Reasons nonprofits may be ripe for a rebrand
For over 15 years, we’ve focused on strategic marketing and communications for nonprofit organizations. In this time, we’ve helped multiple organizations navigate one of the most challenging projects: rebranding. Moreover, we’ve learned that when it comes to nonprofits, strategic rebrands can be crucial to organizational mission and reach.
According to a survey by Nonprofit PRO, a whopping 93% of nonprofits believe that a robust brand identity positively impacts donor engagement. There’s a reason for this: a brand is not just a logo; it’s a connection point that influences how supporters engage with your cause. Furthermore, authenticity matters to donors. In fact, 67% state that a clear, authentic brand message is extremely important to them.
This highlights the crucial role of genuine, transparent communication in building and retaining donor trust. Let’s zoom out for a results-oriented picture: among nonprofits that undertook a rebranding journey in the last year, 57% have reported a notable increase in revenue! Ultimately, a strategic refresh doesn’t just attract attention; it drives tangible financial results.
But what exactly is a brand?
At its core, a brand is the sum total of how individuals perceive and experience your organization. Branding is the art of shaping those perceptions intentionally. It involves crafting a cohesive message, strategic positioning, distinctive logos, captivating visuals and memorable experiences. Effective branding establishes a unique identity that resonates with your audience, or what we at Fervor call your Ideal Advocates, setting your nonprofit apart from the crowd.
Rebranding, in essence, is the process of changing some or all aspects of your organization’s image. It’s not merely about updating a logo; it’s a strategic endeavor to redefine and enhance how your nonprofit is seen and described. While it may seem daunting, costly and even cause emotional distress for legacy stakeholders, strategic rebranding can expand your organization’s reach and drive your mission forward! Let’s dive into the world of rebranding and explore the top reasons why it can be a game-changer for your organization.
6 reasons for a nonprofit rebrand
1. Negative perceptions
If your nonprofit is grappling with negative perceptions, whether arising from internal challenges or external misunderstandings, a rebrand presents a powerful opportunity for rejuvenation. It goes beyond a cosmetic facelift; it’s a chance to address misconceptions head-on, communicate transformative changes and present a revitalized image that authentically aligns with your mission and values. A well-executed rebrand can effectively rebuild trust, restore credibility and signal a fresh start, fostering a renewed sense of confidence among stakeholders.
2. Significant changes
Significant changes, like embracing a new mission, undergoing a merger or adapting a new operational model, necessitate a strategic response. Rebranding ensures that your brand seamlessly reflects the current and future state of your nonprofit, keeping Ideal Advocates informed and engaged. This process becomes a part of the narrative of your organization’s evolution. You seem (and are!) adaptable and mission-forward.
3. Growth limitations
Many nonprofits begin as community efforts, church outreach programs or a handful of neighbors who want to take action toward positive change. As such, the brand is often tied to one function or location. As these organizations grow, their brands may unintentionally limit their potential impact. Rebranding is the catalyst for shedding geographical constraints, enhancing shareability and communicating the expansive scope of your operations. It is the tool that transforms your image into one that is accessible and aligned with your ambitious growth objectives.
4. An “inside-outside problem”
When external perceptions deviate from the internal reality of your nonprofit, confusion can set in. Rebranding becomes the bridge between these perspectives, ensuring that how your organization is perceived externally mirrors the authentic and impactful work happening within. It’s about harmonizing the outside with the inside, fostering a clearer understanding among stakeholders, and creating a unified and resonant brand image.
5. Target audience
As nonprofits evolve, so do their Ideal Advocates! If your nonprofit’s target audience is changing, or you’re defining it for the first time, rebranding tailors your image to effectively engage your supporters. It’s about crafting a brand identity that resonates with the evolving demographics, values and interests of your audience. A well-thought-out rebrand ensures that your nonprofit remains relevant and appealing to those more of the “right ones.”
6. To be found
In a crowded landscape of nonprofits, standing out is a strategic imperative. If your organization feels lost among competitors, a well-planned rebrand can bring your uniqueness to the forefront. A strategic rebrand unleashes you to tell your unique story! Use it to captivate attention, and make your nonprofit memorable and compelling to donors and supporters. Remember, rebranding isn’t just about visibility; it’s about setting your organization apart in the minds and hearts of your audience.
Example 1: Cross International
Cross International’s brand refresh focused on updates to style and color in order to broaden their reach to a new generation of Ideal Advocates.
Example 2: Outreach
Formerly Outreach Community Ministries, Outreach’s brand refresh sought to make sure their perception kept up with recent internal changes in values, as well as their expanding goals.
Example 3: Fully Alive
Fully Alive rebranded from Disciples Made to coalesce their public-facing image into their new, flagship offering, the Fully Alive discipleship app.
Rebranding is not a journey to be undertaken lightly and definitely not one to take repeatedly. You need a thorough, comprehensive and strategic rebranding process to establish an organizational brand that will flourish for decades to come. Beyond the visual transformation of a rebrand lies strategic decisions, audience considerations and the nuances of telling your (rebranded) story. The latter often includes thinking through mission and vision statements, crafting messaging, and making choices about a brand tone of voice, brand style and other details. Keeping these elements in play during your rebranding journey can be complex but is key to both captivating the right Ideal Advocates and setting the stage for growth and impact.
Does a rebrand feel right? Let’s talk!