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9 Components of a Nonprofit Brand Book (Style Guide)

Let’s do a quick exercise. When you see the Disney logo, what do you think of? What about Apple’s apple? McDonald’s arches? Coca-Cola’s wave?

Chances are, you have formed some memory or emotion (good or bad) towards the thought of any of these logos or brands. Branding is powerful. It’s an intangible asset of your nonprofit that goes well beyond a logo. It creates a reputation that has the ability to impact your donors for a lifetime. This is why the characteristics that your brand embodies must remain consistent overtime. Donors can count on this consistency, which equates to trust.

I recently posted articles about how to establish your nonprofit's brand and also provided 8 examples of nonprofit brand books. These are great resources to see finished versions of what every nonprofit should have, which is documentation of your brand standards. When it comes to creating a brand book, consider using the following nine components as an outline of items...

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Nonprofit Branding: Before Logos and Colors, Start With This

Whether you’re a start-up nonprofit or been around for decades, there comes a time when you either establish or refresh your brand. Branding is so much more than having a logo and smacking it everywhere you can. It’s a multi-dimensional force that is used to take residence in the hearts and minds of your donors. There are physical and emotional aspects that work together creating a seemingly real-life personality, drawing people closer to the brand, or in some cases away from the brand. And just like a human personality, deep change comes from within an individual, rather than changing what’s on the surface.

That said, my approach to branding is a lot like self-care, begin within and seek a better understanding of your nonprofit so that its existence can take better care of others. This means taking a dive into your nonprofit’s brand identity. Establishing your nonprofit’s vision, mission, and values helps to set the tone not only from an organizational...

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