2 min Read
October 1, 2015

Webinar: Building your foundation’s—and your Giving Day’s—brand

Big Duck

This post was originally published on September 22, 2015 on the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s blog.

Throughout the research Knight Foundation has done on Giving Days, one finding surfaces again and again: these online fundraising campaigns help the community foundations that organize them raise their own profiles, and increase awareness of the roles they play in their cities.

Yet at the same time, many of the foundations don’t have a branding strategy in place to help them fully leverage the added boost of an attention-getting Giving Day.

Last week, Knight Foundation invited brand strategist Sarah Durham of Big Duck to provide tips on putting that kind of strategy in place, and implementing it in Giving Day campaigns. You can listen to the recording above, and read through a few key take-aways below from the presentation:

  1. Giving Day brands should connect to the community foundation’s overall brand: Most Giving Days operate off a separate brand, but ideally they should be part of the same branded family, Durham said. You can do this by having them share similar logos, fonts and colors. You can also connect with the name, as other non-profits have done. The March of Dimes, for example, now calls its walk-a-thons the “March to Help Babies” as a way to connect the brand to the event.
  2. Extend the community foundation’s brand by find ways to connect Giving Day participants to the foundation: “Often times in marketing, we tend to think about just getting people to show up. If we get enough people to show up, it’s successful,” Durham said. But organizers should be planning for ways to educate participants about the foundation behind the event. If there are in-person events, make sure a speaker can talk about the foundation, and provide a call to action. If it’s virtual, use the captured emails to follow up quickly with a communication that helps connect participants to the organizers.
  3. Your brand is more than your logo: In fact, your brand is everything that affects how the public perceives you. To get there, nonprofits need to look at both their positioning, or the big idea that makes you unique, and your personality, or the tone and style you want to be associated with. Positioning + personality = your branding strategy, Durham said. In the webinar, Durham provides more details on how to define your brand.
  4. Don’t change your brand on a whim: “The only reason to change your brand is if there is evidence it doesn’t work,” Durham said. Nonprofits already have to struggle to cut through the clutter and be heard. You may need a refresh instead of a wholesale overhaul.

There are many more insights in the webinar. If you’re a Giving Day organizer and have more information to share a question for others in the field, join the Knight Foundation’s Facebook group, the Giving Day Exchange.