Nonprofit Branding: Rule #1 is – Don’t Steal! Rule #2 is a Bit More Complicated….

Your brand is a vital but fragile asset.  And you are responsible for its health. Are you part time? Full time? Upper management? Clerical? Volunteer? Salaried? Hourly? It doesn’t matter – this principle still applies:

 If you work for a nonprofit, you share the fundamental responsibility to protect and enhance that brand. This is not just the responsibility of some other person or office. It is also yours!

Before we dissect your reality, take a look at the Branding Bottom Line: 

In the highly competitive nonprofit marketplace, the condition of your brand enables or retards success. That means success in constituent relations, in development & fundraising, in volunteer management, in media relations, in major giving, in building audience, in crisis management, in government relations, in advertising, in volunteer recruitment, in governing board effectiveness, and in annual fund operations.

Consequently, the condition of your brand determines your ability to deliver your mission.

The brand reflects everything a nonprofit does. That includes everything you do in its name. This is hwo it works: 


  • Your brand is an accumulation of impressions.
  • It lives out in the collective mind of the public.
  • It is the aggregate perception of who you are, what you do and how well you do it.
  • Your brand is not static. It is evolving. Always!
  • You don’t own your brand. You cannot control it.
  • But your actions can influence it for good. Or for ill.
  • Your brand may be intangible. But it is not a frill.
  • Your brand is an asset. It represents investment of time and resources…and much more.
  • Protecting your brand is not an option. It is an ethical mandate.
  • The cost of protecting it is not an expense – it is further investment.

To restate: Your brand reflects everything your nonprofit does and everyone who does it. Every aspect of the organization contributes to the brand’s condition. In the highly competitive nonprofit marketplace, that condition enables or retards success in fulfilling your mission.

Chicken or egg? Mission or Brand? Who cares?

Without one, you can’t have the other!

One thought on “Nonprofit Branding: Rule #1 is – Don’t Steal! Rule #2 is a Bit More Complicated….

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