5 Tips to Refresh Your Nonprofit's Brand in 2020
Branding is critical for any nonprofit — research has shown that when branding demonstrates a nonprofit's value, it drives donations, volunteers and recommendations.
For nonprofits that feel restricted by their branding, a brand refresh can be a powerful tool to indicate a new direction or approach — or just breathe new life into the brand.
There are many cases where a brand refresh is a great idea, or even almost necessary — when a nonprofit's mission has shifted, its name has changed or when it's experiencing significant structural reorganization. Almost any nonprofit, however, can benefit from a brand refresh that clarifies the nonprofit's mission and goals.
Here are five tips that you can use to refresh your nonprofit's brand in 2020.
1. Start With Research
Before any work on the rebrand has started, you should know what people think about your nonprofit's brand right now. An effective brand refresh will sharpen the best parts of a nonprofit's branding. The refresh shouldn't be a move in the complete opposite direction, but will instead reflect the growth that your nonprofit has experienced and its changing role within the community.
The refresh should build on the positive associations and feelings that people already feel about your brand. It can also be an opportunity to drop the things that aren't working and may be confusing your message.
Before you clean house, however, be sure to know what elements people like. Otherwise, you could risk throwing out the most distinctive, recognizable or impactful elements of your nonprofit's branding and sense of style.
2. Rebuild (or Rethink) Community Partnerships
A brand refresh will work best when it comes paired with real-life changes that underscore and reinforce what your new branding is trying to say.
That makes a refresh a great opportunity to take stock of existing community partnerships and relationships — and a chance to begin building new ones.
Communicate and reposition your nonprofit in the community. If your nonprofit has drifted away from other organizations — or you feel like some of the relationships you've invested in are no longer working — a brand refresh can be a chance to rebuild communications or pivot away from certain organizations.
3. Host an Event
Your nonprofit's brand refresh should be announced — otherwise, you risk letting the changes your nonprofit is making go unnoticed.
Publishing a well-written press release and hosting an event will announce your brand's refresh and help you avoid the risk that big changes to your nonprofit's brand aren't picked up on, and give you more control over what people will take away from your refresh.
An event will also help you get in touch with other organizations and community members that you want to keep updated or build stronger relationships with.
4. Update Your Info
With the sheer amount of data spread across the internet, it's not hard for outdated information about your nonprofit to stick around. Unless notified, online lists, catalogs and nonprofit reporting services will continue to use old logos, names and contact info that can give people an outdated impression about your nonprofit or make you harder to reach.
A brand refresh presents an opportunity to fully update online info about your nonprofit.
Make sure that all critical information about your nonprofit is kept updated — especially with services that other websites pull from, like GuideStar. Many services will allow you to update your nonprofit's name, even if the IRS hasn't been notified of the change yet.
Be sure to keep tabs of what websites and reporting services list your nonprofit, as well as what you can do to keep your information updated and consistent.
5. Refresh Your Social Media
A well-maintained social media presence can be a powerful tool for nonprofits — 29% of donors say that social media is the main tool that inspires them to give.
During a refresh, you and your team will need to go through all of your social media profiles, updating names, headers, profile pictures to keep them accurate with your new, refreshed branding. As a result, a brand refresh can also give you a chance to rethink how you're using social media.
In most cases, this means consolidating social media profiles, especially if resources are tight, and evaluating how social media has contributed to your brand — or not.
For example, if your nonprofit's Instagram is not delivering good results or connecting you to the community, despite your best efforts, a brand refresh can be a good time to reconsider how you're using that platform. The refresh can also give you the opportunity to rethink how you're managing your social media profiles, and even bring in new tech that lets you mass update social media and manage multiple accounts from the same place.
Organizing a Successful Nonprofit Brand Refresh
A brand refresh, when used well, can be a powerful way to breathe new life into a nonprofit's branding.
There are a few different tips any nonprofit can use to help ensure the success of a brand refresh. With a brand refresh, nonprofits should be sure that their branding is updated everywhere online and that they take the chance to strengthen old partnerships or forge new ones. Nonprofits should also try to make a brand refresh an event. Otherwise, you risk big changes going unnoticed.