Branding is the big issue for charities, not budgets

Yes, the recession has placed budgetary challenges on an increasingly competitive charity sector (News Analysis, DW 6 May), but a shrinking budget isn’t the only issue design has to contend with in the Third Sector.

’Branding’ remains a dirty word. It retains a strong commercial association, something people think of in terms of chocolate bars or fizzy drinks, despite several well-known charities successfully rebranding and reaping the fundraising rewards, from Shelter to Macmillan.

Staff and supporters remain sceptical of branding’s worth, and the passion of people working for charities means resistance to change can be enormous, as Age UK has recently found.

Taking people with you and actively involving audiences in the rebranding process is essential.

Many still have a narrow view of what a brand is or what it can deliver.

It isn’t only for the marketing team, or a tool for fundraising, but something that should run through the DNA of an entire organisation.

Branding encompasses who you are, what you do, how you look and what you say. It connects audiences to the heart and soul of your charity, the principles it stands for and the impression it wants to make.

Getting it right means a charity can command (and maintain) public attention. It should unite staff and supporters behind a common sense of purpose, deliver pride, commitment and results that a charity should be able to feel as well as see.

Dan Dufour, Branding consultant, The Team, by e-mail

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