A Dash of Pepper: Non-Profit Branding

We are excited  to introduce the latest installment of “A Dash of Pepper”, our brand building blog brought to you by the branding/communications/marketing minds behind the pepper group ltd.

This month’s topic: Non-Profit Branding.

TPG’s brand strategy expertise is not limited to a B2C/B2B clientele; we’ve worked on a variety of charitable initiatives over the years, as well as with various not-for- profit organizations, most notably our current client Brooklawn Child & Family Services, a non-profit home that serves over 100 children, ages 6-18, who suffer from abuse, neglect and other serious traumas.  Through this partnership we have increased Brooklawn’s awareness, specifically through consistent, memorable messaging; with ideas that have improved campus “home life” for the children; and by methods that have allowed those children to experience the world outside the Brooklawn campus, with exposure to movies, libraries, sports activities, and other integral components of a child’s interpersonal and social development.

Based on our experience we share the following, which we strongly feel are the foundations for notable, noticeable – and most importantly, meaningful  ̶  non-profit branding.


It is essential that non-profit organizations fully understand the importance of developing a strong identity that conveys the organization is indeed a brand; a brand that is interpreted and understood as effectively as any consumer product or entity would be.  This involves highly targeted branding techniques unique to the world of non-profits and, of course, strong messaging that resonates with the audience whether they are donors, volunteers, community leaders, or government influencers.   Therefore to create said ‘brand’, the implementation of  a hierarchy is essential due to the complexity of what non-profits offer. Primary identifiers must hone in on the overall essence of the organization, while secondary identifiers communicate the specific areas on which non-profits should focus, e.g., counseling, child services, community-based services, independent living, research, residential care, etc.  At the end of the day it’s about a solid and enduring non-profit brand identity, one that is carefully developed and nurtured, inspires support from the community (or nation/worldwide), and one that distinguishes it from other philanthropic organizations engaged in similar work.


By virtue of its DNA, an inherent asset exists for the creation of powerful branding tactics and initiatives that will compel  citizens and communities to support non-profit organizations.  Each and every non-profit has the opportunity to instill emotion…that “gut” feeling human beings possess. With such emotion-inducing branding, the non-profit’s image will become highly approachable, one interpreted as friendly and performing meaningful work.  Here the branding is all about the emotional and social needs; you’re not branding a throwaway consumer product, you’re branding a living, breathing experience, one with heart and soul, and one that people should want to care about.  Along with this tactic, there a balance of confidence, professionalism, and stability must exist; the non-profit should be careful to not go overly “warm & fuzzy” and neglect the business side of its operations. All of this will provide for a strong organization identity, one that is both personal and professional and one with powerful resonance as it relates to life experiences, particularly for those in need or the multitudes that provide essential services, to generate that “gut” feeling the audience surely has.


A fundamental element that must be applied to any non-profit branding is clarity.  And clarity in this case has a dual purpose: its receptivity from everyone within the organization, as well as for the audience to whom the brand messaging is intended.  Internally all non-profit branding efforts should begin by establishing a solid Vision & Mission that is easily understood and articulated, for complete buy-in from everyone within the organization. Secondly, non-profits must set goals for successful branding for the immediate and the future, goals that are aspirational and attainable, to ensure the organization’s success whether now or five years down the road. Externally, brand clarity is essential for the success of non-profit organization perception in the public domain as the methodologies and tactics employed have the power to motivate donors, volunteers, et al, to support the non-profit and its beneficiaries.  We believe the best non-profit branding is steeped in clarity, fully embraced from within and for the public, with messaging that elicits positive, emotional responses everyone understands and identifies with, and which the organization consistently stands for and stands behind.

Some other news:

We are also excited to  be apart of the latest news from Brooklawn and Bellewood Home for Children are pursuing a merger which would allow the new entity to provide a broader continuum of care to more vulnerable children throughout Kentucky. Our firm has been involved in the brand planning of the planned “new entity”, should the merger take place. An exciting and challenging assignment indeed! See the story here: http://bit.ly/PTnQXW

Speak Your Mind