Branding and Marketing for Your Social Impact Project

Branding and marketing is an important part of creating a successful social impact project! Effective branding and marketing can take your project from simply an idea in your head into a tangible thing with which people can engage, offer support, relate to, and more.

A brand is made up of a variety of pieces, including: your logo, your icons, your colors, and the fonts you choose to use. All of these pieces come together to tell your brand’s story; the story of your social impact project or organization.

Next time you are on a nonprofit’s website, notice the things you like about their brand.

  • Is their logo clever and showcasing the work they do?  (like when an animal welfare group fits a paw print in their logo)
  • What emotions do the colors of their website evoke? Calming colors, or inciting action?
  • Are they using chunky and aggressive fonts, and putting a lot of words in all caps?
  • Or is there minimal text, and they are using photos to tell their story?

All of these elements come together to create the brand. Once you’ve established your brand, keep it in mind for all that you do.  

The next piece of the puzzle is marketing, which is how you share about the work you are doing, the programs you are hosting, and more. Marketing is sharing your message with the world.

To get started marketing your social impact project or organization, you need to think about three things:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. What channels do you want to use to share your message?
  3. How much time and money do you want to spend on marketing?

Define your audience, define your channels, and define your investment.

  • Some examples of who your audience might be:
    • Fellow students, potential volunteers, parents or adults, potential donors, news outlets, etc.
  • Some examples of marketing channels:
    • Social media
    • Your website
    • Publications (print and online)
    • Paid advertisements
    • Events/tabling
    • E-newsletter

  • Some things to consider when thinking of investment:
    • How much money do you have to put towards marketing?
    • Is spending money printing flyers your best use of resources, or would it be better spent investing in a website that you can regularly update?
    • How much time do you want to invest in marketing?
    • Set realistic expectations about how frequently you plan to post on social media, or send out email updates, or connect with donors or volunteers.

Some resources for you to use while you plan your branding and marketing efforts for your social impact project or organization:

  • Creating content:
    • Buffer and Hootsuite are free resources to schedule social media posts in advance.
    • This can help you come up with a social media calendar and plan so that you are posting regularly, even if it isn’t every day.
    • Canva is a free online platform that lets you design everything, from logos to flyers to social media images and beyond.
    • MailChimp is an email platform to design e-newsletters and is free up to a certain number of subscribers.
    • Wix and Squarespace are both website-building platforms that vary in price, but are very user-friendly ways to design a website for your project or organization.

Figuring out the best practices for your social impact project’s branding and marketing efforts will take some trial and error, but it will be worth it!