The Brand of Philanthropy


Charitable giving is no longer what it used to be. There was a time years ago when it was enough to have your 501(c)(3) IRS status and a recognizable cause, for money to flow in without any problem. Oh, how times have changed!

Today there is increased competition for the benefactor's, albeit decreased, charitable dollars. What separates your charity from any others? If you haven't figured that out yet, you better and fast, lest you find yourself with an unfunded great cause!

Luckily some enlightened organizations that read the writing on the wall years ago created Brands that would rival the best of commercial brands. One such organization (PRODUCT)RED is one that I love and have supported for years now. Hopefully you will see some opportunities for your organization to incorporate some of their practices.

(PRODUCT)RED - A Short Study

Brand Story - "Designed to help eliminate AIDS in Africa." That's it! Short sweet and to the point. Clear and concise, this brand story allows the reader to determine at a glance if they want to support the cause or not. Let's face it the goal is to figure out the probability of support as soon as possible, then this short brand story pushes the issue in your face and gets you to make a decision right away.

Brand Identity - Simple, elegant, classic and singular is the logo. You cannot mistake the parenthesis and the bold red color. I can best describe this as ingenious. It's one of those brands where the name and symbol work beautifully together. Along the same lines as Apple whose logo and name are synonymous.

Brand Integrity - Supporters often get confused about where there money goes and how funds are utilized but not with (RED). All money that comes from this effort go directly to The Global Fund whose mission is to fund programs that fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria world wide with 100% of (RED)'s money going to Africa for AIDS programs.

Brand Partners - The business model for (RED) turns the traditional models of giving on it's head. They have partnered with great companies to produce special (RED) labeled items of products the public already loves and regularly buys. Each partner then contributes a portion of their profits to The Global Fund when the (RED) version is purchased. It puts the supporter on the same side of the table as the cause. This is great because they never have to sell the cause out by selling a tax benefit which keeps the focus on the donor instead of the cause.

Brand Digital Media - (RED) does a wonderful job of connecting supporters to their cause digitally. The website sets the stage by subliminally soliciting visitors to Once on their digital hub you are given exciting pertinent information about the organization laced with rich media. You can also connect with the cause on a social network level easily by clicking on the links for Facebook and Twitter.
Brand Buy-In - This is one of the things I really love about the branding efforts of (RED). Unlike most charitable causes that long for their supporters to tell others about them, when you purchase a (RED) product it's a display in and of itself and since the partners are great even without the (RED) brand they tend to be even better as (RED). I don't know why, but I always feel a since of pride when I purchase a (RED) item for myself or as a gift. I have definite Buy-In!

There are a number of other organizations that have done these things successfully:

Maybe you know of some other ones that you can tell me about. I look forward to your feedback and comments.

Make Money, Have Fun and Be A Blessing,


Websites - Your Brand's Hub