Create Your Non-Profits Brand Message

How to create your non-profits brand messaging

Why brand messaging is difficult

One of the biggest challenges non-profits face when developing their brand is figuring out the best way to build their brand message. There are many causes for this but typically it comes down to one or more of these reasons:

    • They can’t easily explain their mission

    • Don’t have a well defined ideal donor

    • Their brand’s tone doesn’t resonate with their ideal donor

Steps to improve your brand messaging

Your mission

To have a great brand message you first need to define your mission.

However, a great mission is not a simple phrase like “We want to help animals.” Instead your mission needs to have the following:

    • The end result you’re trying to achieve

    • The impact it will have on the world

    • Who you’re looking to make an impact for

So, if you’re a non-profit who wants to end the euthanization of animals in shelters your mission may be
“We want to ensure no animal is killed simply because they can not find a home.”

The most important thing to remember is you want your mission to inspire others. 

Define your ideal donor

Now that you’ve defined your mission it’s time to define your ideal donor. This is the donor who makes large donations, is an advocate for your mission, and whom you would love to have more of.

Conventional marketing advice will tell you to start with demographic information (age, gender, income level, education level, etc). But, demographic information is not helpful when defining your ideal donor — unless your non-profit is helping a specific demographic. 

Instead we’re going to focus on your donor’s personal desires — the reasons they decide to become a donor, the causes they care about, etc.

To start answer the following questions:

    • What causes do they currently care about?

    • What vision do they have for the future — for themselves and for the world?

    • Why are they drawn to your cause?

If you already have donors try to identify the ones who you would want more of. What similarities do they share? 

Those similarities should be at the core of your brand’s messaging. So, write them down and think about how you can incorporate them.

Brand tone

Your ideal donor has a handful of values they prioritize above all else, and those values impact which brand tones resonate most with them.

To help you determine your brand’s tone go through the list below and pick up to 3 tone words you want to associate with your brand. As you go through each word ask yourself, “If my brand had this tone would it get my ideal donor to listen?”

    • Bold

    • Bright

    • Calming

    • Confident

    • Creative

    • Dynamic

    • Elegant

    • Energetic

    • Feminine

    • Gentle

    • Honest

    • Joyful

    • Luxurious

    • Modern

    • Passionate

    • Playful

    • Positive

    • Powerful

    • Pure

    • Reliable

    • Respectable

    • Soft

    • Trusting

Once you have your tone words write them down and keep them in mind anytime you write content for your nonprofit.


Developing your non-profit’s brand message is not easy. But, if you approach it from the right angle it can make it a lot easier.

So, make sure to set aside some time to think through and improve your messaging. In the end having a power brand message will lead to more donors, more participation, and improve your ability to make an impact.

If you have any questions about your brand message feel free to reach out to us to setup a free consultation.

Need pro bono help with your non-profit's marketing? Reach out to set up an Introductory Call.

Justin Lynch
Justin Lynch

Justin is a Brand Strategist at Avlier, a brand consulting company.