The Benefits of Non-Profit Branding

To the uninitiated, branding is synonymous to the image of a logo. Yet, branding is much more than a logo. What then, is branding? “Branding is endowing products and services with the power of a brand” (Kotler & Keller, 2015). One can clearly tell from this definition that branding is much more than a logo, a website or a brochure.

In times past, non-profits adopted the concept of branding mainly for fundraising purposes. Today, branding has evolved beyond fundraising purposes and offers the following benefits:

1). Builds Trust

An effective branding strategy that communicates the impact of a non-profits work engenders trust. By sharing its’ activities and progress, people become aware of the role the non-profit plays in its’ community. With the trust earned, a non-profit can easily garner support for its’ causes.

2). Advocacy / Expanded Support Base

Once people become aware of a non-profits’ work, it becomes easier for them to connect with its’ brand. Consequently, they not only become loyal adherents of the non-profit but they also become its’ advocates. This can serve the non-profit in many ways. For instance, success stories shared on a non-profit’s social media page can be re-posted by loyal adherents and shared with their friends. Such activities have the power of expanding a non-profit’s support base since a wider audience is reached through the act of sharing.

3). Increased Funding Opportunities

A strong brand improves the rate of success of a non-profits’ funding endeavors. By creating a positive brand image, it becomes easier to engage favorably with funders and stakeholders alike.

4). Facilitates Partnership Formation

A strong brand makes it easier for a non-profit to forge meaningful partnerships. The ability to collaborate with other organizations enhances a non-profits ability to implement projects that have a wider reach/scope. This in turn creates a favorable perception for the non-profit and influences its’ fund-raising potential.

5). Reflects a Non-Profit’s Identity

According to Nathalie Kylander & Christopher Stone (Spring 2012 Blogpost), a ” brand embodies the identity of the organization, encapsulating its mission, values, and distinctive activities”. In essence, a thoughtfully planned and executed brand image will convey the ideals of a non-profit to its’ constituents and the general public in an effective manner. It will aid in reflecting the unique value proposition of a non-profit while differentiating it from other entities.

Thus, its’ constituents and the general public will be in a position to familiarize themselves with the vision of the non-profit while keeping track of its’ achievements. As a result, the process of nurturing relationships with supporters(such as volunteers) and sympathizers to its’ cause while entrenching its’ position will be greatly improved.

It is essential for a non-profit to develop a compelling and consistent brand since it engenders trust among its’ audience, expands its’ support base, increases its’ funding opportunities, facilitates its’ ability to forge partnerships and reflects its identity.

References:

Kotler & Keller: Marketing Management (2015), American Marketing Association (AMA)

Nathalie Kylander & Christopher Stone (Spring 2012). The Role of Brand in the Non – Profit Sector[Blogpost]. Retrieved from https://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_role_of_brand_in_the_nonprofit_sector#bio-footer

The American Jobs Act, Unemployment Discrimination and Employment Brand

Online recruiting organizations: Are you ready to stop hiding from candidates? You should be. Your brand depends on it.

With The American Job Act currently before Congress, employers would be subject to EEOC discrimination claims if they fail to hire an unemployed candidate based on the fact that they are not currently employed. The notion was hatched as a backlash against the perception that employers do not want to hire unemployed workers.

That’s a specific law with a specific target, but if you peel the layers back, it’s the first salvo fired out of frustration from a country full of candidates that are tired of being treated badly by the people, systems and processes that have grown up around recruiting in the last 10 years.

I get it. Recruiting organizations are under siege by way too many qualified candidates for the positions they have. More importantly, they’re under siege by way too many completely UNqualified candidates.

While not considering candidates that are unemployed may cut your candidate pool down to a manageable size, it’s not smart from a branding standpoint. Unless your employment brand is cold and cutthroat, you should embrace all candidates. You should treat them with respect and you should engage as many of them as possible.

Everyone wants a fair shot. That’s just part of being human. And when sweeping generalizations like “we don’t consider unemployed candidates” take hold, or faceless applicant tracking systems process bits and bytes and spit out rejection emails (often delayed to appear like the candidate was considered by a human), then the appearance of a fair shot disappears.

Candidates are customers. Candidates are voters. Candidates are individuals capable of expressing their frustration to large numbers of other individuals through social networking.

Here is and actual tweet I came across the day after writing this article: “@jimcramer FYI you herd it here first, Taleo is keeping the unemployed… unemployed.”

Obviously, not everyone is qualified. And every recruiter has tales of resume spammers and unqualified, unprepared candidates sucking their time. But the fact is, if you appear not to care about candidates, then your brand suffers. And now with an entire nation who is totally focused on getting people placed in jobs, delivering bad candidate experiences is asking for more Federal regulations governing how you interact with candidates.

There is a quietly growing awareness in the industry that candidate satisfaction matters. There is a faint notion growing that engaging candidates and trying to ensure that they are communicated with and treated with respect and reverence, will actually result in a more effective recruiting process.

There are tools available that allow organizations to engage candidates and solicit feedback throughout the recruiting process. Companies can now listen to how candidates feel about their recruiting process from beginning to end, track satisfaction and fine tune practices to make them as effective as possible.They sit on top of a company’s career site pages and asks candidates what they think, in real time and with appropriately times follow up surveys.

Without fail, candidates regularly comment “Thank you for asking my opinion.” So when I say treating candidates with respect helps your employment brand, I speak from experience. Your “Best Place to Work” badge is fine, but it just lays there. Asking a candidate what they think about how they’ve been treated? That shifts the earth a little bit and provides evidence that you have a great place to work.

Plus it provides a goldmine of ideas about how to better interact with candidates, tweak your career site and make your online recruiting efforts more effective for passive candidates. The one’s who already have jobs. The one’s you were targeting that got the White House involved in messing with your business in the first place.

How Closing Accounts Can Kill Your Credit Score

One of the major factors of how your credit score is calculated is your capacity. This is the ratio of credit used to the amount of credit that is available. This accounts for 30 percent (almost a third!) of your credit score. For example if you have 5 credit cards with a $1000 limit and you have 3 of them maxed out and 2 of them inactive your capacity would be at 60 percent, $3000 of your $5000 total credit limit. This is not good in the eyes of the lenders and your credit score would suffer because its ideal to be at 10 percent of your capacity.

Remember a credit score is a formula measuring your ability to pay back your debts and obligations. If you have a high capacity and little room left for your maximum then your ability to pay back your obligations is viewed as more limited.

So in the example above, lets say you decide to close the 2 inactive cards for whatever reason. Nowadays, the credit card companies will charge a fee to inactive cards so a lot of people are now closing their inactive accounts. Well unfortunately, they are killing their credit score. If you are maxed out on three cards and you close the other 2, guess what, you are now at 100 percent capacity because your total credit limit is now $3000 instead of $5000. I know from personal experience this will cause your credit score to plummet.

My advice? Don’t close your inactive cards. Use them once a month, maybe for gas, or treat yourself to a latte from Starbucks. Then pay them off immediately so you don’t incur any interest. Do what you can to pay off the cards that are maxed out, or at least get them down to where your balance is under 10 percent of the limit. If you can, try to transfer the balance to a lower interest card, so it can save you a few bucks on the interest. This strategy is sure to improve your credit score because capacity is a major factor, and if your capacity improves, your score improves.

Asking your bank for a credit limit increase on some of your cards isn’t suggested nowadays, this is a strategy that old credit repair people recommended but in today’s economy with the credit crunch, it prompts an account review, which for some quirky reason, may cause the banks to LOWER your credit limit. This would damage your capacity as well.

You are already disciplined enough to not spend on two cards. You are unique in today’s credit crunch world, use your discipline to your advantage, don’t close your accounts. You will be doing more harm to your credit score than good.

Summer Vacation – Preparing For Your Summer Vacation

We all know that planning and preparation for anything goes a long way to minimizing problems later. There is no better example of this than taking a summer vacation. Are you thinking about this year’s summer vacation? If you are, have you already started planning and preparing for your vacation or trip? Why not?

There is actually no excuse as there are a large number of planning and preparation tips available for summer travelers online, in seasonal magazines, even from some travel agents. Having said that, some advice may put us off because it pertains a specific location or country. When planning and preparing for your summer vacation, however, we are encouraged to keep our destination in mind.

No matter what your vacation destination is, you will need to take the time of year and the climate conditions at that time into consideration. If you are visiting a tropical location, you will need to bring along the appropriate clothing. Bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, and tank tops are common appeal found at beaches and aboard cruise ships. While you may be expecting warm and sunny weather, it is still advised that you prepare for the worst. Raincoats and an umbrella may be a great addition to your summer clothing.

Need a very good example of this? What if due to a miscalculation or a mistake in planning, you ended up at your tropical destination during their “rainy” season!!!

No matter where you are traveling to, overseas or even in your own country, I would encourage you to always have the proper forms of identification. For example, living here in Spain, we are obliged by law to always carry proof of identification which may be an id card or passport. Although this is not the case in all countries, it really isn’t worth neglecting this.

Part of our planning and preparation for our summer vacation is considering all possible eventualities. So, I would strongly encourage everyone to have the following documentary proof with them while traveling…

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Health Insurance
  • Car Insurance
  • Car Rental Agreement which may include the car insurance

For many the most popular summer vacation destinations, especially in southern Europe, are the coastal regions and the beaches. Each year millions of individuals and families flock to beaches. If you are spending your summer vacation at the beach, or you know that a great deal of time will be spent there, it is important that you bring along the appropriate clothing and sunscreen.

Believe me, I know from observing painful experiences that many of us still do not realize the dangers of sunbathing or just being out in the sun without sunscreen. The worst is when I have seen young children having a great time in the pool during the hot summer months here in southern Spain. I have then seen them the following day with painful looking blisters and sores because they had not used sunscreen or enough of it.

Always have sunscreen and plenty of it. In addition to sunscreen, you will need to make sure that you have beach towels and plenty of water or liquids on hand.

Cruises are becoming more popular as a summer vacation choice for many individuals and families who are looking for something different. If you are taking a cruise, you are advised to start preparing for your trip as soon as you book your reservation. Unlike many other vacations, a cruise often requires a larger amount of planning and preparation.

When preparing for your cruise, it is important to keep in mind where your ship will be going and what stops are planned as part of the itinerary. When on international waters or traveling to a foreign country, a passport is required.

Please don’t make the mistake of leaving this too late if you do not have a passport. Each country has its own process for receiving and approving applications. Make sure you know what to do in yours.

I have not only seen the disappointment of people who have had to cancel their vacation and lose money, I have also seen all kinds of problems arise mid vacation when passports expire. Don’t take the risk.

We all have our favorite things we take on vacation. This can range from tooth paste and soap to washing detergents. People take all sorts of things with them – just in case.

For the most part, if you forget to bring along certain supplies you can always find and purchase replacements. The only downside to purchasing what you need at your vacation destination may be the price. Popular vacation destinations may have inflated prices. Others will surprise you at how inexpensive your favorite brand is.

With the recent increase in airport security and new travel restrictions, we may all need to accept that we will need to wait until we get to our destination before buying certain products. Part of our planning and preparation is to check what we can and cannot take in our luggage.

There’s a final point I wish to make about summer vacation or any vacation preparation. We all need to make sure that we can make contact and be contacted by others.

Make sure you have the details of all the important contacts you may need at a given time. This may be family or friends. It may be your country’s consulate or your car rental company. The point is, just think how much easier it will be if you have the details at hand.

Equally, develop an itinerary and give copies of your travel plans to those that need to know so that they can contact you should the need arise.

I cannot over emphasize how important the preparation for your summer vacation is. To some, preparing for their vacation may seem a daunting task. To others, it may seem unnecessary or even boring.

How ever you may regard preparing for travel or vacations, please ensure you follow the tips suggested as well as any others you can think of.

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