Bring the Brand
Branding is a vital, yet often difficult to grasp, component to any nonprofit organization. Donors must know who you are and what you do in order to give. In a roundtable eChat, “Bring the Brand!” during the first-ever FundRaising Success Virtual Conference and Expo held on May 20 (and available on-demand until Aug. 24), Sarah Durham, founder and principal of Big Duck and author of “Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications,” answered attendees’ questions about branding.
Durham was joined by Maureen McFadden, former director of communications at the Women’s Sports Foundation, and Veronica Davey, senior vice president at NYC Charter School Center. Here are some highlights of the eChat.
Question: How do you brand a school when there are so many different attributes you want to crow about: arts, athletics, academics … many different constituencies and target audiences to try to engage?
Durham: Most orgs have complex missions/agendas. So the trick is often to boil it down to one big idea. I call it positioning.
When you think of Red Cross, you think “disaster relief,” right? So what do you want people to think of when they think of your school?
Durham: My advice to orgs who are getting started: Start by educating your leadership.
McFadden: By the time most organizations come to a real rebranding, they have a patchwork of looks and feels and messaging. In my experience both with the Women’s Sports Foundation and Legal Momentum, and recently the Everest Foundation Nepal, rebranding pulls together not just the look, feel and messaging, but tightens and focuses the mission, the internal work as well.
Q: So how do you go about it?
Durham: Most orgs I see have budgets too small for it to be a good ROI to create separate brands for separate audiences. Instead, try to create a “mother brand” that appeals to all if you can.