Nonprofit managers can take a cue from the more than 20 people who at one point were running for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Some of those candidates are still running but nobody knows them despite months of work.
The same can be true of charities. There are more than 1,000 charities with the word “cancer” in the name. According to consulting firm Classy, there are nine steps to knowing how your brand is perceived: Do Your Research; Update Your Personas; Review Your Brand Personality and Tone; Agree on Your Ideal Brand; Review Your Messaging; Review Your Visual Identity; Audit Your Materials; Achieve Internal Buy-In; and, Launch.
An organization’s constituents are the best source to find out how a brand is perceived. To encompass your entire audience, this should include your donors, volunteers, clients or the recipients of your services, employees, community leaders, and corporate partners, according to Classy. Gather a cross-section of these people and ask a series of simple questions in focus groups, online surveys, or in-person interviews.
The goal is to understand the sentiment behind your brand, awareness for your organization, who your constituents feel your competitors are in terms of services offered and share of purse, and perhaps most importantly, who exactly your constituents are at the moment.
Sample questions include: What three words would you use to describe this organization? What services do you think are the most important for us to provide our beneficiaries? Which organizations have you donated to in the last 12 months? How likely are you to recommend this organization to friends and family as an organization worthy of donations?
A strategic refresh can highlight what the organization is doing, bring in a new set of supporters, and re-engage existing supporters. Make it a point to at least review your brand every decade and refresh as needed to keep your organization viable and relevant in our ever-changing society, according to the nine-step program.