Brand Logos

How Design Profits Nonprofits

The goals of designing for a nonprofit are not much different than designing for a for-profit business. Nonprofits need to raise money, albeit for an altruistic cause. They need to build strong graphic identities, market their programs and convince the public that their good intentions will produce effective results. Yet many nonprofits approach marketing their organization half-heartedly, ending up with a look that is generic at best and sometimes sadly amateurish. Yes, they are hampered by low budgets and minimal staffing, but also at times by the misguided belief that if their materials look “too professionally done,” donors will think that they are squandering their money rather than applying it to the cause they care about.

Actually, the opposite is true. The value of eye-catching design and memorable branding has become more essential to nonprofits in these hard-pressed economic times. The nonprofit’s message has to be clearer, stronger, more compelling.This point is communicated in the new book “Designing for the Greater Good: The Best in Cause-Related Marketing and Nonprofit Design” (Collins Design) by Peleg Top and Jonathan Cleveland. The two authors have both amassed extensive experience designing for nonprofits nationwide. Their book features 24 case studies and hundreds of illustrated examples, including the logos shown below, of some of the best nonprofit designs worldwide. It also includes interviews with leading designers who have been involved in creating branding identities for nonprofits, designing invitations for fundraisers, pitching slogans effectively, and creating print and online campaigns that drive home the nonprofit’s purpose and move people to act.