Sunday, October 10, 2010

Revitalize Your Nonprofit's Brand Image

Just recently I was a part of internal discussions of a 30 years old professional body where best brains from different disciplines mulled over the need for 're-branding' the organisation to attract more members, and improve participation in various events. The brain-storming did brought out some key issues of repositioning the organisation, engaging families of members in activities, getting involved in social activities, and even redefining the vision statement. 
Well, when I asked the participating members about "what made them join the organisation?", the response itself laid bare the inconsistencies between expectations of members from their organisation and what they got. 
Surprisingly many professionals were looking for wanting to look for self-actualisation needs whereas the association was focusing more on doing activities that were not addressing those needs. 
The mission or the vision, despite being there, was not shared with members, and nor the new inductions ever got the feel of it. The absence of long term goals did not engage the members who could feel themselves a part of the organisation. No shared goals. No short-term or long-term goals. No attempt to institutionalise the operations. No plans to raise the corpus that kept the activities minimal and frugal lest they overshot the available kitty. 
Unlike the commercial world, where buyers and sellers maintain a well-defined relationship, in an NGO or a professional management body, the relationship between its members, and other stakeholders has to be nurtured with shared convictions.  
Ken Burnett in his book Zen of Fundraising (Jossey Bass 2006) defines nonprofit's brand as "the set of ideas, image, feelings, beliefs, and values that are carried around in a person's head."
That's true for every brand, commercial or otherwise. It is the set of perceptions about an organisation that every individual carries in his/head, and emotional connects with the brand or the values that it portrays. 
In an era, when an individual has numerous choices available to address individual's emotional context, a nonprofit has to identify its niche, have clear goals, and excite its members to be a part of a much larger mission through collective participation. 
To reposition and strengthen your brand, follow the CorePR's Branding Rules
a. Define your vision. What is your key mission! What is our promise?
b. Communicate unified, standardised message
c. What do you want to achieve in the next one, two, five or ten years? 
d. What are the values that you wish your members to imbibe and portray? 
e. How would you like your organisation to be perceived amongst your stakeholders?
f. Identify your key stakeholders. Understand each segment's personal preferences, needs, etc. Most importantly, the first and foremost key stakeholders of a nonprofit are its members.
g. Customise your deliverables to meet the need of each stakeholder. 
h. Innovate. How different is your organisation in terms of its deliverables?
i. Do conduct periodic communication and social audit to assess whether the needs of the stakeholders are being addressed effectively?
j. How effectively we are using ICT to keep everyone fully informed and involved?
k. Leverage technology and entertainment as additional plug-ins to customise delivery of your products/services or rather more importantly, your brand promise. 
l. Nurture your nonprofit through consistently innovative yet engaging fund-raising ideas. The membership subscriptions or casual donations are not enough to maintain sustained development of a nonprofit. It must be built into regular activity plan. 
m. Lastly, keep your brand dynamic, relevant and vibrant to achieve sizable mind-share in the minds of its stakeholders. 

No comments:

Honey Singh's songs scare away wild pigs

Different behaviorial scientists have experimented on the impact of various wild and domesticated animals from time to time, and while ma...