Design and Nonprofits

by Laura Theriot

by Laura Theriot, Arts Council Graphic Activator

In the world of graphic design, nonprofits get a pretty bad rap. This is largely due to monetary restrictions and a belief that an organization’s focus and effort should support fundraising and advancing the mission. However, branding’s important fundraising role is easily swept under the rug and forgotten. This can have damaging effects on the goals an organization is trying so hard to achieve. The good news is, you have the power to make good design decisions every day; decisions that will propel your organization forward.

Why is branding imperative in the advancement of your nonprofit? The umbrella! Your organization should be an umbrella under which all of its programs and events fall. You want your current and future members to know the great work you do. Without a solid structure for your brand, you run the risk of isolating each piece of your organization instead of presenting them to the public as a whole: the age-old “united we stand, divided we fall” idea.

When the importance of design is embraced, truly beautiful and inspiring branding can emerge. Below are a few examples of arts organizations who successfully use the branding umbrella.

Arts Council Oklahoma City
Arts Council New Orleans

What’s working:

Portland Art Museum
Arts Council New Orleans
What’s working:

CENTER

Arts Council New Orleans

What’s working:

Coach Art
Arts Council New Orleans

What’s working:

Design is an essential role to the communications process, one that all nonprofits can benefit from.