Create Your Non-Profit Brand and Image as early as possible
Tip: Plan your non-profits image even before you start to promote your cause.

If you are a new non-profit just getting started it will not take very long for you to discover that there are thousands of non-profits in your local area which are competing for the same fundraising dollars that you would like to receive in order to support your cause.

Brand names are the first thing that come to mind when a consumer is considering making a purchase or donation to support a local fundraising campaign. This holds true in your immediate market and is just as important when you plan to enter an adjacent markets. Many non-profits have a very short shelf life because they never achieve a recognizable brand name and no one cared to support an organization that they had not heard of or a cause that they may not understand or believe in. In short it is your job to continuously promote your organization and spread awareness about your cause - all of the time...

It is interesting to study non-profits and to understand how successful non-profits market their causes and promote awareness in many different marketing formats which affords them almost universal awareness and allows them to raise adequate funds to support their long term goals.

I am sure that it was never your vision for your non-profit to have to build a brand and spend the majority of your time to educate the public about why they should donate and help you to reach your goals. However, there are only so many donation dollars that are available and you are going up against larger non-profits which have had years to formulate their systems and to build a good reputation with their donor base. 

Do not make the mistake of thinking that your brand will happen in due course.

While you’re partly right that brand image takes time to build and there is lot of hard work to do, but you must begin much earlier than you are thinking if you are a new non-profit. Acquiring brand image requires that your donors begin to think you as soon as you enter the market. So here are some basics to know to plan for branding your non-profit:

1. Donors form an opinion of your non-profit and it's products as soon as you have entered the market. So be careful about your message, presentation and promises. Make sure that you are going to use the funds for exactly the reason that you requested the donation. Be sure to be 100% accountable with your tracking and accounting. 

2. Communicate and share with your marketing and sales professionals the particular long term image you want to create for your non-profit.  Make them your ambassadors in helping you create the exact brand image you want to convey to your donors. 

3. Your non-profit brand and image is your unique selling proposition - USP. How is your non-profit different from your other non-profits who are operating in the same industry?  Why should donors donate to you instead of another non-profit?  How do you treat them before, during and after they make a donation? Be sure that your non-profit is distinct and that the quality of your organization is distinguishable from other non-profits in the market.

4. Creating a proper non-profit brand is like planning a cross country trip.  You must know, when you want to go? What do you want to do? Where do you want to go and how will you get there?

Proper planning and promotion will create a winning strategy that will serve your non-profit!

To your successes,

Chris Manning, CEO
Community Fundraising Books
by Americana Ventures, LLC

Bio: Chris Manning is the CEO of Americana Ventures, LLC. He administers the Community Fundraising Book programs across metro Atlanta Georgia which were designed to help churches, non-profits, schools, clubs, and youth groups to raise critical funds to support their programs year round.

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