Toronto, Ontario Canada (PressExposure) January 24, 2012 -- Fundraising4change understands that there has been an ongoing debate as to whether branding is useful non-profitable organisation. Many people argue that a non-profitable organisation has more important things to worry about than creating a brand, and that it's best to wait until you are established before branding yourself. On the other hand, many are of the opinion that you will never be able to establish yourself and become successful unless you invest in branding, that is to ensure that your vision and purpose are evident. Surely it is vital to a non-profitable organisation to have a brand that tells the world what they believe in what they have achieved and what they are aiming for.
Fundraising4change asks: what is the right answer:
Is branding necessary for the success of your non-profitable organisation, or is it a waste of your time and money?
Firstly Fundraising4change needed to understand what branded actually meant, and have settled on these two definitions or explanations:
"A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer"
Fundraising4change interpret this to mean, any perceptions, memories, images, or ideas that your consumers have about your non-profitable organisation, that's your brand. Think about apple -New, Contemporary, Modern, Crisp, Clear, And Simple, that's what their brand demonstrates. Microsoft on the other hand has a geeky and corporate brand.
Branding, while similar to 'brand' is a slightly different thing. Branding is an action. This is a subtle distinction, but we think it's rather important for charities. Branding is the act of building positive perceptions in the mind of your consumers. Branding is what happens when you're out at a trade show and have big signs. Branding is buying an ad with your picture or logo on it so people will see your charity. Corporate sponsorship = branding.
Fundraising4change realises that if you're in non-profitable organisation, there are some reasons you shouldn't spend time or money branding.
The first is argument against branding is simple-it costs too much. Both time and money are at a premium in non-profitable organisations, and since there isn't much of either, what you have shouldn't be wasted on things that don't have a direct return on investment. Income is king, and everything you spend should bring in more money to help the charity.
The second major argument says that non-profitable organisation can't have brands. The logic goes as follows: in order to have a brand people need to see your logo and remember you. Big businesses spend millions of dollars so they will be remembered, but what chance is there that a non-profitable organisation can ever have their image stick in the mind of the consumers?
Fundraising4change doesn't think that the second argument against branding hold much ground in, since the solution is pretty simple. Smaller charity, smaller budget, smaller brand. You might not ever be remembered by the whole of Canada, but you can probably get your image to stick in a 5 mile radius around your non-profitable organisation, or in your local networking groups.
Fundraising4change looks at the opposing view point that Branding is essential for a non-profitable organisation
There may be several arguments against branding a small business, but there are an equal number of counter arguments. The first pro-branding argument is the obvious one: branding doesn't have cost that much. There are many ways to put your image out into the community without spending a lot of money.
The second argument says that to avoid branding and focus only on new donors is taking very short term view of your non-profitable organisation. Branding is a long term process, and having a good brand at the start will help create a solid message for you into the future. Starbucks started as a single shop and built their whole company on a fabulous brand.
Fundraising4change looks at the final argument for branding a non-profitable organisation that is having a professionally designed brand will show that you're, well, a professional. Credibility is the key to attracting new donors, and by having a poor or non-existent brand you will be throwing away your money, even if it is spent on "direct income generation".
After looking into the two opposing arguments for or against branding, fundraising4change agrees that, there are a lot of important things to consider with non-profitable organisations, and agree whole-heartedly with many of the anti-branding arguments. Especially having seen so many small charities spend so much time and money branding that they slowly withered away and died. However ignoring something as big as how you're non-profitable organisation looks and how people perceive it is a big mistake.
Time and money are clearly critical to non-profitable organisations and spending all, or even most of it, on branding will be a poor decision. Creating an impressive band however, will build immediate credibility for your charity and can boost the amount of new donors from all of your other activities. So in conclusion fundraising4change recommends spending enough time or money to create a professional and credible brand, but not spending much on "branding-only campaigns" until your charity can really afford to.
Therefore it makes sense to understand that branding is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as a truly amazing cause which they wish to support.
The objectives that a good brand will achieve include:
Delivers the message clearly
Confirms your credibility
Connects your target prospects emotionally
Motivates the buyer
Concretes User Loyalty
To succeed in branding you must understand the needs and wants of your customers and prospects. You do this by integrating your brand strategies through your charity at every point of public contact. Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot. And so it would seem a strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It's important to spend time investing in researching, defining, and building your brand. After all you're entire brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It's a foundational piece in your marketing communication and one you do not want to be without.Fundraising4change hopes this information will help you invest the appropriate amount of time and money in producing a credible brand for your non-profitable organisation.