Hudson vs Merrilees – the battle of brands and income generation


“Branding should be a critical issue for charities because it has been shown to impact dramatically on income.” (Hudson, 2008)


“Brand is seen as a cost not a strategic investment.” (Merrilees, 2007)

Sound familiar? As a bit of a self-confessed non-profit brand nerd I had been spotting quite a lot of articles in the press saying things like this example from Civil Society in 2012.

Right, so Hudson’s right then.

However, look closer and you’ll spot a pattern. The charities on Team Hudson are the bigger ones.

What I was seeing when working on the ground with smaller charities was a lot of examples on the side of Merrilees.

Ummm, Hudson… we have a problem.

Chances are that the staff, volunteers and trustees who are involved with the 97.2% of charities with incomes of £1m or less, will be on Team Merrilees,

Merrilees had probably found a good reason for this a couple of years earlier when investigating brands in small enterprises with Wong.

“Small organisations face enormous pressures to focus on short-term service delivery to the exclusion of strategic brand investment.” (Wong and Merrilees, 2005)

But what if Hudson was right? And small charities are missing a trick by not seeing brand as a strategic investment. Perhaps even a tool for helping them out of straitened times, as their big counterparts seemed to be doing?

The Small Charity Brand Survey set out to investigate.

Please come and hear the results at our presentation at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention on 8 July at 3pm. We are also giving away a guide to help you use the findings of the Small Charity Brand Survey to move your charity closer to Team Hudson – regardless of its size.

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