WIZO – the Women’s International Zionist Organization is one of the most established nonprofits working in Israel. Over 90 years ago WIZO was formed by women in the UK to meet the needs of the Jews living in the Land of Israel.
Whatever the need, they filled it. From milk for infants to training in agriculture and farming.
As Israeli society grew, so did its needs and so did WIZO. With branches all around the world, women raised money to support the programs all across Israel. From the first Knesset, WIZO lobbied for women’s and children’s rights. WIZO ran orphanages, employment training, legal advice, programs for youth, etc. etc. etc.
How is it possible to focus on one or even a few aspects of this incredible and mammoth organization?
This was the challenge we faced when writing their new website — what to include, how to divide their hundreds of programs (baby, youth, adult – empowerment, security, education – legislation, education, protection, women, children, youth …etc.), where to begin???
What were the reasons for all these programs? Why the education, empowerment, emergency shelters? Why run orphanages, youth villages, leadership programs, free legal aid clinics, parenting hotline and programs for treating violent men? Why lobby Knesset, pass laws and teach leadership skills? Why run 180 day care centers across the country?
WIZO’s mission has always been to fill the needs in Israeli society in order to make it strong and sustainable.
We went through many tagline incarnations.
Some sounded too military, some too cliche, some we were unable to use because of organizational considerations.
While we weren’t able to truly rebrand the entire organization, we were able to find a common theme for the website from which to work.
WIZO: Strengthening Israeli society by strengthening Israel’s people.
And so, the website describes the way WIZO works to strengthen every segment of Israeli society. From abandoned babies to lost youth. From single mothers to struggling families. Not all programs are described but the ones that are, represent the overall mission of WIZO.
The website is comprehensive but not overwhelming. It has depth and breadth without getting lost. It is a proper representation of the greatness of the organization while still being digestable to the reader.
Sometimes, when faced with too much information to convey, it is best to go back to the beginning.
When it comes to nonprofits and branding, there are four types of nonprofits.
- The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand.
- The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, but won’t let it happen.
- The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, gets it done … and does nothing with it.
- The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, makes it happen, and rocks it.
1. The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand:
Organization: “We really need a new look and feel; a new website and marketing materials so people get what we do.”
‘Great. Let’s start with your brand.’
“Oh, we don’t need a brand. We just need new mission statement, vision, text and wording for the site and materials.”
The Problem: By not identifying and solidifying your brand BEFORE creating content, your materials will lack cohesion and strength. Your staff will not speak the same language or give the same message. At best your materials will lack conviction. At worst, your audience will be confused and you will need to do the process all over again.
2. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, but won’t let it happen
Organization: “We need a new brand. We do so much more than we did when we started out and now our materials do not properly reflect us.”
‘Excellent – Let’s get started!’
During the process:
- “We don’t have a lot of time and funds so let’s shorten the process and just stick to …”
- “We can’t change that, the founder’s mother created it and according to the bylaws we have to leave it.”
- “We have too many people that would need to approve that kind of change so, let’s just leave that as it is.”
The Problem: Knowing that an organization needs a rebrand is an excellent start, but it needs to be allowed to happen. The powers that be (board members, senior staff and perhaps major donors) must be in agreement that this is what the organization needs to survive and thrive. Resisting change and hanging on to things because they have always been done that way, or only going so far because of budget or personnel constraints is an excellent way to waste money and end up where you started.
3. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, gets it done … and does nothing with it.
Organization: We need to reassess what we do, package it so it is clear, and then put it everywhere: our site, Facebook, Twitter, grant proposals, etc.
After the rebrand process:
Despite having a completed communications strategy, a schedule for social media, a list of foundations to speak with and a gorgeous new website, six months later no one is manning social media channels, queries go unanswered, website news is six months old…
The Problem: Without commitment, staff and board buy in, task allocation, a strategic plan with milestones, goals, and meetings, your new brand and materials will do nothing for the people counting on you.
4. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, makes it happen and runs with it.
Organization: We need a rebrand and facelift that reflects all that we do and how we work, we need it across our web presence on our site and social media channels, and in the language we use in all internal and external communications.
During the process:
- Board members and staff are supportive and available, participate in discussions and consider new ideas.
- A communications strategy and brand is drafted, discussed and agreed upon.
- Brand is implemented in all communications written and online, internal and external.
- Tasks are given to specific team members. Everyone knows their job and how to do it. Everyone is full of purpose.
- The organization message is clear in every communication to donors, media, staff and clientele.
- Website, social media channels and donor communications are vibrant and alive with the brand and goal and supporters know exactly what work they are supporting.
WIN: Donors are excited, staff is motivated. Communications exude purpose and professionalism. Donations and support are up and people are talking about the cause and the organization that does excellent work – YOURS.
A solid brand:
- Awakens Passion for the cause in current donors and excites new ones
- Imbues purpose into the team
- Makes communications easier and more efficient
- Gives donors a clear understanding of why YOU are the cause to support.
For nonprofits today, a brand is essential.
It is how you see yourself and your work.
It is how others see you.
If your brand isn’t crystal clear … it’s time for an upgrade.
Don’t know if you need a re-brand?
We’ve compiled a checklist to help you figure out…
Your Nonprofit Might Need A New Brand If
- Google can’t find it
- homepage is a GIF or flash movie.
- links boldly go nowhere …
- news is from 2010
Your Donor Relations:
- Your monthly newsletter reads like an encyclopedia.
- Your method of updating donors consists of a bcc email (!)
- Your fundraising video is 10 minutes long and four years old
- Your fundraising video doesn’t make the donor want to throw money at you.
- Donor materials don’t speak boldly & clearly about your cause
Your Social Media
- is non existent
- You have four Facebook pages and know none of the passwords
- Every post is asking for MONEY!!!
- The only person who knows your mission statement is your webmaster
- People who could use your services have never heard of you
- You get confused with another org with a similar name!
- Your board is inactive, old … or dead.
- Your mission statement speaks of what you do –not how you do it
- You cannot immediately convey the impact your work has
- You cannot describe your work in 10 words or less
- Team members don’t use the same language when describing the org and its work.
If you cannot complete the following sentences:
- If our organization closed tomorrow….
- We are the only organization that …
- Without us ….. would ….
You Need a New Brand!
**Special thanks to the many contributors to this list including Mordechai Holtz of www.BlueThreadMarketing.com Hadassah Levy of i-pointmediagroup.com/ Dan Brown of www.ejewishphilanthropy.com & anonymous’s 🙂
So, you run soup kitchens, So What?
So, you take care of abandoned sea turtles, So What?
So, you run programs for disadvantaged kids… So What?
If you can’t answer this question about your programming, you’re in trouble.
Your ‘So What’ factor is what makes you stand out and above other operations that do similar work to yours.
A good friend and colleague told me today that ‘Elevator pitches are dead’.
Then I saw this by Seth Godin: The best elevator pitch doesn’t pitch your project. It pitches the meeting about your project. The best elevator pitch is true, stunning, brief and it leaves the listener eager (no, desperate) to hear the rest of it. It’s not a practiced, polished turd of prose that pleases everyone on the board and your marketing team, it’s a little fractal of the entire story, something real. (See the whole post here.)