Your Nonprofit’s Brand: Key Insights from Barlele’s Educational Panel with NXUnite

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Barlele, Taylor Shanklin, joined NXUnite’s panel “A Signature Style: Building Your Nonprofit’s Brand in 2022” with nonprofit professionals Ira Horowitz of Cornershop Creative and Alyssa Conrardy of Prosper Strategies to discuss the importance of branding for nonprofit organizations and what considerations to keep in mind. 

Know the Difference: Branding vs. Marketing 

What is a brand? A brand is so much more than your organization’s logo, color scheme, or font. A brand is both an internal and external experience. It’s about showing your organization’s purpose through stories, visualization, and the value you can bring into someone’s life. Often, branding is overlooked in place of marketing, but the two are different. Taylor Shanklin of Barlele describes a brand as “something that catches someone’s attention in the first place. It’s supposed to differentiate you from others.” Next time, remember that a brand’s purpose is to differentiate your organization while marketing is to amplify your organization. 

Make It Accessible  

Accessibility is an important factor to consider when creating your organization’s brand. The term accessibility is commonly misinterpreted as a permanent disability, but many people are faced with temporary impairments that may also affect their accessibility. Ira Horowitz of Cornershop Creative touched on the topic of accessibility, saying, “Accessibility is a spectrum. Being accessible will benefit your efforts.” 

The next time you are thinking about rebranding or building your new brand, keep these considerations in mind: 

  • Document Structure 
  • Color Contrast 
  • Font Size 
  • Closed Captioning 
  • Alternative Text 

Listen to Your People 

Before a brand is created, organizations need to understand what their people care about: what will cause them to take action? Alyssa Conrardy of Prosper Strategies touched on the Shared Power Strategy Philosophy, reminding the audience to “think expansively about who your stakeholders are, think about how accessible and how interested they may be in the branding process, and aim for your stakeholders to listen.” Regardless of your organization’s size or mission, your main goal should be to speak to your audience, including your stakeholders. 

Keep these factors in mind when your organization is about to create its new brand or considering a rebrand: 

  • Know Who Your Stakeholders Really Are 
  • Question Your Assumptions 
  • Form a Task Force 

What’s Next for Nonprofits? 

As the world continues to find new ways to incorporate digital capabilities, nonprofit organizations will have to consider what strategies are most effective for their brand and mission. As your nonprofit organization continues to grow and elevate its branding and marketing strategies, continue to leverage educational resources, like nonprofit podcasts on boosting your organization’s brand and cause.