The Nebraska Community Foundation works with community, organizational and donor-advised affiliated funds serving 250 communities located in 80 counties. NCF and its affiliated funds have reinvested $269 million in Nebraska since 1994.
Developing your affiliated fund’s desired brand requires a collective and courageous assessment of yourself, your market and your target audience. It is a series of strategic choices, not unlike the wording of your mission statement. And although you create your brand, you do not own it. Your brand exists in the minds of the people you serve, the people you collaborate with, the people who donate—in other words your “customers.”
To develop your brand platform you need to answer the following brand element questions:
Think of the people who are most likely to share your affiliated fund’s vision for your community:
The answer to these questions is never “the general public.” Be specific. Likely audiences might include people who
Your brand position is the “parking place” that you want to occupy in the minds of your target audience. Your brand position is NOT intended for direct public communication; instead, it is a rallying point that your FAC members understand and embrace. Your brand position is what differentiates your affiliated fund from all other organizations. It is what you do that no one else does. It is the benefit you provide that no one else can.
To determine what your brand position is, try filling in the following sentence with a short paragraph that describes how you are unique to your community:
Our affiliated fund is the only organization (in town or in our community) that …..
Then ask yourself, who or what are you?
Constant gardeners planting seeds and harvesting the fruit?
Brand attributes include both the “personality” of your affiliated fund and the “reasons to believe” that reinforce the brand promise. They are words, phrases and concepts that cannot be readily applied to all other organizations in your community.
Perhaps your affiliated fund has attributes such as these:
|Attribute||Descriptors||What it really means (emotional hook) to the audience|
|Engaged||Hands-on; Ready to Collaborate||The Hometown Community Foundation Fund is involved in the community beyond just fundraising.|
|Visionary||Courageous, Inspirational, Forward-thinking||The Hometown Community Foundation Fund sees how life in my community could be, and is staking a claim in its future.|
|Genuine||Honest, Upfront, Direct||The Hometown Community Foundation Fund is people like me, who have an honest interest in my community and are transparent in their work.|
|Innovative||Creative, New, Bold, Different||The Hometown Community Foundation Fund gives me new ideas and new hope for my community. They show me how I can make the most of my charitable dollars.|
|Trustworthy||Good stewards||The Hometown Community Foundation Fund respects my charitable intentions and privacy. It manages our community’s resources wisely.|
Every program, project, grant, interaction, activity—all your communications—must live up to your brand promise. If not, you will lose your “parking place” in the minds and hearts of your targeted audience.
When your target audience thinks of you they ask themselves, “If I am attracted to Hometown Community Foundation Fund, and choose to engage with this organization, what do I get in return?”
How do you answer? That is your promise!
Perhaps your promise is something like this:
“When you work with Hometown Community Foundation Fund and contribute to our fund, you will feel a sense of pride, joy and optimism about the future of the community you love. You will become part of a community with the confidence to build on our own strengths and the connections to move forward. Your generosity will become a legacy for generations to come.”
“Steve and Bev wanted their charitable giving to have long-term impact, but they were concerned. They didn’t want to bog down their children with administrative work – they wanted to give them the opportunity to enjoy the fun part of charity,” said attorney Christin Lovegrove. “I knew that NCF would be the perfect avenue.”Read more →