Impact of a New Mission or Brand on Fundraising

Bob Cryer

Bob Cryer

Jeff Brooks is the Creative Director at TrueSense Marketing. He has been in the nonprofit fundraising business for twenty years. In his March 9, 2011 posting on his blog, he states that in his experience, he has almost never seen a change in a nonprofit’s mission or brand result in an increase in fundraising revenues. In fact, they almost always result in declines, as follows: 

  • A logo change has virtually no impact 
  • A change in a nonprofit’s graphics has a small negative impact 
  • A change in a nonprofit’s mission (usually giving it a broader and less specific mission) typically results in a 20-30% decline in fundraising revenue. 
  • A change in a nonprofit’s name typically results in a 25-50% fundraising revenue loss.

Jeff says that “rebranding almost always has a negative impact on revenue. Response rates to fundraising campaigns drop. Acquisition suffers. Donor retention falls.”

Jeff believes that branding is a “misapplied discipline from the commercial marketing world that simply doesn’t work in our context” (e.g. nonprofit fundraising).

If a nonprofit is dependent on its fundraising revenues, it should be very cautious about broadening its mission or attempting to rebrand itself.

Author: Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County,