You know that your finances are critical to the overall health of your Non-profit organization, and you also know that management of campaigns and initiatives is a critical component of your nonprofits longevity. You know all of these things already, but how often do you consider just how important your board is to your overall brand and public image? Many nonprofit directors do all that they can just to fill their board, without taking a step back to look at how their board is actually affecting their organization, whether for the better or worse. We here at Cobos Insurance have a heart for nonprofits so in addition to helping insure and protect them, we want to offer helpful advice to make sure they continue to fulfill their mission statements! Below you will find some tips to effectively managing your overall brand through your nonprofit board of directors.
Prioritize Your Brand
Successful organizations understand that having a strong brand is fundamental for long-term success. The brand must be easy to understand, appealing, and motivating. If people don’t know what you do and how well you do it, they are not going to support you. Boards make it possible for an organization to build and maintain a brand by allocating the resources needed. Whether marketing is done in-house or with the help of a consultant, the board must budget sufficient money to ensure success.
If the brand is important to the board, it will be important to staff, donors, and clients. By hiring leadership that prioritizes their brand and ensuring that systems and resources are in place to reinforce their brand, the board ensures their brand’s continuity and strength.
Build Your Brand
For organization just starting out or going through a re-branding process, boards will help define the organization’s brand—its mission, vision, values, and brand promise. The board may provide input to a marketing committee or branding agency or sit on the marketing committee as part of the branding process. Boards may approve key deliverables such as a new name, visual identity, or mission statement, and ensure that appropriate trademark protection is secured.
Protect from internal threats
The board should protect their organization’s brand, intellectual property, and goodwill from internal and external threats. Internally, this means having brand standards and ensuring that all communications materials reflect these brand standards. By making consistency a priority, your team will not inadvertently erode your brand.
For organizations that have chapters or affiliates, or those are that are chapters or affiliates, careful attention needs to be paid to the relationship between the parent entity and others that use the brand. Parent organizations need to clearly articulate how their brand is to be used (and not used), provide guidelines and training to those using the brand, and monitor for misuse.
Affiliate organizations need to be mindful of using the national brand appropriately, and setting guidelines for adapting the brand locally within the national standards.
Protect from external threats
External threats come from people—including your supporters—who may use your logo or other brand identifiers in an inappropriate manner, or other organizations that usurp or infringe on your name or logo.
The board must examine any potential mergers, partnership arrangements, or cause marketing deals to ensure that the arrangements are mutually beneficial and that the organization’s brand won’t be misappropriated, or harmed in any way. Make sure that all partnership arrangements are with entities with similar values and interests. Don’t enter into agreements—no matter how financially tempting—that contradict the mission and values of your organization. Spell out all the details of how your name, logo, and other brand elements will be used.
Leverage your Brand
Smart organizations know that their brand reflects their entire organization, and that branding, marketing, and fundraising support each other. Boards can ensure that all departments —particularly development and marketing—are on the same page, support each other, and reinforce the organization’s brand. Donors responding to a direct mail or email appeal need to easily find the offer they are looking for on the website. This means that internal teams must work together and communicate well. Boards need to understand the many skills, roles, and positions within the organization that affect and support their marketing efforts and put in place teams and systems to ensure brand cohesion.
Share your Brand
Board members are brand ambassadors among their own contacts in business and in their communities. Their job is to enthusiastically spread the word, raise funds, and serve as the chief cheerleaders for the organization. To do so, they must be able to confidently and passionately talk about the value and impact of the organization. A strong brand makes it easier for them to do so by providing clear, concise language and a message that board members are proud to convey. We wanted to give a shout out to Howard Levy from Red Rooster Group for the content you see above. We leaned on his expertise in the non-profit branding sector to bring you these helpful tips.
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