“Ask your donors, your investors, your volunteers what they think of the brand so you understand where you are. If you say ‘this is what the brand stands for’ and no one believes you, it’s not going to help.” – Rachel Hutchisson, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy, Blackbaud
Whether nonprofit or for-profit, every organization leader worries about putting too much of their brand’s viability in the hands of the public, afraid they will lose control. However, a brand isn’t strictly useful to people within the organization – the brand is what tells people on the outside what you’re all about. Rachel Hutchisson of Blackbaud discusses how letting your supporters and employees help define your brand can help you set stronger goals. She points out that people who are passionate about your brand will add huge value by articulating why it is that your organization is meaningful to them. Using this information can help find more passionate supporters like them. Rachel adds that organizations shouldn’t just create a brand for themselves, but instead create a brand that supporters can become involved and engaged with. While nonprofit and business branding are different, nonprofits should try to draw inspiration from businesses like Apple or Starbucks and try to make their brand a part of their supporters’ personal identities.
Rachel and Beth discuss:
- The rise of “skill-based” volunteerism and how nonprofits can use it
- Gathering employees and supporters who are emotionally engaged with your organization
- Narrowing your brand down to a specific promise people can rally around
- Advantages of asking your supporters why they are involved in your organization
- Examples of nonprofit and for-profit brands engaging their audience to define their brand
- Finding inspiration from other organization on how to shape your brand
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