Defining and understanding charity branding

What do you mean by charity branding?

The language of branding does not fit with charity values!

Branding – it’s a dirty word!

My trustees don’t understand branding.

Supporters and funders do not support us spending money on branding.

Any of these sound familiar?

Yet research has established that branding can bring many benefits to large non-profit organisations. And a research study we did with Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness found that many of these benefits are within the reach of small charities too.

However, before you can value charity branding the starting point is to define what you mean by branding and identify the benefits you are looking for. Our study drew up models to help organisations of all sizes, but particularly smaller charities, define branding and its benefits.

Branding continuum

(Select and click to view in full)

Brand management continuum copyright Red Pencil

Brand management continuum copyright Red Pencil

The brand management model takes the form of a continuum as there will be times when organisations move along from left to right and right to left in order to strategically manage their brands. Other organisations will be at different ‘starting’ points on the continuum.

Branding benefits

outcomes post survey -tested with small charities

outcomes post survey -tested with small charities

outputs post survey - tested with small charities

outputs post survey – tested with small charities

The benefits of branding were measured in outcomes (the attributes that are easier to measure) and outcomes (the longer-term attributes and functions). This was to test charities’ intuitive feelings about the benefits their brands were delivering and the more tangible impacts.

Brand challenges

Of course, some organisations can face challenges to branding – all the quotations at the top of this post were taken from our study or other research. We identified the main challenges that were found in the research with large charities and SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) and tested these with small charities to find the ones that resonated best with them. These were the results.

Brand management barriers copyright Red Pencil

Brand management barriers copyright Red Pencil

Knowing what the main challenges are can help air them in organisations and we’ve written on tips to manage brand barriers on this blog for LocalGiving.

Using our models

We are keen for small charities to use our models and then share your experiences. Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness will be publishing the findings of our research next year and we want to include some feedback from small charities.

Please answer these questions about our brand models and you could win a free brand consultation. Your responses may also be appear in Cass CCE’s publication raising your own brand profile!

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