Non Profit Branding- Whether You Are the Tail, The Dog or The Big Apple

NOTE: This month’s focus is on
Branding Q and A. All Q’s welcome- Jody


I work for a division of a large, national non-profit organization. Do I need my own Employer Branding materials for recruitment marketing purposes, or should I just use the same materials as our national organization?


While there’s no one answer to your question, here are 4 considerations that can help you decide on your best course of action.

  1. Organizational Alignment- How integrated is your chapter with the national organization and other member chapters from a talent management point-of-view? Are benefits, policies and services centralized? Do lateral opportunities and career mobility paths exist? Consider your answer and go to step 2.
  2. Brand Reputation and Tools- Let’s take a tip from Occam and presume the simplest path is the best. Consider whether or not there is a downside to piggybacking on the national brand. If you answered “yes” to question 1, and your national parent already has strong, positive brand awareness and great recruitment marketing materials, then alignment is advised. If there no alignment and there are some skeletons hiding in the closet (a story of embezzlement, bamboozlement or other) then cut the cord and go semi-solo.
  3. Unique Differentiators- Your answer may not be A or B, but rather A & B. In creating the employer brand architecture, you may find that there are some common elements to your culture and unique drivers as well. In that case, go for a brand-blend and highlight the positives of the co-brand and the unique benefits inherent only within your chapter.
  4. Competition for Talent: Are you competing for talent with your parent organization? If so, suit up and separate. You’re already competing for talent with other companies and non-profits in your area code, and I presume that compensation will not be the tipping point in candidate’s favorable decision to join you. Now what? Go back to number 2 and build your brand on your unique differentiators. The word differentiator is key.

Consider this ad campaign created by BRANDEMiX for Legal Aid Society of New York. In it, the city, not the organization, is the star. Talented professionals will always have choices of where to devote their time and/or money, but there is only one New York City. And giving back to a city that gives so much, and has been through so much, is powerful and pleasure-ful incentive that no other chapter could duplicate.

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