Do You Need a Post-recession Turnaround?
It's been a tough few years for a lot of nonprofits. But with life returning to the economy and many fundraisers reporting improved numbers, maybe now is the time for your turnaround.
But know that there are some things you might be tempted to try that simply don't have the potential to create that big, positive change you need to get back in the game like you used to be.
A new brand won't turn you around
You may already have heard from brand gurus who tell you that a shiny, modern, new-and-improved brand is your golden ticket to a turnaround and a perpetually bright future. It's an exciting prospect: Throw out that old look you've grown so tired of! Replace your logo with something you'd be proud to show your pals! Get a whole new Visual Identity System that was developed by brand gurus who wear the coolest eyewear you've ever seen! Maybe even change your organization's name to something that sends shivers up and down your spine! A whole new generation of richer, cooler, smarter donors will flock to your cause when they see your new brand. It's a no-brainer!
Problem is, it won't do the trick.
If you are very, very lucky, the result of your new brand will be neutral. If you're like most nonprofits that do this, the new brand will unleash a revenue hit that's somewhere between painful and catastrophic, and lasts for years.
I know my predictions sound dire, but I've watched it happen too many times to harbor any illusions. It goes this way for two reasons:
1. Brand is not where the action is in fundraising. That is, brand — as defined by a set of logos, colors, fonts, slogans and other communications techniques — just doesn't make that much of a difference.