When most of us think about “branding,” we envision big businesses with lots of departments – entire teams dedicated to marketing, social media, and public relations. We rarely feel like it applies to our comparatively tiny nonprofit organizations.
But even if we haven’t put any thought into our brand, we all have one. Left without attention, your brand will build itself – for better or for worse.
What does branding mean, exactly?
Put simply, your brand is how people think of you.
Do they see you as warriors for justice in your community?
Steady, practical purveyors of reliable information?
Creative, passionate advocates for the historically marginalized?
Ultimately, branding is storytelling. And we nonprofits love storytelling! Your visuals, messaging, and overall tone all work together to create a vibe that people will remember (or not remember) about your organization.
Here are six easy things you can do to firm up your brand right now.
1. Describe yourself
Start by brainstorming the words that describe your organization. Think about the services you provide and the kinds of emotions you want participants, volunteers, and supporters to feel.
Perhaps you provide healthcare services to your community, and you want them to see you as strong or reliable. Maybe you’re an advocacy organization, and you know that your team is passionate and committed.
2. Align your color palette
Every color can be associated with a certain set of emotions. Read up on the psychology of color, and think about your descriptive words. Reds and oranges, for example, are associated with passion and energy; blues and whites can give a sense of calm and stability.
Which color or colors represent the way you want people to feel about your organization?
3. Let your fonts speak for themselves
The fonts you choose can also inspire certain feelings in your audience. Like color psychology, font psychology is the study of typography and the emotions it can inspire.
Refer back to your descriptive words: as a healthcare organization, does it make sense to choose a font that resembles chalkboard writing or a child’s hand? As an active community center or afterschool program, do you feel more represented by a formal font, or an active, engaging one?
4. Clean up your logo
If you don’t already have a logo, consider working with a designer. Remember: your logo doesn’t have to be complicated! But it should work with – not against – your overall branding.If you do have a logo you love, you can make sure the fonts and colors on your website, social media, and other materials complement it.
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