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Mind the Gap

No, we aren’t referring to the warnings posted in the London Underground. We are talking about the gap between public perception of your organization and your internal “brand”. Don’t think there is a gap between who and what you are and how your various constituencies understand and experience you? Think again!

Studies show that more than 80% of organizations, including those with strong brand identity, experience a disparity between how external audiences view the organization (what they are “known for”, their work, programs, and mission) from what is really going on. This “gap” can have a far-reaching impact on fundraising, recruitment efforts, rankings, board/volunteer involvement, program development and mission fulfillment.

Many nonprofits assume that they have a firm grasp on how they are viewed and yet have absolutely NO quantitative and qualitative data to support their beliefs, or rather, as we like to call them, “hunches”. It is not uncommon for organizations with very tight budgets to spend a considerable amount of time and resources building programs, messaging, strategies, campaigns and long-range plans based on hunches. We argue that this is probably not the most effective way to advance your organization’s mission!

In fact, we’d like to dispel the ugly rumor that gathering, interpreting and using data to chart an “evidence-based” course will be too onerous, time-consuming and expensive. It is simply not true!

Recently, we worked with a nonprofit client whose multi-faceted mission was often difficult to articulate, especially if conciseness and brevity were necessary. In less than a month, we were able to provide valuable data on the aspects of their work, mission, and brand that resonated with, and were understood by, their most important constituents. Some of the data confirmed their hunches but some identified troubling gaps in perception/branding. This information allowed us to work with them to craft three simple, yet highly effective, messages to refine their brand identity and improve their fundraising and communications strategies with the audiences that matter most to them.

If you’d like more information on the benefits of using an evidence-based approach to your work, we’d love to hear from you!

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