Your nonprofit’s brand should be a visual and verbal representation of your mission, values, and personality. And when you first developed it, it likely fulfilled that purpose. But what happens when your organizational identity no longer aligns with your brand identity?
If your nonprofit finds itself in this situation, it may be time for a rebrand! A successful rebranding effort starts with taking a step back to examine who you are as an organization and how your brand strategy can better reflect that. After this initial brainstorming, it’s time to creatively re-envision your messaging and visuals, which you’ll eventually roll out in your nonprofit’s communications.
The rebranding process takes time and effort, and it can quickly become complicated. To help clear up confusion and get your nonprofit on the way to a successful rebrand, we’ll answer the following four frequently asked questions:
- When should our nonprofit consider rebranding?
- What elements of our brand should we update?
- Who should we involve in the rebranding process?
- How should we roll out our new brand?
If you launch into your organization’s rebrand and find that you need help, consider reaching out to a creative design agency. These professionals can answer any additional questions you may have and work with you to take your branding strategy to the next level. But before you ask for help, the answers and tips in this guide will help you get the rebranding process started.
1. When should our nonprofit consider rebranding?
Generally speaking, your organization might choose to rebrand when internal and external factors suggest the change could be beneficial. For example, you might consider rebranding when:
- You’re trying to boost supporter engagement. If you want to attract a new supporter segment or notice that your current brand doesn’t resonate as strongly with your current donor base as it used to, a fresh image can catch supporters’ attention.
- You want to keep up with current design trends. Maybe your marketing content appears outdated because graphic design practices have moved forward in noticeable ways while your branding has remained the same.
- Your nonprofit’s values and personality have shifted. For instance, your old pastel color scheme and decorative typography may have represented your organization’s past desire to come across as friendly and inviting. But now, you may want to convey your trustworthiness and professionalism with more streamlined fonts and bolder colors.
- Your organization has gone through a period of internal transition. Sometimes when a nonprofit’s leadership changes, the new team chooses to rebrand to reflect the new era the organization is entering.
While any of these situations could make you consider rebranding your nonprofit, avoid changing your brand too often. The main purpose of branding is to make your organization recognizable and memorable for your audience, and making significant updates more often than every five or ten years can create confusion. Additionally, before embarking on a rebrand, ensure you have the time and resources available for brainstorming, commissioning, and implementing new brand elements.
2. What elements of our brand should we update?
Even if you wait several years between rebranding efforts, keep in mind that the scope of your updates will likely differ every time. Some rebrands require a full overhaul, while in other cases, you might just need to make a few small changes.
No matter the scope of your rebrand, you’ll likely consider updating one or more of the following elements:
- Color palette. Colors are naturally associated with specific feelings and ideas, so make sure the brand colors you choose align with your organization’s values. For example, having yellow as a primary brand color shows that your nonprofit emphasizes optimism. However, if you’d prefer to convey passion and strength with your brand, you might start using red as your main color instead.
- Typography. Make sure your fonts are easy to read and show your nonprofit’s personality. To add visual variety to your content, use two brand typefaces that complement each other. But avoid using more than three fonts to prevent your content from appearing cluttered.
- Logo. In addition to updating your logo to reflect your new color and font choices, consider whether it would be beneficial to update the style or imagery to reflect your organization’s identity.
- Messaging. The way you write content is just as important to your brand as the visuals you choose. Review your guidelines for tone, word choice, and style so that your written materials accurately communicate your organization’s values.
Loop’s guide to nonprofit branding recommends compiling all of these elements into a single document so that anyone who works on your organization’s communications has a reference for your brand, helping you develop more consistent content. As you rebrand, make sure to update this document with your new brand elements.
3. Who should we involve in the rebranding process?
Because your brand is a representation of your nonprofit’s identity, it’s important to take multiple perspectives into account as you rebrand. Consider consulting the following stakeholders during the rebranding process:
- Board members. As your organization’s main representatives in the community, your board can provide both an internal and external perspective on your nonprofit’s mission and values. Plus, they’ll often need to sign off on the rebrand before you roll it out.
- Staff members. Depending on the nonprofit jobs they hold, each staff member will experience your organization’s day-to-day work differently and therefore will have unique ideas to contribute to the rebrand.
- Supporters. According to NXUnite, asking for supporter feedback is one of the most effective community outreach strategies. And, because supporters’ recognizing your brand is essential for its success, it’s helpful to get their input on what visuals and messaging would make your organization stand out and stick in their minds.
Getting these stakeholders involved early in your rebranding process not only provides new insights into what will make your rebrand succeed, but it also makes everyone aware that you’re rebranding so they aren’t blindsided when you roll out your updates.
4. How should we roll out our new brand?
There are two main things to keep in mind when you’re ready for your rebranding rollout. First, awareness is essential to ensure your brand remains recognizable. Set a date for your big reveal, and communicate regularly with all stakeholders in the weeks leading up to that day.
Second, make sure your rebrand is rolled out consistently across every marketing channel your nonprofit uses. This includes print communications such as fundraising flyers and direct mail, as well as digital channels like email, social media, and your nonprofit’s website. The more your supporters are exposed to your updated brand, the faster they’ll remember it.
The rebranding process will look slightly different for every organization depending on your goals and current brand. However, you should always go in with a clear strategy for why and how you want your rebrand to take place. Use the tips above to get started, and don’t hesitate to reach out to experts with any additional questions.