Quick guide: branding your charity
You are likely to have a huge passion behind your charity's cause, but the process of making a name and cause into a brand can often be a daunting and complex one.
However, it is a stage that you don't want to rush; your charity brand will grow with your organisation and support the delivery of your goals, so it's worth taking the time to get it right. Here's a quick guide on how that can be achieved:
Make sure your brand is up-to-date with developments
It could be that your charity has changed a lot over the years – you may have merged, for example, or have a new strategy. Is your brand aligned with these changes? Gather your board of trustees and discuss your current brand. Just changing the key messages could help revamp your brand and give it a new lease of life.
Test the water
Before you launch, check how people perceive your brand. You could do this via focus groups with key supporters and free online surveys with to get a real idea of others' insights. Talk to opinion leaders from your charity's target audience and also with stakeholders. Make sure everyone agrees with your brand concept before you push it.
Keep consistent across branded materials
Your brand should be used consistently across all online and offline marketing materials; this includes everything from business cards and invoices to annual reports and advertising. Make sure versions of your logo are not mismatched in different documents; choose one and stick to it.
Check your tone
Of course, branding is not just about visuals, it's also about tone of voice and personality, which also need to be consistent. Try to develop some branding guidelines by thinking about your charity in terms of its history, mission, vision and values. How do you describe your charity and how would you want others to perceive it? Some organisations may prefer to have a more light-hearted tone, while others will want to sound serious. This tone should be used in all branded material, including your website and social media posts.
Have a solid website
With latest figures claiming there will be three billion Internet users by the end of 2014, a strong online presence is a must for your charity's brand. Your website should be fully-functional and easy to navigate, as most people who want to find out more information about your charity or want to donate will do so via your website. Make sure you keep up-to-date; for example, you don't want your 'latest news' section to be a piece from 2012. Plus, make sure your site is responsive so that your beautifully-designed logo and newsletter still looks good on a mobile device.
Make sure everyone is on board
Finally, ensure that everyone involved in your charity is aware of your brand guidelines. It only takes a few slip-ups to damage a brand, and we all know that donors' perceptions can make or break a charity.
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