Having a brand may be typically associated with for-profit companies, but that doesn't mean it's not imperative for nonprofits to establish their own unique brands. Having a brand is a very real and important aspect of an organization’s work that must be established from the very beginning (or reworked to fit the mission and vision of the organization).
Branding is also vital when your organization is launching specific fundraising campaigns, events, projects, or programs. An excellent example of a nonprofit with a well-known brand that helped one of its major campaigns is GiveCorps, which recently had a Giving Tuesday campaign called BmoreGivesMore.
The consistency of the branding for GiveCorps proved to substantially aid its messaging and helped form strategic partnerships with like brands. The end result of these efforts? Well, the organization raised $5.7M in one day (yep, one day).
Let's break down the organization to see exactly who they are and what has made them such a success -- including its branding techniques.
How did BmoreGivesMore start?
GiveCorps, an online fundraising platform located in Baltimore, offers traditional fundraising tools and a virtual Giving Jar that allows individuals to save money and elect to donate their savings to a cause of their choice.
The organization participated in the first year of Giving Tuesday back in 2012. This past December, GiveCorps saw a bigger opportunity to involve the entire city of Baltimore to bring awareness not only to Giving Tuesday, but also to give back to the city and community around them.
So, in early summer 2013, GiveCorps reached out to partners and philanthropists who were interested in getting involved in some way for Giving Tuesday and its BmoreGivesMore campaign.
Its founding partners included not only nonprofits, like The United Way of Central Maryland, Baltimore Community Foundation, and The Business Volunteers of Maryland, but also local universities, including Towson University, UMBC, and the University of Maryland. Even the mayor's office got involved.
With the collaboration of the GiveCorps team and its partners, the BmoreGivesMore campaign for 2013’s Giving Tuesday was created and a plan to develop a “culture of contribution” in the city of Baltimore was announced.
5 Branding Lessons From BmoreGivesMore
There are many things to learn from this 24-hour BmoreGivesMore campaign, but its branding strategy really stood out from a marketing perspective.
So, let's take a look at these five techniques GiveCorps implemented that your nonprofit should keep in mind and apply to your next campaign -- especially if it's a giving day.
1) Use your logo and color scheme across all marketing channels.
Having your logo and brand colors consistent on all marketing materials and channels is key.
For the BmoreGivesMore campaign, GiveCorps kept its branding and logo consistent on its website, social media channels (including Twitter and Facebook), T-shirts, and infographics. Further, the organization used its brand colors in its Facebook graphics during the campaign to show the progress of its fundraising.
Think about how you can brand your collateral, including newsletters, brochures, flyers, and emails -- and your online marketing efforts, of course -- with your brand colors and logo.
2) Use a consistent mission and messaging strategy.
Don't think you can tell people your mission or purpose too many times. Similarly, using consistent messaging on your campaign materials is also very important.
The BmoreGivesMore campaign mission was repeatedly shared over and over again: to "create a culture of contribution" on its website, social media channels, and media outreach.
Plain and simple: Having a consistent, thorough message to communicate with your audience is important.
3) Make sure everyone in your organization knows your brand and vision.
Make sure everyone who is involved in your campaign knows the messaging and/or mission in and out so they are able to capably talk about and share it.
Creating a brand and voice guide prior to an event or for your organization, in general, and providing it to current and new staff members and volunteers is a premier way to create a consistent message internally.
4) Incorporate and promote a campaign hashtag.
Hashtags are a great way to associate your brand with a conversation on social media. In the case of BmoreGivesMore, three different hashtags were used on Giving Tuesday -- #BmoreGivesMore, #MostGenerousCityInTheUSA, and #GivingTuesday -- which trended nationally on the day of the event.
This helped GiveCorps create its own branded conversation in the city of Baltimore as well as join the larger conversation around Giving Tuesday.
Associating a hashtag with your fundraising campaigns is also really helpful if you're trying to encourage social media sharing and activity. Keep it short and easy to remember, and put it on all of your marketing materials. The BmoreGivesMore campaign included the #GivingTuesday hashtag in its logo.
5) Think about your partners' brands.
Aligning your organization with companies or other nonprofits with similar brands and visions is really important when putting on a giving day.
For example, BmoreGivesMore partnered with 300 nonprofits, 200 companies, and a number of universities in Baltimore that all had a common desire to give back on Giving Tuesday.
If you can align yourself with organizations that have the same vision as you, you can really amplify your impact. The folks behind BmoreGivesMore used their partnerships to help smaller, local organizations amplify their efforts on Giving Tuesday through their network of partners.
How are you working to brand your nonprofit for your next campaign? Got any specific techniques? Share them below!