Modernising Your Branding – 3 Branding Tips Your Charity Can Implement Today

Is your charity’s branding in need of an update? If you’re on the fence, be sure to check out our ‘4 signs your brand needs a refresh’ article, otherwise, stick with us to uncover top tips and tricks your nonprofit needs to know when updating your brand.  

Why your charity needs to modernise its branding

For some, branding is thought of as nothing more than a front to sell products – this could not be further from the truth. Your brand is essentially your identity. It’s the image you create for your target audience that allows them to build relationships with you and develop that level of trust that is oh so important for charities to obtain. 

So yes, it’s more than just your logo and brand colours. It’s a rich identity that helps to humanise your charity and differentiate you from other nonprofits. In today’s digital age, having an up-to-date brand is more important than ever, with an increasing number of organisations competing to be seen on the overcrowded stage that is the world wide web. Modernising your charity’s branding will help to ensure you are seen and heard everywhere from social media to offline by building a memorable image that resonates with your target audience and conveys your mission and values. But updating your brand is no small feat. You need to consider a lot of aspects and really think about whether now is the right time to implement these changes.

Branding tips and tricks your charity can implement today

#1 Create consistency with brand guidelines

Consistency is the key to building a strong brand for your charity. So, whether you’re in the process of updating your branding or have recently taken steps to modernise your brand, be sure to create a central document that clearly outlines every aspect of your brand for your team to refer to (aka brand guidelines). 

This document will ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your brand and communications and will help you to build a powerful brand for your charity. And of course, for your guidelines to be effective, they must be regularly updated as and when any changes are made to your charity’s branding. 

Macmillan brand guidelines - charity example
Macmillan brand guidelines (credit: Dragon Rogue)

Remember: great charity branding doesn’t just mean consistency in terms of visuals, it means every aspect of your brand is consistent across every channel – online or offline – and allows users to instantly recognise who you are and what you do. Having a central document for members from various departments to access removes the guesswork and enables a clear, consistent brand to be built across everything you do.

Some examples of things you’ll want to define when updating your charity’s brand guidelines include:

  • Colour palette
  • Logo
  • Imagery
  • Typography
  • Tone/ voice

#2 Consider your charity’s target audience when updating your branding

Since your brand is used as a means to control your audiences’ perceptions of your charity and build relationships with them, understanding who they are and what makes them tick is essential when updating your branding. 

Whether you’re developing your messaging or updating your visuals, your charity’s target audience must be at the forefront of your mind. Get specific and create audience personas. Then, think about what will engage and resonate most with them. Research and testing are essential here. You want to build a brand that will be with you for the long run, so don’t leave it to chance. 

#3 Tell a story

If you’re looking to modernise your charity’s branding, storytelling should be at the core of your strategy. When it comes to driving donations and getting new volunteers on board, you need to appeal to both the head and heart. By this we mean your branding needs to convince the head by communicating your mission clearly and evidencing your achievements meanwhile pulling on the heartstrings by using personal stories to bring your cause to life and make it that much more compelling – because no matter the industry, emotion sells.

Computer donation charity, Turing Trust, regularly interview beneficiaries to highlight the importance of donations.

Storytelling is a powerful tool every nonprofit should be using to build their brand. It provides context and humanises your cause, allowing donors to relate to and connect with your brand on a whole new level. But for storytelling to be effective for your brand, it must be authentic. Today’s consumers can spot a phoney tale from a mile off, so if you don’t yet have a beneficiary’s story to tell, look elsewhere or hold off until you’re ready. Equally, whilst beneficiary stories will help to build your brand over time, to develop it effectively, you need to start at the core. Tell your charity’s story focusing on what makes you different and why people should support you. Think back to your audience personas and link everything back to them; the language you use, the points you raise, everything needs to be relevant to them and tie back to your mission and vision. 

Other tips for effective storytelling to enhance your charity’s branding include:

  • Use accompanying visuals where possible: a picture is worth a thousand words, so if you can include even one, it will help to significantly reinforce your message and add depth to your brand. Even better, if you have the option to conduct video interviews, do so. Video is one of the most engaging forms of content, and it can be repurposed and shared across multiple channels again and again. 
  • Stick with one character for each story: focusing on one hero character for each story will make it easier for your audience to relate to your cause. And the more relevant and relatable your story is, the more likely they are to take action. 
  • Always link it back: whilst you don’t want to explicitly talk about your brand, you will want to link the story back to your work and mission in some way. Share not just how your beneficiary’s life has been impacted, but your role in that and how the donors’ support has enabled you to complete this. 

Looking for help with your charity’s branding? Get in touch to organise your free consultation now or check out our case studies to discover how we have helped organisations achieve big with branding.


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