You have a mission at hand. However, you can still have a brand.
Working with nonprofits is a surefire way to be reminded of the good in the world. Driven by missions that aim to make a social impact, they remind us of what can happen when profits are not a driving force. Understandably, this often means that branding isn’t a priority either.
We see certain trends among nonprofit names – So & So Foundation, XYZ Organization, or meaningless acronyms that occasionally inspire 70’s disco hits (thanks, Village People). Nonprofits are navigating unique waters when it comes to naming opportunities. Because they operate on government expectations and public interest, it can seem risky to consider a more evocative name. One frequent concern is that spending money, time, and effort on building a cool brand will take away from they impactful work they’re doing. Our response is: do it once, do it right, and it will resonate for decades. A strong brand can help tell the stories that bring your nonprofit organization and your mission to life.
Being a 501c3 means that you’re already doing something of great value.
Your name should reflect what brought you there. We look at the driving forces and long-term goals of nonprofit organizations in order to better understand the stories that will ultimately draw people in. The nonprofit audience is vast because people like to get involved – whether it’s donating, volunteering, or spreading the word. You’re inspiring people to spring into action, so your name should carry that same energy and humanity. You’re driven by passion – your name can help inject that electricity into the hearts of your audience. It’s about creating a better platform to showcase the value of your work, which otherwise speaks for itself.
Naming is not for the faint of heart
We always keep in mind the quirks of a given industry, such as the nonprofit sector, when going through our naming process. But our process is really about naming — and every industry needs it. We approach every project with the same wide-eyed curiosity. Our experience across different fields is always helpful, but it’s our methodology that gets our clients across the finish line.
A Few Resources for Naming a Nonprofit Organization
That’s where we come in.
Some of the best nonprofit names
This is an energetic name as well as a good directive. Do Something is a nonprofit organization mobilizing young people to take positive action online, on social media and in their community. Instead of a descriptive name like “Positive Youth Action,” this nonprofit takes the high road and urges its audience to step up and Do Something.
Another A Hundred Monkeys original. Airlift provides an aspirational feel to a nonprofit that helps the public fund grassroots groups engaging young, minority and immigrant voters. The name is about lending a hand and providing a lifeline to those fighting in the political trenches.
We thought you may have questions...
We’re always trying to balance the need to involve key decision makers with the need to limit the number of cooks in the kitchen. Don’t worry — we have strategies for this. We find it’s best to come to a consensus with a small team first, because decision making by consensus often dilutes creativity. Our goal is to get to consensus without diluting the creative potential of your brand. Once we’ve narrowed it down to a small list of strong contenders during the naming process, we suggest presenting those to the broader group – stakeholders, board of directors, board members – and we’re happy to help with presentation tactics.