| 5 min read

Why Is Branding So Important For Nonprofits?

If I ask you to give me the name of five nonprofits that work in the field of wildlife conservation, what name comes to mind first?

Chances are WWF is top of your list.

WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) has done such a great job at creating a strong brand identity that it has become a household name when it comes to conservation efforts.

For a start, the inspiring organization has managed to establish itself as an authority in the environmental protection field through its iconic brand elements, such as its famous black and white panda logo. And it has also done so by creating a strong brand personality focused on its core values and consistent messaging.

Whether you jump on their social media pages or website or read one of their blog posts, the tone is engaged and informative, the messaging is inspiring and empowering, and the campaigns and initiatives match the organization’s values.

These elements all contribute to creating brand consistency and establishing a strong brand identity.

But why is branding so important? And how can you build a strong brand with heart?

These are the questions I’ll answer in this blog post. 

What Is Branding?

Combination of different colors

But first, let’s start with a quick definition of branding. ‘

Branding is the process of creating a unique identity in the mind of your donors. 

Branding is made up of some critical visual elements, such as your logo, the fonts and color palette you use, and even your tagline. Now, while these elements are all part of creating a successful brand, branding is much more than a logo, a font, and a tagline. Building a successful brand is about capturing the essence of your organization, encapsulating its vision and mission, and narrating your story as a nonprofit through the tone of voice, vocabulary, imagery, interactions, social media presence, workplace culture, and anything that makes your nonprofit what it is.

All of these visual and communication elements tell a story about your organization and the team behind it. And this, in turn, will allow you to create a strong brand personality that will help you humanize your nonprofit and establish genuine connections with your target market.

Why Is Creating A Strong Brand So Important For Nonprofits?

Strong Brand Equity words on a wooden cube

Every major brand, from the Red Cross and Amnesty International to WWF and Habitat for Humanity, rose to fame due to its powerful brand. Creating a strong brand identity will help you build deeper connections with potential donors and nudge them into supporting you in your mission.

And if you weren’t convinced, here are some key stats:

  • Branded charity websites experience 12% more donations than non-branded websites.
  • 93% of nonprofits believe that creating a strong brand identity can increase donor engagement, and 74% say a strong brand identity leads to an increase in recurring donations.
  • 79% of nonprofits agree that professional visual branding increases donations during fundraising events.

Branding your nonprofit will help you:

  • Increase Your Fundraising Revenue

A recent study revealed that nonprofits that have invested in professional services to improve their visual branding had experienced a whopping 50% increase in revenue compared to those who didn’t invest in their visual branding. 

If people have a positive perception of your brand, they’ll be more inclined to donate their time and money. The right tagline, imagery, color palette or tone of voice can help you create a strong brand personality that potential donors can relate to, prompting them to take action during your fundraising events.

  • Build Trust

If you want people to trust you, especially in a digital age where a lot of engagement and interactions happen online and digital trust matters, it’s not enough to tell them you do good. You also need to show them you’re a trustworthy and well-established organization that contributes to making the world a better place every day. 

Consistently communicating your message and values using key brand elements and showing potential donors how you make an impact through videos, imagery, and live interactions will help them understand and recognize what you stand for. And this will ultimately help you build trust with your target audience as people get to know you. 

  • Spread Awareness

As mentioned, creating a strong brand identity helps you create a unique brand personality that donors can relate to, leading to more donations. After all, an appealing, engaging, and recognizable brand is more likely to be the catalyst to donations than a brand donors struggle to identify and understand. 

And the good news is that if your target audience likes you, they’ll spread the word about your mission and help you increase your donor base. In fact, a study revealed that 83% of Americans buy a product or service based on recommendations from friends or family, making word-of-mouth a powerful marketing tool to increase your bottom line.

How To Create A Strong Brand Identity For Your Nonprofit?

Here are three key branding elements top charities have nailed.

  • Brand Vision and Values

WWF’s mission is ‘’to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth’’. Amnesty International’s mission is ‘’to protect individuals wherever justice, fairness, freedom, and truth are denied’’. As a nonprofit brand, clearly defining and communicating your mission and values is crucial, as it will allow you to build strong emotional connections with your target audience. 

  • Memorable Visual Identity

While your visual identity is only part of your overall branding, it’s still a critical component. 

Logos, names, typography, and colors are often the first things that pop into people’s minds when thinking of a particular charity. Think of how easy it is for people to remember WWF, thanks to their black and white panda logo. That’s why, to stand out and create a memorable brand, you need to invest time and effort in creating a compelling and unique brand visual identity. 

  • Consistent Messaging

Strong brands are consistent. From their values and beliefs to their tone of voice and imagery, successful nonprofits have nailed the art of brand recognition through consistency. For example, Greenpeace uses the same color scheme and font in every communication and the same committed, dedicated, and hopeful tone of voice across all channels.

Leverage The Expertise Of Nonprofit Branding Professionals

The makerting professionals are busy conceptualizing ideas

Building a successful brand takes time, dedication, and effort. And as a busy nonprofit professional juggling a million tasks at once, it can feel daunting. 

That’s why, unless you have the time and resources, I’d recommend outsourcing your branding to a creative agency specializing in helping social impact organizations like yours to increase their donations. 

For instance, Cosmic’s mission is to help nonprofits nail their impact story, build brand awareness and inspire action. From brand strategy to visual branding and messaging, Cosmic’s team can help you create a strong brand identity to increase your donor base and keep your organization front of mind.

And if you’re looking for more information about increasing your donations, don’t hesitate to join me on What the Fundraising, where I pick the brains of prominent members of the nonprofit sector. Some of my latest podcasts that might be of interest include Become an Embodied Fundraiser: Fundraising and Storytelling from the Inside Out with Tania Bhattacharyya and Effective Fundraising and Power Partner Principles with Seth Godin.

Besides, as you might have guessed, I’m passionate about helping nonprofits grow and thrive through highly effective fundraising methods, and that’s why you’ll find even more tips on the ‘’Resources’’ and ‘’Articles’’ pages of my website.

For more of my favorite fundraising tips and tricks, check out my Resource page! Here, you can find relevant articles, webinars, quizzes, etc. about fundraising in the nonprofit sector. In addition, you can subscribe to What the Fundraising for ongoing conversations about how you can fundamentally change the way you lead and fundraise. And to learn how to raise more from the right funders using the Power Partners Formula, you are always welcome to join one of my free Masterclasses at malloryerickson.com/free.

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