Nonprofits Need Branding Too

  •    Erin is co-founder of PALS, Inc., a non-profit that enhances social and communication skills for children with autism, ADHD, and other social learning difficulties.

When my partner and I first launched our nonprofit, branding was low on our priority list. With so many other things to think about, it just wasn’t on our radar screen. People had advice on everything – how to rent a space, what type of accounting software to use – but no one ever talked about branding. But now that we have a solid brand in place, we realize how fundamental it is to any business.

When we started thinking about our brand, we were determined to do it ourselves to save money. We thought it would be really easy. We read and researched. But when it came to actually creating our logo and website, we hit a wall and got frustrated. Through some outside help and elbow grease, we now have a beautiful brand in place that has made a big difference for our nonprofit.

Below are the lessons I’ve learned about branding a nonprofit and why it’s so worth the effort.

Branding starts with a mission.

The name of our organization, “PALS” stands for Play, Acceptance, Language and Social Learning. Our mission is to provide kids with autism, ADHD, and other social learning difficulties with a safe environment to practice communication and social skills. We go beyond just helping the kids. We help the whole family by creating a place where kids and family members can connect on a deeper and more meaningful level. This mission is our driving force and motivator. It’s been such an inspiration to us to fill this important need in our community.

Branding is a team sport.

Probably the biggest lesson we learned is that trying to do branding on your own is a waste of time – and not fun! Finding outside help for our brand made our lives so much easier. At first we looked at hiring a graphic designer, but we quickly found out we couldn’t afford one. We then looked at some options online, but a lot of them steered us in a “kiddie” direction that didn’t feel right to us. We wanted something more classic and timeless that would appeal to a broader audience.

Then we found out about Brand Genie. Brand Genie offers a really simple and affordable way to get a great brand. The first step of Brand Genie guided us to our recommended brand. This guidance was especially helpful for getting my partner and I on the same page. It was a really fun process and was great since neither of us has a background in branding.

After choosing our brand, we got an incredible brand package through Brand Genie that included a logo and website. The end result is a clean and beautiful logo and website that our clients love. And the price was definitely right for our nonprofit budget.

Good branding is good business – especially for a nonprofit.

Since we’ve launched our brand, we’ve received so many compliments on our brand. In fact, our website is the first thing people talk about. They love how easy it is to navigate. They love the colors and the how streamlined the use of fonts is. Our clients find it so much easier to access the information they need because of the calm, clean look of our brand.

Whether you’re a huge retail chain or a small nonprofit, a good brand is a critical tool for engaging your target audience. Having a brand in place that’s consistent and meshes with our core values has been one of the best business decisions we’ve made so far. And it’s fun!