The Importance of Making Eye Contact
When that nonprofit makes eye contact with you through its well-designed branded materials, for instance, and you gain confidence that it is on the ball — not mired in bureaucracy — you become an advocate. That’s when you give — of your time, energy, enthusiasm and, yes, money.
When I work with nonprofits to help them create a more effective brand identity, I tell them fuzzy branding results in confusion, depression, slow progress and low funding. All the nonprofits I work with are on the right track in terms of their programming — they just don’t have their branding act together. So we enter a kind of virtual gymnasium together (with a good designer, writer) to build up their branding muscles.
For instance, do they have a mission that is memorable? So many NPOs have written-by-committee, compromised-language mission statements that are paragraphs long and unrepeatable. They tend to be prescriptive, limiting and complex. Together, we hone their mission down to seven pithy words — max — to answer the questions “What at the end of the day do we want to be remembered for?” “What is our purpose?” Everyone (including the board, especially the board) knows it. It is included on all important documents. It’s like a mantra.
Another typical problem: Does their name make sense? Recently an NPO came to me about wanting to go national, and as I spoke to caller on the phone I Googled the organization. No less than seven other nonprofits around the country had the same or a very similar name. Carnac says: I see a name change in your future.
The end result of the rebranding process for the nonprofit is a great brand identity, and it often makes a significant leap: greater effectiveness in achieving the mission — and in visibility, vitality, growth and support. And the sound of envelopes being opened, checks being written, is music to the ear.