Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 7: Your new brand

You’re at the grocery store (remember when we used to do that?) and you grab a box of your favorite breakfast cereal. It looks different. But you breathe a sigh of relief when you notice the prominent starburst:

Great new look, same wonderful taste!

They’ve rebranded!

And they know this may cause a moment of confusion in some buyers’ experience, thus the disclaimer: “Don’t worry,” they’re saying, “We rebranded, but didn’t actually change anything.”

I know nothing about retail marketing, so I don’t know if announcing and apologizing for a brand change is smart or not. It probably comes down to the appropriateness of the new brand.

But I do think the nonprofit version of Great new look, same wonderful taste! is a bad move almost every time.

Let’s say rebranded your nonprofit. There are a number of good reasons you might do that. (There are also many bad reasons for doing it. We’re tired of the old brand is at the top of the list of bad reasons to rebrand.)

And let’s say your new brand is good at capturing the feeling you’re selling. Congratulations. That is a real accomplishment.

So you tell your donors, We’ve rebranded! with a big splash on your homepage, a lead article in your newsletter, and pretty much any other place you can think of.

You’re telling them things are different. You can’t really claim same wonderful taste, because the new look is their whole experience with you.

So you’re telling them you’ve changed something.

You’ve raised a red flag, unlike the cereal company, whose statement is more of a green flag, saying “nothing has changed.”

The wonderful reasons you give for the change is a bunch of insider talk that they’re unlikely to understand, much less care about.

So if you rebrand, just do it! Make sure it’s good and connects with your donors. If it does that, you should benefit.

If you need to talk about it, that’s often a sign that you’re heading for fundraising trouble.

Want more help with the complex and difficult issue of nonprofit branding? Read my book, The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand.


Comments

6 responses to “Things that really don’t matter in fundraising: Part 7: Your new brand”

  1. Cathy Wilson Avatar
    Cathy Wilson

    I love this (and really the whole series)! Would you say that a new website is also the same as rebranding and that our donors really won’t care about it?

  2. Cathy Wilson Avatar
    Cathy Wilson

    I love this (and really the whole series)! Would you say that a new website is also the same as rebranding and that our donors really won’t care about it?

  3. Donors won’t care about your new brand, but if it makes your charity easier to recognise and remember, and it subtly communicates what you are about better – then you’ll have more success in being on people’s minds when they are in a donating mindset.
    Secondly, if your new website makes it easier for people to donate / find out about the impact a donation will have (ie show people who you are – what you d0 – and what you do for people – and thus what donors can do for people: then it makes perfect sense to nail a new website that suits who your target donors are, and how they behave, what info they’re looking for, what content motivates them to support you.
    Your website has to be and the said content has to be easy to find – easy to use – content is useful – and needs to connect on some emotional level.
    And if a new brand visual helps make that happen – then go for gold!

  4. Donors won’t care about your new brand, but if it makes your charity easier to recognise and remember, and it subtly communicates what you are about better – then you’ll have more success in being on people’s minds when they are in a donating mindset.
    Secondly, if your new website makes it easier for people to donate / find out about the impact a donation will have (ie show people who you are – what you d0 – and what you do for people – and thus what donors can do for people: then it makes perfect sense to nail a new website that suits who your target donors are, and how they behave, what info they’re looking for, what content motivates them to support you.
    Your website has to be and the said content has to be easy to find – easy to use – content is useful – and needs to connect on some emotional level.
    And if a new brand visual helps make that happen – then go for gold!

  5. Kit Jenkins Avatar
    Kit Jenkins

    Jeff, I too would love to hear your thoughts on the “rebranding” of a website? Bottomless time and dollars can be invested in this exercise. Maybe the answer is different now than say 5 years ago, before the proliferation of communications going out on social media channels?

  6. Kit Jenkins Avatar
    Kit Jenkins

    Jeff, I too would love to hear your thoughts on the “rebranding” of a website? Bottomless time and dollars can be invested in this exercise. Maybe the answer is different now than say 5 years ago, before the proliferation of communications going out on social media channels?

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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