When Should a Non-Profit Design a New Logo?
It’s not really advisable for non-profit organizations to change their logo often. Why? It’s primarily due to the costs associated with the revamp. For one, hiring a skilled graphic designer can be expensive. Next, it will definitely cost you a lot of money to update all of you electronic and print materials and a non-profit website. But these are all financial costs. There’s also cost in terms of staff time that is required to properly manage such a major undertaking.
And most important of all, non-profit organizations simply don’t have the resources to make themselves as visible as regular for-profit companies. This means that if you decide to change your logo, it will probably take a long time before you’re able to re-achieve brand recognition.
But of course, there will perhaps come a time when a non-profit feels it needs a new logo. Here is a short list of questions to ask to determine if it’s time for a logo overhaul.
1. Are you and your staff hesitant to use your logo?
In other words, are you proud of your own logo? If you don’t love your own, then most likely no else does. You may design a survey to get the opinion of your staff members, clients, and even random people about your logo.
2. Are you using a logo simply because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings?
A non-profit or philanthropic organization’s logo should be more than eye candy. It should be able to send a powerful and positive message about your mission. If your organization simply allowed one of the founders or the niece of your biggest donor to create your non-profit logo, then it probably isn’t as professional, strong, and strategic as it should have been when you opted to hire an expert graphic designer instead. There really is no excuse for using a charity logo that you think doesn’t work just because someone will get offended.
3. Does your organization’s logo translate well in other media?
A logo often looks gorgeous when viewed on a computer monitor or when printed in full color. But a nine-color logo will only be useless when it doesn’t look good when resized, faxed, or printed in black and white. In cases such as this, you won’t always need an overhaul. You may find that you only need an altered version of your logo so it will render well in, say, your photocopied materials.
4. Do you think that your logo or organization name presents an inaccurate description of what you really do?
Most of the time, non-profits expand and outgrow their names. For instance, if you’re a non-profit named “Tri-County Psychological Assistance” then you eventually expand to cover six more counties, then it’s time to change your name. The same goes for your service menu. If you used to focus on healthcare alone but grew to cover education as well, then change your name and charity logo. Don’t let your logo give incorrect or misleading information to any of your constituents. A good tip is to always create an organization name and logo with expansion in mind so that you won’t outgrow them in the future.
5. Has someone commented that your logo looks similar to someone else’s?
If you’re often told your organization’s logo looks like Non-Profit A’s logo, then don’t think twice about changing it. But there may be one exception to this: if your brand is stronger compared to others whose logos look similar to yours, then it probably means that your logo holds more valuable. They probably just copied your idea. Or you probably copied theirs but did so much better in infusing meaning and value in it. But make sure that you get an external party’s opinion on this. Is that person able to quickly distinguish you from the others? If not, then go for a new logo.
6. Do you often receive calls from other people who think you’re doing something else?
Let’s say that you’re a group dedicated to helping unfortunate children by providing them with new clothes. If people constantly mistake your organization for a children’s clothing shop, then your name and/or logo isn’t working for you. It’s probably not able to accurately express what you really do so it’s time to explore.
Should your non-profit organization decide to design and implement a new logo and/or name, it’s advisable to consult a third party for a fresh perspective. The approach to logo design is best started with new points-of-view.