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5 Considerations when thinking about rebranding your nonprofit organization

Date Published:

Jan 26, 2023

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Are you considering rebranding your nonprofit organization? Here are five considerations that will help you reduce the overwhelm and stress of rebranding your organization.


As a nonprofit organization that devotes 99.9% of your energy to moving the mission forward, the idea of a rebrand can feel like an overwhelming and daunting endeavor. 

But guess what? It doesn’t have to be. 

If you’ve taken the next step, meaning the word ‘rebrand’ has moved from being randomly floated around the office to being an official item on the priority list, today’s blog post is for you.

We’re walking through five key considerations that will help you ease into the rebranding of your nonprofit organization.



>> What does it mean to rebrand?
>> Do you need a full rebrand, a brand refresh or a brand update?
>> Does your organization have a brand problem or a marketing problem?
>> Does your organization have the capacity to go through a rebrand?
>> What are you hoping to achieve with a rebrand?
>> Are you wanting to hire a brand partner or do it yourself?


What does it mean to rebrand?

Here at Witt and Company, we define brand as the perception someone has of your organization – how they think, feel and act in regards to your organization and the experience it provides.

Given this, a rebrand is intentionally changing the perception – those thoughts, feelings and actions. More often than not, this is done by updating the brand’s strategy, messaging and visual identity.


Do you need a full rebrand, a brand refresh or a brand update?

As we mentioned above, a rebrand is intentionally changing the entire perception that someone has of your organization. 

Here at WCO, a full rebrand means updating both the internal and external brand. This includes the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the brand – the mission, vision, values, position, differentiator, message, personality. And, the forward-facing brand – the logo, color palette, typography, website, collateral.

A full rebrand is a great option if you’re needing a complete transformation because the heart and soul of the organization needs upgrading or is changing direction. This could mean changing the name, changing the mission or vision, changing the key stakeholders. A lot of components within your brand are not working well and you’re ready to start fresh. 

We define a brand refresh as doing an update to the external visual identity. The internal brand doesn’t change but the outward facing stuff gets a new look. This could mean updating the full visual brand suite or maybe just updating the elements that support the logo like colors and typography. What’s remaining constant is the brand’s strategy – the mission, vision, purpose, personality, message and positioning.

This is a great option if the overall structure of the organization is staying the same but the visual aesthetic is no longer serving your organization well. You’re wasting time with visuals and feel constraints because of your visual identity.

A brand update is using the existing brand identity to create new supporting collateral. Perhaps a color update or new font option to freshen everything up, but it’s more so to update the marketing materials – think social templates, presentation slides or business cards. We’re using what’s already in existence and giving it a fresh outlook. 

An update is a great option if you’re just needing to breathe new life into your existing brand. Your internal structure is staying the same and you’re not wanting to change the externals much. But rather, bring a little new energy into your existing identity.


Does your organization have a brand problem or a marketing problem?

Because we’re all about getting on the same page before we dive in deeper, let’s define marketing (taken from a marketing hero, Seth Godin): Marketing is persuading someone to take action.

As a nonprofit, this generally means that you market to persuade someone to make a donation, volunteer, become a sponsor or engage you for services. 

Your brand is what helps that person, company or foundation stick around and stay engaged. The brand is what moves them from one-time engager to life-long advocate. 

Sometimes, we can think that we have a brand problem when in actuality, marketing efforts need the extra love. 

While this is a bigger question that deserves some dedicated investigation, here’s a quick litmus test to determine where you may need support:

It’s likely a marketing problem if a stakeholder isn’t giving at all because they aren’t aware that you exist or what’s available within your organization. It’s likely a branding problem if a stakeholder gives once or twice but then moves on.


Does your organization have the capacity to go through a rebrand?

Because the goal of a rebrand is to change the overall identity of your organization, the process is a lot more in depth than just getting a new logo and calling it good. So it’s important to consider whether or not your organization has the time and energy to go through the update.

Now, the brand partner you choose and the role they play in the process can have a significant impact on the needed investment. But what you can do right now is gauge when would be the right time to devote energy into the process so that you can give it the most attention, that way you’ll maximize your results.

Think about who on your team will be involved in the project and at what level. Think about what departments need to have the most involvement and which ones are more in-the-moment. 

Then, look at your calendar and see where the gaps are. If you have an annual event, it’s helpful to plan around that so your event marketing won’t be affected. It’s also worth considering the board meetings and updates that will need to be presented to the board and/or any other stakeholders.


What are you hoping to achieve with a rebrand?

If you go into the process with an ambiguous idea of what you’re hoping for, then it’s more likely that you’ll get a result you aren’t entirely happy with.

Sit down and get clear on what success means for you, your team and your organization. Here are a few questions to get you started: 

  • Who is the audience that you’re hoping to connect with the most with this rebrand?
  • What does our brand stand for that isn’t being communicated right now? 
  • Where are the big inconsistencies with our visuals? 
  • Is our brand personality effectively coming through? 
  • Is the website performing or supporting our organization’s goals?

The list can be pretty endless in terms of results but we promise, the more clarity you have on what you are actually looking for, the better the outcome will be. Not only because you can communicate that desire to the brand partner you’re hiring but also because it can be used to find the right person in the first place.


Are you wanting to hire a brand partner or do it yourself?

Which brings us to the last consideration – are you wanting your team to handle the rebrand or are you wanting to hire support? 

Capacity and resources are the primary reasons for choosing one or the other.

Some organizations have more capacity but limited budget, so they choose to DIY. Others have limited capacity but more budget, so they bring in a brand partner. There’s no right or wrong here but rather a determination of what makes the most sense for your organization based on your specific needs.

If you’re only needing a brand update, perhaps it makes more sense to do the work internally. Versus, if you’re wanting a complete overhaul, it’s generally best to bring in outside support because a full rebrand is a lengthy and time-intensive process.

And shameless plug, if you decide that your next right step is bringing in a brand partner, we’d love to support your organization in a rebrand, brand refresh or brand update. Simply fill out the application to get started.


With that, happy (re)branding 🙂

All my best,


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