The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand

Motivating Donors to Give, Give Happily, and Keep on Giving by Jeff Brooks

The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand

It’s kind of embarrassing for a marketing professional to admit it, but branding scares me.


I realize that’s kind of like a pilot saying he’s scared of heights or a spelunker being afraid of the dark.

But honestly, I’ve had so many terrible experiences with branding that I’d have to be a little bit crazy not to be afraid of it.

Virtually every professional in fundraising who has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations shares my fear of branding. We’ve all watched branding disasters hurt our organizations and clients.

It goes like this: An organization decides their brand is out of date, out of touch, boring, or not doing the job. Branding experts are brought in. They cook up some combination of a new name, a new logo, a spiffy new color palette, new brand guidelines, a new marketing plan. This step is sometimes ruinously expensive, sometimes done pro-bono by the experts.

The new brand is launched with great pride and excitement.

Then fundraising revenue drops. And it doesn’t bounce back.

Terrible budget cuts happen. People get fired. Some of them deserve it, most don’t.

It’s ugly. And sad. And depressing.

It doesn’t always go that way. But it’s often enough that when re-branding doesn’t go bad, you feel like you’ve miraculously dodged a bullet that was aimed right at you.

I know it shouldn’t be this way. Branding should be one of the best tools we have for raising funds.

And it can be.

I’ve spent a lot of time watching those branding failures from up close. I’ve also seen many branding success stories. Turns out there’s a right way to do nonprofit branding. There is!

That’s why I wrote this book. It does two things:

  1. It shows how and why branding often goes wrong for nonprofits.
  2. It shows the alternative — an approach to branding that not only doesn’t end up with everyone fired, but actually boosts fundraising results.

Doing nonprofit branding right isn’t that difficult. And it doesn’t cost a lot. When you do it, it will start adding dollars into your budget.

Find out how to do it in this new book.

The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand is available at:

  • Amazon
  • Wiley (best bet if you’re outside North America or Europe)

What this blog is about

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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About the blogger

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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