Simply putting on a doctor's uniform does not make someone a doctor. Yet many organizations' branding efforts do just that--focus solely on looks. In a new book from the AFP Fund Development Series, authors explain that a breakthrough brand actually helps clarify the nonprofit's very purpose.
According to the book Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding, a brand is a collection of perceptions about an organization, formed by its every communication, action and interaction. It is what people collectively say, feel and think about your organization. Branding, then, means that you articulate what your organization stands for. It means putting forth a compelling, focused idea that sets it apart and is meaningful to supporters.
In short, a breakthrough nonprofit brand "convinces the head, touches the heart and engages the hands." People understand what you are about, are drawn to the cause, and they have an experience with your organization that matches their expectations.
In addition, a breakthrough brand actually drives your organization's strategy. Through branding you tell people who you are, what you stand for and what you do. Your organization, then, has to carry out that promise. Breakthrough brands provide an overriding idea that "drives strategy and infuses every decision, activity and communication with a deeper and distinctive purpose."
Purpose, Not Packaging
Done well, branding moves beyond simply putting a new "face" on your organization or fundraising campaign. It is not about devising a new look, logo or language. Breakthrough branding ties the organization or campaign to a larger purpose or cause, expresses what the organization achieves for others, and aims to build relationships in the long term. And, unlike what the authors call "traditional branding," breakthrough branding involves everyone in the organization, not just the marketing or communications team. In short, you are not just saying it, you are doing it.
Breakthrough branding also involves making a shift in thinking. Your aim is not just to be well known, but to be "well owned," in other words, you should aim to make interactions meaningful. "Being better known does not equate to being better understood or valued," note authors Jocelyne Daw and Carol Cone. "Mass awareness is helpful, but it does not necessarily lead to support and less surely to love." Rather than experiencing themselves as mere names on a list, with a breakthrough brand supporters feel a pride of ownership and view the organization as an extension of themselves and a means to achieve goals they value.
Daw and Cone explain that meaningful two-way engagement accomplishes far more than any controlled message from the top ever could.
Importantly, building a breakthrough nonprofit brand does not have to be prohibitively expensive. Smart branding is about strategy, not costly ad campaigns, the authors explain. In fact, they argue that branding is one of the most cost-effective ways to strengthen and sustain and organization.
Daw and Cone offer seven guiding principles for establishing a breakthrough nonprofit brand, listed below.
Principle One: Discover the Authentic Meaning of Your Brand
The authentic meaning of your brand provides the focus and framework for building your organization's strategies. It is the bridge between an organization's unwavering mission and its evolving strategies.
Principle Two: Embed Your Brand Meaning Across the Organization
A breakthrough brand embeds its meaning into every organizational function, from people management to information technology systems.
Principle Three: Rally Internal Brand Ambassadors
Potential supporters are often introduced to nonprofit brands through contact with internal constituents such as staff and volunteers.
Principle Four: Develop 360 Degree Brand Communications
Find authentic, compelling stories and utilize a variety of integrated communications, including online and off-line tools.
Principle Five: Expand Your Brand by Mobilizing an External Community
Provide a host of opportunities for supporters to interact with the organization in ways that align with the core brand meaning.
Principle Six: Cultivate Partners to Extend Your Brand Reach and Influence
A truly breakthrough nonprofit brand values strategic alliances that offer access to new expertise, relationships and assets.
Principle Seven: Leverage Your Brand for Alternative Revenue and Value
Charities can generate alternative revenue streams by mixing entrepreneurship, service delivery, savvy marketing and creative fundraising. Increasingly, nonprofits are applying for-profit business concepts to address social and community challenges.
Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding: Seven Principles to Power Extraordinary Results offers case studies and examples, and offers clear principles for making a powerful brand. The book is part of the AFP Fund Development Series published by Wiley.
AFP is proud to announce that President Bill Clinton will address the participants of the AFP International Conference on Fundraising during the opening session, Sunday afternoon, March 20, in Chicago, Ill. He will speak to fundraisers on the topic of “Embracing our Common Humanity.” Early-bird registration for this dynamic event, running March 20-22, ends Friday, Dec. 17.
Don’t miss it! Register today!
Nonprofit organizations have seen a slight turnaround in giving so far this year that mirrors the slow economic recovery, a new survey from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative (NRC) finds. But the small rebound hasn’t been enough to help many nonprofits that are grappling with staff and service cuts even as demand for their services has increased.
The national survey showed that 36 percent of charities reported an increase in donations in the first nine months of 2010, compared with only 23 percent in the same period of 2009.
Thirty-seven percent of charities reported a decrease in giving, a dramatic change from 2009's 51 percent. Among those experiencing a decline in giving, the main reason cited was fewer individual donations and smaller amounts. Lower amounts received from foundations and corporations also contributed to the overall lower giving amounts at these charities. Giving remained unchanged at 26 percent of nonprofits in 2010 vs. 25 percent in 2009.
"We are beginning to see some positive signs, but despite that giving still has a long way to go to return to the levels it was at three or four years ago," said Patrick M. Rooney, executive director of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, which spearheaded the collaboration. "One-fifth of charities in the survey said their budgets for 2011 will be lower than for 2010, forcing many of them to look at cuts in services, salaries and staff."
Among the 20 percent of nonprofits anticipating reduced budgets next year, 66 percent say they will have to reduce programs, services or operating hours, 59 percent expect to cut or freeze staff salaries or benefits, and 49 percent are planning layoffs or hiring freezes.
The survey is the first product of a collaboration involving six organizations that serve the nonprofit sector: the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Blackbaud, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the Foundation Center, GuideStar USA Inc., and the Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics.
"For the first time in two years, there is cause for cautious optimism about the nonprofit sector in this economy," said Bob Ottenhoff, president and CEO of GuideStar. "Nonetheless, in this latest study, as in all prior years, nonprofits also are reporting increased demand for their services. Even as giving increases, philanthropic dollars fall short of the amounts needed to help people in our country and abroad."
Demand for services increased at 78 percent of human service nonprofits and 68 percent of charities overall in 2010. Charities will be hard-pressed in 2011 to secure funding for growing needs, especially as individual and foundation donors are cautious about boosting support and other sources of funding-including government contracts for services-are cut.
"Younger, less well-established nonprofits have been especially hard hit by the recession," noted Lawrence T. McGill, vice president for research at the Foundation Center. "Many foundations, seeking to maximize more limited resources, have steered their grantmaking toward organizations they believe have the best chance to weather the economic storm."
Other Key NRC Survey Findings:
The Collaborative and Survey Methodology
By working together, the Collaborative can reduce the number of surveys nonprofits are asked to complete, collect information more efficiently, and analyze it in more useful ways to create the benchmarks and trends that nonprofits and grant makers use to guide their work. Each partner has at least a decade of direct experience collecting information from nonprofits on charitable receipts, fundraising practices, and/or grantmaking activities. Survey participants will form a panel over time, allowing for trend comparisons among the same organizations. This approach provides more useful benchmarking information than repeated cross-sectional studies.
The first NRC survey, based on questions that GuideStar used for its annual economic surveys, was fielded between October 19 and November 3, 2010. It received 2,513 responses. More than 2,350 charities completed the questions, as did 163 foundations. The analysis for grant makers includes responses from charities that make grants but that are not foundations. These include United Ways, Jewish federations, congregations, and a number of other types of organizations. There were responses from 386 grant makers.
The respondents form a convenience sample. There is no margin of error or measure of statistical significance using this sampling technique, as it is not a random sample of the population studied. However, given the long-running nature of GuideStar's economic surveys and the strong relationship between findings in those studies in prior years and actual results once tax data about charitable giving are available, the method employed here is a useful barometer of what charities experience and what total giving will look like.
In the future, the NRC surveys are expected to occur in early winter, spring, and fall every year.
More information about the Collaborative and the full report, which includes responses broken out by types of nonprofits and budget size, are available at http://www2.guidestar.org/rxg/news/publications/nonprofits-and-economy-october-2010.aspx.
To speak with representatives of the partner organizations, contact:
Association of Fundraising Professionals:
Michael Nilsen, 425-890-6628, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie Mathos, 843-654-3307, email@example.com
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University:
Adriene Davis, 317-278-8972, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Foundation Center:
Vanessa Schnaidt, 212-807-2518, email@example.com
Lindsay Nichols, 202-637-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Urban Institute's National Center for Charitable Statistics:
Simona Combi, 202-261-5709, email@example.com
Our lives and our world are defined by community.
We are, in many ways, the sum of the communities to which we belong. On the most basic level, this means that geography: countries, provinces, cities, towns, as well as our jobs, schools, profession—to name just a few—help to define who we are.
But our community includes much more, such as our friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances. And with the rise of the Internet, geography no longer limits our communities, as we can form online relationships with others who share our interests.
Why are communities so important? Because we need each other, not only to survive, but to thrive. No woman or man is an island—we all depend on one another. Only by working together can we prosper and improve the quality of life for everyone.
Philanthropy is that idea in action—a community in action—working together to better the whole. Through giving, volunteering and participating, communities are accomplishing amazing things every day – feeding the hungry, healing the sick, educating children, providing training for workers, among countless other tasks and responsibilities.
And that’s what we celebrate on National Philanthropy Day®. Each of us. And our community. Working together. Though charities and other efforts. Through that work, we are changing the world in a very real and positive way by directly affecting the lives of everyone around us.
This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Philanthropy Day. For 25 years, we’ve been celebrating the extraordinary impact that philanthropy makes around the world. For 25 years, we’ve recognized and honored those individuals and organizations that make a difference every day.
To learn more about National Philanthropy Day® and obtain information about giving and volunteering, go to the official website or mobile website.
Whether you’re a fundraiser, donor, volunteer, nonprofit manager or in any way involved in philanthropy, thank you for your dedication and selflessness. Together, in communities large and small, we are—slowly but surely—changing the world and improving the quality of life for all people.
Women at virtually every income level are more likely to give to charity and to give more money on average than their male counterparts, after controlling for education, income and other factors that influence giving, new research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.
"Looking at giving across five different income groups, which range roughly from $23,000 to $100,000 a year, it is clear that it is not only wealthy women who give," said Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute. "Women across nearly every income category give significantly more than their male counterparts--in many cases, nearly twice as much."
Women Give 2010 is the first report to compare philanthropic giving between men and women in the U.S. across all income levels based on a nationally representative sample. It uses data from the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS), the nation's largest study that tracks giving patterns among the same households over time.
"In the past, research has shown that women give smaller amounts and spread it around," Mesch explained in an interview Monday with eWire. "In other words, they give more frequently and to a larger number of charities. But what was surprising to me from this research was that women give higher dollar amounts. In some categories it's almost twice as much as men, and there was consistency across income levels. Female-headed households give more."
Previous studies of gender and philanthropy have relied on data related to giving by households and married couples, making the effects of gender on giving difficult to identify. Women Give 2010 analyzed only giving by households headed by single people in order to examine gender differences. Researchers controlled for factors that affect philanthropic behavior such as income, age, race, education, number of children, and more to allow direct comparisons between men and women.
The study compared and controlled for different types of singles. Never married and divorced women were more likely to give and to give more than males of the same marital status; however, widowed men give more than widowed women, the study found.
In every income bracket except for one, women give more than men. The most dramatic differences are in the lowest, middle, and highest brackets where women give almost double the amount of men. The exception is women in the second lowest income bracket ($23,509 to $43,500), who give 32 percent less than men.
The study involved approximately 2,500 men and women in a nationally representative sample.
"These findings have the potential to affect both donors and charities significantly," Mesch said. "Women may not realize they are giving more than men because their giving patterns differ. Understanding the power of their giving may encourage more women to consider the difference they can make with their giving. Nonprofits may see this as a reminder to pay closer attention to the philanthropic power of women and the importance of developing fundraising strategies that will appeal to their priorities."
The full report is available at: www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/womengive.