Why charity branding HELPS fundraising directly

I hear a lot from fundraisers and non-marketers that branding doesn’t actually ‘work’ for charities and that it can actually be a total waste of hard-earned money.  So let’s (loosely) use maths and logic, the core tools of good fundraisers, to suggest why this need not be the case.

Firstly, here’s a truism I think we can all agree on:

  • Unfocused, generic brand advertising ≠ guaranteed success for a charity’s specific activities

But if done well, I know the right kind of branding activities support fundraising and services alike.  So here’s the thinking…

Part 1

  • Charity brand = product of (everything we say, everything we do) = how our audiences perceive us
  • Getting audiences to perceive us positively = consistent education of our audiences around what we do, how, and why we’re great at delivering awesome outcomes = effective charity branding activity
  • Delivering consistent messages + consistent services ≠ huge marketing costs + huge branding costs (it’s mostly about walking the walk and sharing that fact with others)
  • Charity brand ≠ a tool for the sole use of one department


An effective charity brand = one of the strongest assets we have to make all of our interactions with target audiences credible.

Part 2 – fundraising specifics

  • Well planned, targeted and executed direct marketing = greater likelihood of fundraising success
  • Focused, key ASK messages within DM = likelihood of greater response rates
  • Having to educate and persuade in the same DM piece = too many words on the charity + not enough focus on the ASK

And now consider…

  • Effective charity branding activity (see above) = education piece already done = fundraising activity does not have to use limited space to get these points across = more focused fundraising messages

Therefore, the final result is:

Effective charity branding activity = greater likelihood of improved fundraising results = More £ to invest in delivering awesome outcomes.

I think we could prove the same point around charities needing to have effective brand awareness in order to support their ‘beneficiaries’… if the people who need us don’t know we’re here or that we can help them, how are going to offer any kind of support?

What do you think?

PS – I know my Pure Maths A-Level was a long time ago and I’m not actually suggesting this is a mathematical exercise.  It’s all about cause and effect I think.

Kevin Baughen