The evolving relationship of the nonprofit sector to branding
Until recently, branding was a dirty word in many nonprofit organizations. Not anymore.
Branding used to conjure up images of profit-driven marketing executives sitting in high-rise offices of the likes of Coca-Cola and MacDonald’s. The few nonprofits that adopted branding early on were suspected by others to compromise their ethical values and to loose track of their social mission.
That was yesterday. Today, an increasing number of nonprofit organizations are embracing the concept of branding. These organizations believe that a brand is not only a tool to enhance their fundraising and visibility but also a way to drive their mission and impact more broadly.
This is the conclusion of a newly released study by the Hauser Center on Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University. Based on an 18-month research project involving 73 interviews with practitioners and scholars in 41 organizations, the study analyses current attitudes and branding practices in the nonprofit sector. It proposes a valuable framework to think about the specific role that brands play for nonprofit organizations.
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