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December 29, 2015

Opinion: Navigating the Challenges of Nonprofit Branding

A brand strategist writes in Adweek on the paradox nonprofits face in trying to establish a strong brand without appearing profligate or overly commercial. While donors, partners, and other stakeholders want to engage with organizations that have a recognizable brand, they may look askance at groups that spend lavishly, or seemingly without a mission-driven purpose, to build their profile, says Andrea Katz, founder and head of New York consulting firm Ideon.

Ms. Katz cites what she views as negative and positive examples of nonprofit branding, contrasting an expensive but vague advertising campaign by NYU Langone Medical Center with communication by Charity: Water that she says seamlessly blends the organization's "brand story" with its on-the-ground work improving access to clean water in developing countries. "A purpose-driven strategy can go a long way toward navigating the paradox facing nonprofit branding," Ms. Katz writes.