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  • Writer's pictureLisa Davis

The First 3 Steps to Creating Your Nonprofit’s Brand

A strong mission and a strong brand must go hand in hand. The mission is the heart of the nonprofit’s work and provides an understanding of who they are, why they exist, and who they serve. The brand builds trust, relationships, and community. Both are necessary for a nonprofit to survive and thrive.

Building a brand is not easy, but if it’s done professionally and it’s fostered well it will serve as the foundation for success. Here are the first three steps Founded takes when developing a new brand:

Step 1: Introspective thought work

This first step is critical because it creates an intentional process that allows leadership the time and space to reflect, ideate, and discuss the nonprofit’s core values, persona, and niche. These are the building blocks for developing a solid foundation because they’re the qualities that support and reflect the mission. They also provide a clear direction when faced with important or difficult decisions.

An excellent tool for this step is a questionnaire. Founded creates custom brand identity questionnaires to help guide clients through the process of determining the fundamental personality traits that will connect with their audience and build the relationship and trust within its community.

Step 2: Competitor research and analysis

Researching and analyzing competitors provides valuable insight into what others in your market are doing well and perhaps not so well. It provides a model you can use to examine, compare, and contrast your concept and vision.

This step is imperative because the insight you gather about your competitors also helps to refine your differentiators and niche. It allows you to gather information and inspiration that will help your nonprofit better define the distinct qualities that will separate it from the rest.

Research is an illuminating process for creating a brand. Founded’s approach is to take a deep dive into its client’s direct competitors examining data points that include their digital reach, the scope of services, and performance metrics.

Step 3: Creative development and design

Now that your nonprofit has established its core values and persona and understands the market, you’re ready to develop your brand’s visual identity.

This step requires patience, creativity, and open honest constructive dialog about the direction of the brand’s design. It involves creating a safe space to share where everyone’s thoughts and ideas feel valued.

When working with clients, Founded provides a structured process that helps nonprofits dream, draft, and determine the brand's look, logo and feel, including the color palette, logos, fonts, and design elements.

Although these first three steps have several more that follow, these are fundamental when creating a strong brand. Often undervalued and resourced due to budget and time constraints; the nonprofits that prioritize the time and attention to the brand in the beginning will have a stronger brand and community in the end.

Founded specializes in providing professional nonprofit branding and community engagement services. Let Founded help you strengthen your brand and advance your mission.

Here’s to everyone willing and wanting to make a difference!

Lisa :)


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