As Cancer Research UK tops a new league table ranking 100 large charities by the value of their brand*, we identify what makes a strong charity brand and how to protect it.
Why charities need branding
Brand identity is more than a logo, it’s the impression a charity makes, and what people think of you. Charities need the impact of a brand to help them connect with their audience on a deeper level. CharityComms’ report, “Branding Inside Out”, found that charity branding actively improves the number of donations a charitable organisation can get for their campaign.
A strong brand identity is important for success, enabling you to build a good reputation and stand out from your competitors. Building a reputable brand increases opportunities for funding, spreads awareness of your cause and increases trust.
Creating a strong brand
To create a strong brand you need a thorough understanding of your target audience and to help them relate to you so they are most likely to support you over others. It is important that your mission, vision and values are communicated clearly along with what sets you apart from your competitors. Authenticity and consistency are both crucial as your donors and volunteers must be sure your charity keeps its promises and stays true to its core values.
Management and compliance
Strong management, comprehensive administrative and financial procedures and compliance with all regulations are a key part of protecting a charity’s brand. An organisation wide approach to risk management should ensure that unnecessary or damaging risks are avoided.
Protect your brand and reputation
Recent research from the Charity Commission indicates the level of trust in charities has declined in recent years. This is significant as a charity’s success is closely linked to the public’s trust and confidence in them. Ultimately, a good reputation makes the difference between success and failure and its importance should not be underestimated. Charities should be mindful of whether their fund-raising activities and commercial partnerships are consistent with their core values and image otherwise they risk causing damage to their reputation.
Branding must be led by the CEO and senior management to be successful. Involve senior management, trustees, staff and volunteers in the process. Encourage a shared sense of purpose, commitment and pride by taking your employees on the brand development journey with you.
Be prepared for viral fundraising opportunities
Viral fundraising can reward both financially and in terms of brand strength. For smaller charities you can launch a fundraising campaign that goes viral in your own community Create and promote stories with great visuals that your engaged market wants to share. Keep the focus on the people involved, not just your charity. Post interesting and sharable social media content that volunteers can share. And be prepared to react in the right way at the right time.
Do not leave your charity’s brand and reputation to chance. Make sure that whenever someone sees your name or logo, it reminds them of what you stand for, and why they need to support you.
For further information please contact a member of our Charities team: