How to develop your nonprofit brand: An interview with Christopher Lee

Part two of a three part series

Many people confuse marketing and branding. Some think a logo is a brand. Not so, a logo is one manifestation of a brand. Here’s what we learned from Christopher E. Lee, CEO of Think Inspired, “Branding is a component of marketing. Within the promotion element of a marketing campaign, branding is the way in which an organization informs its target audience of why it is relevant.”

What is your brand? An interview with Christopher E. Lee

                        Christopher E. Lee, CEO of Think Inspired

We had the opportunity to talk with Lee, and we share this summary of Lee’s wisdom with you to help you and your organization increase your knowledge of “brand” and why it is important for nonprofits to know and monitor their brand.

How does the branding process begin? Branding begins with questions: What is your mission and vision? Who are the key individuals – internal to the organization, and external – who are responsible for delivering on your mission and vision? How do they view the brand? Do they see their brand as a local, regional, national or international one? The branding process also includes a close look at organizational culture.  If an organization is rife with turmoil, mistrust and/or apathy, the branding process can become complicated.  You also need the key organizational leaders and their team on board with the branding process. Without that alignment and support it can be very challenging to execute a branding strategy.

How to develop your nonprofit brand What can an organization expect as the “deliverables” when engaging in the branding process? Organizations can expect to receive a unique set of brand identity components such as; a logo, official color schemes, and tagline.  These will be the basis for all future, online and offline marketing elements.

What are the key elements of a branding program? Branding is a component of marketing. Specifically, it is part of an organization’s promotion. As such, the most critical aspects of a brand campaign are “reach” and “frequency.”  How far does the organization’s branding tactic reach? How often are members of the organization’s target audience exposed to the brand (frequency)? The third critical element is the brand’s “call to action.” Is your desire to garner donors, get votes, or increase turnout at an event?  Whatever your desired response, a successful branding campaign will incent viewers to take the desired action.

How to develop your nonprofit brandHow does an organization know if its brand is “working?” There are quantitative and qualitative analyses that can be conducted regarding the opinions and perceptions of stakeholders, relative to their brand experience.  Many mature, national and/or global nonprofits, have focus groups and opinion surveys performed by outside researchers to gain nonbiased results re: what people think of their brand and/or specific elements and activations the brand at various points in time.  Smaller, more grassroots nonprofits may want to look at conducting an internal and community-wide opinion survey every three-to-five years to assess what people are thinking about their brand. These opinion surveys can also serve as benchmarks for identifying organizational, branding, and messaging improvement opportunities.

Next week we’ll deepen our conversation with Lee. In the meantime, you can reach him at or 901-201-4419.


Part One —What Is Your Brand?

Part Two — How to Develop Your Nonprofit Brand

Part Three — When Does Your Nonprofit Need to Rebrand?

Don’t forget:

Copyright 2019 – Mel and Pearl Shaw

When you are ready to build a fund development program, grow your fundraising, or increase board engagement we are here to help. (901) 522-8727.

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1 comment on “How to develop your nonprofit brand: An interview with Christopher Lee”

  1. Pingback: What is your brand? An interview with Christopher E. Lee | Saad&Shaw

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