Elyse Haines, Marketing Director  ●  2/27/2020

You Can Build Strong Donor Relationships With a Strong Brand


What comes to your mind when you think of your brand? You might think of your charity’s logo, or color scheme, or perhaps even your fonts and PMS colors.

But a brand is so much more than your nonprofit’s style guide and founding information. Ignyte’s definition is spot on: 

“A brand is the way a company, organization, or individual is perceived by those who experience it. More than simply a name, term, design, or symbol, a brand is the recognizable feeling a product or business evokes.”  

Just as for-profit companies use consistent, ubiquitous brands to sell more widgets, a strong brand can help build strong communities for nonprofits — communities consisting of donors, volunteers, and potential clients.


Here’s the catch: Building a unified brand for your nonprofit is particularly difficult if your organization contains internal silos and divisions. And we’re not talking about real or perceived tension between fundraising and brand marketing. Your donors see one charity when they look at you — although you may run thrift stores, host employee giving campaigns, sponsor community-based events, or have a structured geographical hierarchy, all of which may be overseen by individual teams within your organization.

Brand consistency becomes even more challenging as you communicate with your constituents across multiple channels. From your donor’s perspective, your messages generally come from one person, in one voice, whether you’re talking to her in direct mail, or on social media, at an event, or in a TV spot.


Here are 7 tips to build a strong brand for your nonprofit that will build strong donor relationships:

  1. Make sure your messages and voice across departments and channels are consistent.
  2. Synchronize your fundraising messaging schedule with that of your brand marketing department.
  3. Create a brand guideline document that goes beyond a graphic style guide. Include guidelines for voice, belief statements, stories, and other content.
  4. Let your values and mission drive your brand. Make sure your nonprofit’s entire staff knows these by heart.
  5. Host frequent touch-base meetings with other communication departments to get fundraising, brand marketing, public relations, and customer service all on the same page.
  6. Consider your audience’s holistic experience with your charity.
  7. Embrace repetition in your donor communications.


At TrueSense, we believe that donor marketing should be all about your donor’s experience with you. In order to build a long-term, fruitful relationship with your donor, it’s imperative that you engage with her under one clearly defined brand. In her mind, whether she shops at your thrift store, participates in your community 10K, makes a gift to you through her employer, or donates directly through a direct mail reply envelope, she’s still relating to you.


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