Turning Blah Into Bang

Nonprofit branding is tricky. Nothing about it is easy.

There’s an assumption that what a nonprofit does and what it stands for is self-evident. It’s the old “if we’re good they will come.”

Many brand descriptions sound the same.

We inspire, support, inform, listen to and collaborate with people and organizations to build a more connected, inclusive, and equitable community.

But what does that really mean? Who do you inspire and inform? What is it you actually do? What is your higher purpose?  Why is your mission important and why should I support you?

Nonprofit branding is the way an organization tells us who they are and why we should care. It’s a promise of benefit to participants, partners, and supporters and puts a stake in the ground for support and engagement.

What if your brand narrative were to read something like these?

Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice.

charity:water is a nonprofit organization bringing clean and safe water to people around the world.

Bright Pink helps to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering women to know their risks and manage their health proactively.

Team Rubicon Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

What I admire about all of these nonprofit brands is that they get right to the heart of the matter. Their powerful, spare sentences tell us what each organization stands for, what its purpose is, who it serves, and the impact it offers. Each is pithy, memorable, and galvanizing.

You don’t have to read between the lines to be inspired and take action.

It’s all right there.