Clarify your brand

1.  Compare yourself to Alternate Providers.

Identify all agencies which provide the same services you do; include both for-profit and non-profit providers. Ask yourself these questions:

From the perspective of your Board and employees:

What kind of personality does our non-profit have?  Who are we?  Who do we want to be?  What are we passionate about?  What is our promise and do we deliver?  What are we most proud of?  What do we not like about ourselves?  Is our personality uniform throughout all departments?  What kind of personalities do alternate service providers have?

From the perspective of your clients:

Who else could your clients turn to if you didn’t exist?  Do you do something that no one else does?  What do the other providers do that is the same as you and different from you?  Do they appeal to different clients?  Do other providers accomplish the same goals but do it in other ways? If they provide other services, are those services important to your clients?  Is their location closer to where it is needed? Are their hours different? Are they bigger or smaller?  Have they been around longer?  How is their brand image different?  Do you treat your website as an “ad” or can it be converted into another way you fulfill your mission to your clients?

From the perspective of your donors:

If a donor wanted to donate to your cause, but was not sure which non profit within your cause to select, what attributes would they look for?  Are the other providers within your cause more efficient?  Do others make it easier to donate?  Do others have higher awareness because they promote themselves more or in a more professional-looking way?  Are the needs different between money donors and in-kind donors?  Why should donors care about your cause?

From the perspective of your volunteers:

What kind of volunteers do we typically attract and why?  Is there turnover because we don’t connect with them?  Do our volunteers recruit their friends to join them?

2.  What is your niche?

What are the top points that differentiate your non profit from all the others.  That is your Unique Value Proposition.  Add this to your Brand Checklist to remind you to include it in every communication piece.images-39

Check out this link to see a case study

3.  Separate the features from the benefits.

A feature is what you do.  A benefit is the impact you have.  For example, the feature of a furniture bank is to collect and redistribute used furniture.  Their benefit is they help create homes for the homeless.

Suggested Reading:  “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide” by Kivi Leroux Miller page 49-62, available from libraries.

Does your message

  • emphasize the impact on one person, animal or thing?
  • evoke positive emotions?
  • reinforce personal identity with the stereotype for your cause eg alumni from a university
  • validate their decision by appealing to reason?
  • clear, strong call to action?