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Sept 9 & 10

4 Strategies for Communicating Your Nonprofit’s Rebrand

Reading Time: 5 minutes


If your nonprofit has recently decided to undergo a rebrand, you’re probably becoming familiar with how involved the process is. From creating new brand assets to incorporating updated guidelines into your marketing materials, a lot of time, effort, and thought goes into rebranding.

However, there is another essential aspect of the rebranding process that your nonprofit needs to consider: how to communicate your rebrand. Your brand is an essential engagement tool because it makes your organization recognizable and memorable. Keeping your community in the loop about your rebranding plans will help them identify and remember your updated brand when it’s rolled out rather than being caught off guard by your organization’s new look.

In this guide, we’ll walk through four strategies for communicating your nonprofit’s rebrand, including how to:

  1. Clarify Your Goals
  2. Create Two Parallel Timelines
  3. Involve Stakeholders Early On
  4. Leverage Multiple Communication Channels

When you communicate effectively, you’ll find that at the end of your rebrand, you won’t just have a nonprofit brand identity that better reflects its values and evolution. You’ll also cultivate stronger relationships with your stakeholders and ideal donors, leading them to stay involved with your organization long-term. Let’s get started!

1. Clarify Your Goals

Careful planning is vital both for rebranding your organization and communicating about it. Once your rebranding plan is drawn up, a communications plan should quickly follow. 

The first step in creating both of these plans is setting goals to ensure your nonprofit’s team is on the same page before you start. The most effective goals follow the SMART model, meaning they are:

This graphic shows the SMART model for setting goals for communicating your nonprofit’s rebrand, which is discussed in more detail below.

  • Specific about what you want to accomplish and why.
  • Measurable with clear metrics attached to each achievement.
  • Attainable so your team doesn’t feel overwhelmed when they start working.
  • Relevant to your nonprofit’s overarching strategy.
  • Time-bound, meaning there is a deadline attached.

Following this model, one of your communications goals might read something like, “By the time our nonprofit’s rebrand launches on May 1 of next year, 50% of our social media followers will be aware that we’re rebranding.” 

This goal is specific about what it wants to accomplish (spreading awareness among social media followers), and it has a clear deadline and measurement attached to it. Regarding attainability, you could analyze your past social media engagement metrics to see if it’s reasonable to assume that 50% of your followers would see at least one post about your upcoming rebrand. And in terms of relevance, if an overarching goal of your rebrand is to retain supporters, this communications goal would align with your strategy.

2. Create Two Parallel Timelines

If you’ve ever undertaken a major project at your nonprofit, you know that in many cases, the hardest aspect of a SMART goal to achieve is the “time-bound” piece. Saying you’ll complete a project with a lot of moving parts by a certain date is one thing—sticking to that deadline is quite another! And rebranding is no exception to this phenomenon.

Once you’ve finalized your rebranding goals, simultaneously create two timelines: one for the rebrand itself and one for your communications about it. Break each process into smaller pieces, set mini-deadlines for each piece of the rebrand, and align your communication timeline with those milestones.

For example, if you’re planning to roll out your rebrand on May 1, you might set a mini-deadline on your rebranding timeline to have your organization’s new logo finalized by April 1. Then, on your communications timeline, you could plan to have a teaser version of the logo (such as a grayed-out outline of its new shape with a question mark overlaid on it) created, posted on social media, and displayed on your nonprofit’s website by the following week.

3. Involve Stakeholders Early On

According to Loop, your nonprofit’s audience is a critical component of your branding strategy. To ensure your audience resonates with your updated brand, engage them in the process of developing and testing your new visuals and messaging standards.

However, this process becomes more complicated when you consider that your nonprofit’s brand doesn’t have one homogeneous audience. It’s important to involve multiple groups of key stakeholders in the rebranding process, including your:

  • Staff members. Your employees bring insider perspectives on your organization’s day-to-day operations that can be useful for ensuring your nonprofit’s new brand elements align with its values and personality. Plus, NXUnite points out that asking for staff feedback on organizational initiatives can boost retention.
  • Supporters. In addition to creating awareness-focused communications, invite your most engaged donors and volunteers to complete surveys or participate in focus groups to help you make decisions about the updates you’re considering. This way, you’ll get a better understanding of whether your new brand elements will resonate with supporters.
  • Board members. Your nonprofit’s board is in a unique in-between position. While they provide leadership and oversight at your organization, they also understand how your community perceives your nonprofit, which can inform their recommendations for your rebranding efforts. It’s also helpful to get the board’s input early since they’ll have to sign off on your rebrand before you roll it out.

The hardest audience to involve in your rebranding process is the general public, although they’re important to consider because they influence your nonprofit’s reputation and ability to acquire new supporters. Use your existing supporters’ and board members’ feedback to get an idea of what your community thinks about your organization and take those insights into account during your rebrand as well.

4. Leverage Multiple Communication Methods

As with any marketing effort at your nonprofit, taking a multi-channel approach to communicating your rebrand will create more touchpoints for your various audiences to learn about the initiative and provide input. Here are some popular communication channels to consider leveraging:

  • Your nonprofit’s website. Add a blurb about your rebrand to your homepage and link to a resource, blog post, or landing page where visitors can learn more.
  • Email marketing. Include information about your rebranding efforts in your nonprofit’s newsletter in addition to sending separate emails to supporters who might be interested in providing feedback during the process.
  • Social media. Due to the visual nature and two-way communication capabilities of social media, your organization’s accounts are a perfect place to generate excitement by teasing your new brand elements and starting conversations about your rebrand.
  • Direct mail. Your nonprofit’s rebrand will affect your print marketing as well as your digital strategy, so make sure supporters who rely on traditional communications like direct mail are also made aware of your rebrand in advance.

Another strategy to consider incorporating into your rebranding announcement is hosting a brand launch event for your nonprofit. This provides a space for supporters and community members to meet each other and connect with your staff, plus it generates even more excitement about your rebrand!

If your nonprofit is seriously considering rebranding, make sure you have the resources and bandwidth necessary to not only update your brand but also communicate effectively with all of your organization’s audiences. But with a clear plan, a variety of feedback sources, and a strong multi-channel strategy, you’ll be able to generate excitement among your community as you work toward the day when you can finally roll out your organization’s new brand.

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