Why is Brand Design Important for Charities, NGOs, and Social Enterprises?
We often talk about the difference having a strong brand and visual identity can make in business. But what about the impact it can make in the purpose-driven world? The same way that a strong visual identity can enable businesses to make more money, can also help charities, NGOs and social enterprises to gain more funding and support, and ultimately make more impact. It's about building trust, connecting with your audience, and being memorable and recognisable. And the benefits of all this can go a lot deeper than you may have initially thought. So let's break it down into 5 key reasons why brand design is worth investing in for your charity, social enterprise, or NGO.
1. Gain trust from investors and donors, meaning more funding for your work
Your visual identity will often be the first thing people see when interacting with your brand, and it only takes 7 seconds to form a first impression. Therefore, optimising your visual identity to work for you and communicate the right thing is essential in these initial stages.
A messy, unprofessional, inconsistently implemented, or misaligned visual identity, can make your organisation come across as chaotic, untrustworthy and confusing. This is the last thing you want when you are pitching for funding, or trying to earn the trust of donors.
Conversely, when your visual identity looks professional, is consistent, and is aligned with your organisation's purpose, values, and mission, people are more likely to trust what you're saying and see you as credible. For funders and donors, this alignment between your visuals and your words eliminates any confusion they could have had, and helps them to fully grasp who you are and what you do. This means they are more likely to confidently trust you with their money.
2. Motivate people to become members, volunteers and supporters of your work
A strong visual identity should be able to increase visibility and recognisability for your organisation. Not only will your visuals be more memorable, they will connect with your desired audience on a much deeper level. A visual identity that is crafted with your specific audiences in mind, is accessible and appealing to them, and seeks to create an emotional response, can inspire them to get involved and to support your work.
Not only this, but a professional brand design with clear brand guidelines enables the creation of high quality promotional materials, campaigns, and websites. This will help your organisation to come across as organised, reputable and trustworthy, meaning your audience are more likely to take that step forward and support you.
3. Foster meaningful connection and engagement within your community
You've successfully motivated people to join your community, but your brand doesn't stop working for you there. If designed well, your visual identity can strengthen your community building efforts by fostering a sense of belonging among your members, leading to more community engagement. The presence of a strong visual identity that is consistently utilised through your online and physical spaces can also help make them feel part of a community dedicated to a joint mission.
It is the tangibility of your visuals; your logos, your colours, your typography, that gives people something to identify with and relate to your organisation. It can help shape how they think about you and the rest of the community. Therefore if this is done well, they will think about you positively, feel safe and accepted, and will want to engage with your organisation.
4. Demonstrate the value in your paid offers or products, enabling you to charge more for them
Without a strong visual identity, potential customers may be hesitant to spend much on what they're buying from you, or even buy at all. This is because they assume what they're buying is of lower quality.
However, if people can see you've got a really strong visual appearance, and your messaging, visuals and offer are aligned, they'll be more likely to see the value in it. This means they'll trust you and will be willing to spend more money on it.
5. Foster partnerships, and open doors to new opportunities and growth
Given that a strong visual identity can increase your organisation's brand awareness and visibility, it will become easier for potentials partners and supporters to connect with your organisation. Your unique visuals will increase your memorability and recognisability, enabling you to stand out from others doing similar things and position you as the leader in your field. You will also be able to position yourself as a trusted partner. This is because potential partners will be able to see how well you present yourself, and will therefore presume that your organisation is legitimate, trustworthy, and organised.
The Take Home Message
Through designing a strong and intentional visual identity: you'll be able to gain trust from investors, donors and volunteers; grow your community and foster meaningful engagement; appear credible to potential partners; and earn more from your paid offers.
If you're interested in knowing more about the brand design process and what's involved check out my brand design page.
And if you want to chat about how we could make your charity or NGO branding work better for your cause? I'd love to hear from you: