I was recently asked to participate in a conversation around the practice of branding in the charities sector. Though the article took an alternative direction, the original question that was posed was:
“How can small to medium-sized charities use branding to enhance their fundraising without being intimidated by the potential work or costs involved?”
Having recently worked in the charity sector several ideas came to my attention.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it
Charities inherently begin at an advantage. The fundraising process forces any applicant to reference mission statements and value propositions to validate their bid and, as a result, allows for a period of reflection to ensure the project follows the intended direction of the charity.
At this strategic level, the practice of branding can define processes which ensure the management of such projects, and the resulting interaction that users and internal employees have with these projects, are consistent with the brand throughout. After all, the brand must become a “living, breathing asset” if it is to have any significant effect.
Whilst a fundraising application forces a charity to assess whether their mission supports the aims of the project, the process of branding enables us to consider every step of the journey, ensuring a seamless experience for every participant, across every touch-point (digital or physical).
Furthermore, it opens up new revenue streams. By representing something ownable, a higher-level message that we’re all drawn to and passionate about, we may find ourselves supporting work in other sectors, or even other countries, that we’d never previously imagined.
Adopting the basics
Whilst there’s no substitute for experience, these basic principles and logical frameworks are something a company of any size can adopt.
Rather than only re-visiting these documents at the start of each project, be considerate and conscious of them in every decision you make. Take a few moments to consider the outcome you’re hoping to achieve and then plan towards it, involving everyone in the process. When the project concludes, re-visit them again and use them as basis for evaluating whether the project was successful or not. Often we get caught up in the numbers – who you are as a brand may alter your answer to the ‘what equals success’ equation.
Share the responsibility
Sound principles of branding can be adopted by anyone and charities shouldn’t be put off by the costs. Sometimes the biggest impact is created by making small changes and looking for avenues to partner with others is a sure fire way to increase productivity and encourage innovation. When individuals collaborate it motivates employees to focus on quality over quantity, leaving the management team to think more entrepreneurially about the long-term.Tweet This