Blog

The Three Cs of Building a Nonprofit Brand

In a recent webinar, we shared some simple tips for how to build a nonprofit brand that people love. We learned from participants what they are struggling with to compete in a noisy marketplace of ideas. The good (and bad!) news is that they are not alone.

In an increasingly-loud and crowded digital world, it can be difficult to capture the attention of your audiences. Creating a brand experience that is cohesive across all mediums is also a common problem when building a brand. More good news: this is something you can control! We call this the three Cs of building your brand.

Watch the webinar: Build a Nonprofit Brand that People Love

Consistency

There’s a common correlation across nonprofits brands that struggle with delivering a consistent message: they are often uncertain of their brand promise. A brand promise is the one thing that you can deliver every time someone interacts with your organization. Perhaps you always offer innovative solutions to a problem or maybe you provide action-oriented content. It is the one thing that makes your organization special. Being clear about your brand promise is important for every organization, from small organizations with a straightforward mission to organizations tackling big challenges across a variety of topics and program areas. Here are some things to ask as you think about tackling this underlying issue:

  • What is the one thing you can promise your audiences every time they interact with your organization?
  • Is this particular thing being communicated clearly across all your communications channels and branding?
  • What must happen to ensure you deliver on your brand promise?

Clarity

Often, mission-driven organizations can get so focused on describing what they do that they forget about the intended audience, who wants to know why they do what they do. We have found that jargon often gets in the way. To avoid this, craft messages that are easy to understand by building a language that removes jargon and is clear and accessible. A few questions to ask to determine if your message is clear:

  • Could anyone in your organization go to a family gathering and explain what your organization does?
  • Do you think their families would then be able to explain it to someone else?
  • Could a non-English speaker understand what it is you are trying to convey?

Learn more about being clear from Joey here.

Credibility

Your thought leaders are one of the most important assets of your organization. These are the individuals in your organization recognized as the authority on a topic or whose expertise is sought after. This could be your CEO, policy wonks, program managers, researchers, or anyone else who is an expert in your field of work. They are poised to help create content that positions you as the go-to place for your area of work. Using their expertise can help immediately position your organization as the authority on a topic and help cut through the noise. Here are a few questions to consider as you build your thought leadership efforts:

  • Who in your organization will make the biggest impression on your audiences?
  • Are your thought leaders speaking at conferences, events, or writing content that can be leveraged for use across your channels?
  • Are your experts already using social media and can you use these platforms to build brand championship across your digital properties?

Putting the Three Cs to Work at Your Organization

Consistency, clarity, and credibility are the foundation for cutting through the noise. If users can easily extract what you do and why it is important, they will be more likely to engage with your organization and your mission. Whether you are looking to influence policy, increase donations, or attract staff, the three Cs will help you get there more efficiently and effectively.

Download the “Nonprofit Brand Communications Guide"

To help you define and manage your brand’s message and promise, download our guide which includes activities to get started on these three Cs.