How did great branding catapult one organization to $700 million in funds raised?

We all know a compelling why and mission are crucial. But there’s something equally as important: making donors experience your TRUE north.

Unlike most nonprofits, Charity: Water realized early on to make donors the hero of their brand. After a project to repair wells was completed, they would email donors and send photos as proof of impact.

But they didn’t stop there – they made donors the focal of their entire brand experience across great messaging, a compelling visual identity, engaging visuals, and all touchpoints with a mission to restore faith in donors while inspiring compassion.

Most nonprofits would have just made their cause their brand purpose, like changing lives by providing clean water.

But this approach works on multiple levels and addresses some common pitfalls that many nonprofits faced.

  1. It makes donors feel personally involved in the mission.
    ↳ Many nonprofits overemphasize the cause and origin story but neglect donors’  experience. This creates a disconnect.
  2. It builds trust with transparency around donations.
    ↳ When donations are sent to a void, it erodes donor trust when the impact is unclear.
    It also doesn’t inspire recurring donations.
  3. It creates an emotional connection through heartfelt visuals and brand storytelling.
    ↳ Most organizations rely too heavily on facts.

While it’s not necessary to replicate Charity: Water’s strategy, we know great branding that prioritizes donors’ experience has the power to create an emotional connection, inspire loyalty through recurring contributions, and make supporters feel personally involved and invested.

To better engage supporters with your branding, consider:

How can you prioritize supporters in your messaging and storytelling?

How can visuals be used to create an emotional connection with donors?

Is your supporter experience immersive across all channels?