraise in 2023?