The most trustworthy non-profit brands are those that consistently demonstrate their tangible impact, and maintain their integrity above all.
The photography that a non-profit organisation selects for its collateral (i.e. the articles, mail-outs, website, and advertisements that it releases) arguably makes the largest contribution to the overall perception of the organisation’s brand.
Many charities use images like the one above, of poverty-stricken children staring sadly at the photographer. While images like this are somewhat effective at pulling at people’s heart-strings, they are quite ineffective at building a brand with integrity that people trust.
Images like the above are problematic for a couple of reasons.
So what is a better example?
The above photograph clearly shows a beneficiary that has actively sought medical attention, and is being seen to by a physician. The organisation’s logo is visible, and it is immediately obvious that the NGO provides medical services with the face mask and stethoscope in frame.
People form their opinion of a brand over time. Trust is something that is earned over many years of consistent positive impressions.
It’s not enough to run an advertisement campaign espousing the values of your organisation, if you don’t live up to those values consistently in your day-to-day activities.
People will make judgements on the integrity of your brand every time they come in contact with it. That means every time you release an email, a web article, a social media post, a YouTube video. It’s also every time your spokespeople appear on the news, write an op-ed, speak at a public event.
It only takes being inconsistent once for people to start questioning their assumptions about your brand. If you erode trust in your brand people will start looking at everything you do through a critical lens.
According to the global Reputation Institute (RI), the most reputable charities in Australia are:
When you read through this list and close your eyes when you think about each of these brands, what do you see?
My guess is you have an image in your mind of professionals with integrity directly helping people.
It’s not an accident.
If you want to collaborate with an expert in this field, contact Sean Brokenshire below to talk about your organisation's needs.