1 min Read
September 24, 2015

How rebranding impacts nonprofits

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at New York Nonprofit Media’s Nonprofit Marketing Conference (MarkCon). Before a crowd of hundreds of nonprofiteers, Neill Bogan, Director of Development and Communications at New York Common Pantry, Aaron Charlop-Powers, Director of External Relations at Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners, and Mohan Sivaloganathan, Chief Development Officer at Sheltering Arms, and I explored the connections between rebranding and fundraising, recruitment, activism, and more.

Here are some of the highlights of our discussion:

  • Most nonprofits see positive benefits of rebranding within two years. (The Rebrand Effect)
  • Branding shouldn’t lead or precede a strategic plan. Branding should follow and articulate it.
  • Is your name out of sync with what you do nowadays? Whether you work in a different area or provide different services, having an outdated name can be a trigger for rebranding.
  • The key to a successful rebrand is not just launching a great new brand, but living and breathing it. If you’re saying you’re transformative, you should be transformative.
  • Ideally, your rebrand will put you in a position to make tangible & emotional connections with your our supporters.
  • Rebranding not only makes you look good on the outside, but can help strengthen your organization on the inside. In fact, some argue that the #1 audience to prioritize in your nonprofit rebrand is staff. Involve your team from the beginning and make them proud to represent you.
  • Rebranding is an ongoing process. Launching your new name, logo, tagline, messages, or other significant changes is just the first step. Use every chance you have to communicate with your community as a chance to introduce or reinforce your brand strategy.
  • Rebranding is not a panacea. It won’t fix internal communication problems, lack of budget/time, murky organizational structure, or fuzzy fundraising strategy.

You can view the presentation recording here. And if you are thinking about changing your organization’s brand, here are some resources to help you decide if it is time to rebrand.

Have you rebranded recently? What results has your nonprofit seen? Share your results or pose your questions in the comments below.