Branding is so important for any organization whether non-profit or for-profit. It plays a huge role in bringing cohesion in the company, forming a sense of identity, and building trust with donors or customers.
Of course branding is more than your logo or your tagline, it is your identity and who you are as an organization. I worked recently with River City Hope Street to develop some marketing literature that reflects their brand accurately. Our main goal was to bring unity throughout all their different aspects of their ministry and teach their volunteers and supports about all the different aspects of what the organization does. Basically to bring cohesion and build community through identity.
The result of alignment in mission, values, identity, and image is a clear brand positioning and increased cohesion among diverse internal constituencies. When an organization’s employees and volunteers all embrace a common brand identity, it creates organizational cohesion, concentrates focus, and reinforces shared values. As Marcia Marsh, chief operating officer of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the United States puts it: “Our brand is the single greatest asset that our network has, and it’s what keeps everyone together.” The result of this alignment and clarity in positioning is greater trust between the nonprofit and its partners, beneficiaries, participants, and donors. Because nonprofit organizations rely on establishing trust with many external audiences, doing what you say you do and being who you say you are is crucial.
Strong cohesion and high levels of trust contribute to greater organizational capacity and social impact. A cohesive organization is able to make more efficient and focused use of existing resources, and high external trust attracts additional talent, financing, and authority. This increase in organizational capacity enhances an organization’s social impact. By leveraging the trust of partners, beneficiaries, and policymakers, an organization can make greater strides toward achieving its mission. On the flip side, those organizations that face challenges in terms of internal organizational coherence, or the erosion of trust held by external constituencies (either because of scandals or misperceptions), struggle to build organizational capacity and impact.
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