First off: what is a brand? And how does it create visibility and recognition for your organization? Your organization’s voice, look, behavior and feel combine to create your unique brand. Ideally, your organization’s brand is clear to your audiences, consistent across all outputs, and flexible enough to adjust to market trends. When a consumer interacts with you — whether through your website, product, social media handles or something as simple as a flyer — they form an opinion of who they think you are.
The more easily they can form this opinion, the better it is for you. Brand identity is what sticks in people’s minds and influences them to choose you over a competitor, to think of you when they read about an issue in the news, and take action to support you — from making a donation to spreading the word to friends and family.
But how do you wield your brand to reach your fundraising goals? Brandraising — a term coined by Big Duck and explored in detail in Sarah Durham’s book, Brandraising: How nonprofits raise visibility and money through smart communications — is the notion that your brand identity can guide your fundraising efforts and help them to pack a more powerful punch. Digital brandraising leverages your online presence and brand awareness to bolster fundraising. To do this well, your digital presence should effectively communicate your unique offer, your core values, and your story. Your website and social media should align to do this, and you should produce content to raise brand awareness and drive people to your platform.
Differentiate your brand
Your organization has a clear goal and a unique, compelling story. But how do you show that? Your brand identity takes care of this through your tone, voice and messaging. The more distinctive you are, the more likely people will come to you when they want to make a difference. From your website design to the tone of your social media posts, your brand shows your supporters how you stand out, and how you are working hard to solve some of the world’s biggest problems.
Align your digital presence
Creating a seamless consumer journey is an essential step of digital brandraising. Your website, social media, and emails should all interlink to communicate your core messages, and drive people to your donation page. Your presence should ensure that your brand and story resonate with your audience. A clear and natural flow that also raises brand awareness makes the donation process easy, convenient, and enjoyable for people. Your brand identity creates a connection between your different platforms and assures your supporters that they are in the right place.
Create meaningful content for distribution
Whether you’re creating products, images, reports, or blogs, your content needs to be on brand and convey a universal message that aligns with your core values. The key here is to create something that people identify with but that also has some sort of branding in it, e.g., your logo, colours, and/or tagline. When people see your content, they emotionally connect with it and know where it comes from. And ideally, when they see or hear about a related issue, they will think of you.
Know your challenges
For many nonprofits, tight budgets can make investing in branded content a real challenge. In this case, your digital brandraising can rely heavily on social media; the more fans and followers you have, the wider your message will spread. Another common challenge is a lack of brand alignment. Perhaps your brand identity isn’t fully formed or implemented on all levels and platforms. No matter your blockers, decide on a vision, make a plan, and commit to it. Lastly, a lack of audience personas (or even understanding) may create a disconnect between you and the people you are trying to reach. Understanding who you are reaching, who you want to be reaching, and how to reach them, will enable you to develop a strong communications strategy that helps optimize your team’s performance and achieve your organization’s fundraising goals.
Need help with your digital brandraising? Let’s talk.
Forum One’s brand experts work with some of the world’s most inspiring nonprofits brands to create alignment and strength. Get in touch today.