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Branding for Nonprofits -
Dispelling 4 Myths

by Jed Jones

Members of nonprofit organizations often overlook the importance of branding because they see it as unimportant, unnecessary, or even unaligned with their mission. Here I dispel 4 common myths about the need for branding for nonprofits and show why your nonprofit needs to build a strong brand to thrive.

    Myth #1: Branding is only for mega-corporations: The grain of truth in this myth - and it is a very small grain indeed - is that many of the most successful large corporations of today were involved decades ago in the development of the practice we call branding today. In fact, branding is a big part of the reason for their success today. With so many messages aimed at the average citizen today, small businesses and nonprofits of all sizes need an identifiable brand to gain mind share about whom they are and what they are about.

    Myth #2: But, we already have a logo: That is a wonderful start. But, how does your logo tie in with the brand image you communicate in the way you answer your phones, the look-and-feel of your Web site, your fundraising event flyers, and your radio commercials? Good branding means taking an integrated approach to all forms of contact you have with your target support base so that they unmistakably know what you are all about.

    Myth #3: We do not have the budget to build a brand: The only valuable resource your branding has to cost you is some of your time and energy while you form a brand identity and execute your brand campaign. There are literally hundreds of ways to market your nonprofit, and a consistent, well thought out brand identity should show up in all of them. Think of it conversely: what if your not-for-profit were to fail because of a lack of the right kind of attention from your target support or user base? In that sense, your organization cannot afford not to build a strong brand.

    Myth #4: Branding and marketing are a dirty words: Sometimes marketing gets negative press due to the fact that there are clearly some unsavory marketing practices going on in the world today: deceptive advertising, spam, and disruptive telemarketing, just to name a few. However, marketing in its purest form is merely a set of activities designed to get the right kind of attention for a product or service on the part of would-be buyers, subscribers, or supporters. If good branding means the ability of your nonprofit to better help the cause of [fill in the blank] with your products or services, "branding" and "marketing" suddenly become pretty wonderful words.


About the Author:

Jed Jones, Ph.D. was born and raised in Southern California.

His professional and academic interests include marketing, international business, systems thinking, organizational design, research and the Japanese language.

Jed holds a B.A. in Japanese Studies from UCLA, an M.B.A in Marketing from The Paul Merage Business School at UC Irvine, and a Ph.D. in Psychology and Organizational Systems Inquiry from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center.

Download your FREE copy of my eBook, "The Anatomy of a Winning Brand" at:

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