This is the second in our series using our workbook Developing Your Nonprofit Brand. We’ll be posting a new blog every 2 weeks. Download it and follow along with the exercises. By early 2020, you’ll be on your way to having more impact in the new year.

Missed the first post? Start here.


What is a brand audit?

It’s simply an assessment of where you are now. The audit uncovers your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The audit is critical to determine your differentiation and positioning, which is the essence of branding. Your discoveries will help you plan corrective actions and strategies.

There are 4 parts to a brand audit:

  1. communications,
  2. activities,
  3. competitors and
  4. stakeholder interviews.

Important reminder: Keep an open mind during the discovery process, as you may come across findings that are completely different than what you expect.  

Diving into the Workbook 

Turn to page 7: “Audit Your Brand, Part 1. Brand Communications”

Whether you have an in-house marketing and communications team or outsource those services, we know you’re constrained by the limits of your resources. Sure, we all do the best we can with the monthly e-newsletter, appeal letters, invitations to fundraisers, and the last-minute things that need to go out ASAP. The problem is that when you don’t take the time to assess and corral all these efforts, your materials start to look disjointed. Maybe your website, datasheets, brochures, and invitations don’t even look like they come from the same organization.

First Step: Gather All Your Materials

Yes, that means everything that comes from your organization and anything where your logo appears:

      • Printout of your homepage and your major landing pages
      • Letterhead and business cards (your stationery system including digital Word templates)
      • Brochures
      • Annual reports
      • Newsletters (print and digital)
      • Flyers, posters, postcards, notices
      • Ads
      • Tchotchkes (grocery bag, pens, sticky notes, etc.)
      • Invitations
      • Appeal letters
      • Direct mail

Use the Prompts to Assess What You’ve Gathered

Hard to be objective, right? Especially when you know the circumstances behind each effort.

Tip: Recruit some help with this. Put together a small group from inside and outside your organization. Offer coffee and pastries and get some feedback. As you take notes, try not to defend any of your pieces. These things are in the past and now that you know what may not be working, you can make a plan to make them better.

But before we get to that part, there’s more auditing and planning to do. Stay tuned for the next post on Auditing Your Activities.