7 Winning Internal Strategies for Nonprofit Brands

8 strategies that can help transform hope into tangible impact.

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 100 times. Brand is Behavior™. In Jason Lorne Gile’s 10+ years of experience in nonprofit branding, he has learned a few things to help separate organizations from merely “well-intentioned” to “undeniable.”  Here are Studio J Lorne’s top 7 strategies for nonprofits to dream big and achieve big—transforming hope into tangible impact.

1. Hierarchy is Not Your Enemy

The absence of a hierarchy may seem appealing but a ship with an unclear captain wanders aimlessly and lacks accountability. You may think you want an organization where everybody can handle anything, everybody’s the boss, and everybody’s just out there. Yet, there’s a reason it never truly works out that way. Without a hierarchy and organizational structure, how do you breed accountability?

You don’t.

A defined hierarchy helps in assigning responsibilities clearly, ensuring everyone knows their roles and contributions towards the organization’s goals. It’s not about bureaucracy, it’s about ensuring everyone’s rowing in the same direction, with focus and intention.

2. Get Comfortable with Project Management

Imagine project management as your map and compass, guiding you from dream to impact. You’ll be able to guide your team, not just wander around hoping to make it happen. Project management ensures that the folks on your team are playing their part to the max (and know exactly how to do so).
It’s the force that aligns every resource, ensuring every team member isn’t just busy but impactful, transforming collective efforts into a symphony of action.

3. Unleash the Power of Storytelling

Beyond mere words, stories are the soul of your mission, the force that draws people in and inspires them to take action. Stories have the power to simplify the complex, bridge gaps, and make the seemingly impossible, possible. Developing and collecting these stories strengthens your connections to community and forces you to truly listen to those you do this work for in the first place. Harness storytelling to make your mission resonate, to make the invisible visible, and to turn bystanders into allies.

4. Clarity is Kindness

Ambiguity is a fog that slows you down. No one is in your head. When you’re working with folks who aren’t you and directly a part of the mental stories you tell yourself or your comfortable go-to people every day, your internal and external team will get lost.

Non-profit leaders: Even though your team desires to help you with the fulness of their expertise, the folks inside and outside of your organization may not know the nuances of your experiences, your systems, or your ethos. Expecting them to solve problems without complete information is unfair and ineffective.


So, be clear. 


Yes, it is hard to take the time to turn your ideas for solving such large problems into succinct directives, but it must be your first priority as a leader. Crystal clear communication, both within your team and beyond, ensures your mission echoes in every action and decision, propelling you forward. 

5. Prioritize Clear Impact over Personal Feelings

We’ve seen a number of nonprofits say things like, “If you look at it this way, we won! But if you look at it the way most people look at it, we lost. And if you think we lost, you’re just not open minded.”

4 out of 5 times, that’s nonsense.

Yes, you’re creating a new reality but you still exist in the current one! Unfortunately certain rules still apply. You have to show your work in a way people understand to make the case for this new paradigm you’re building.

Your passion may ignite your drive, but remember: real, measurable impact is your destination. Transmute your feelings into action, ensuring that the difference you dream of making is not just felt but seen and experienced by those you aim to help.

6. Measure Your Success

Metrics take you from the land of “we hope” into a world where “we KNOW.”

If you’re just wanting people to simply take your word for it, it’s not gonna happen. People, whether donors, volunteers, or the communities you serve, seek tangible returns on their investments, be it time or money. Without solid metrics, you’re essentially asking them to buy into a vision with no proof of its realization. By tracking progress, making data-driven decisions, and maintaining transparency, you’re not just telling a compelling story—you’re validating yoru narrative strategy by showing a track record of real-world impact. This cultivates trust and gets you the continued support your work needs.

7. Beware the “NOW” Trap

The allure of sensationalism is a siren call, tempting but treacherous. Real growth and lasting engagement are built on the solid ground of trust and authenticity, not chasing the shifting sands of trends and hype.

In essence, sidestepping sensationalism isn’t just about maintaining integrity; it’s about ensuring the sustainability and effectiveness of your mission in creating real change. The real ones will stick with you through thick and thin and we can create a brand strategy that makes it so.


Studio J Lorne has built many brands that have gone on to create great impact. But real, scalable, and undeniable greatness as a nonprofit starts with being honest about your people, purpose, programs, and processes. If these aren’t tight, no visual brand design or narrative branding will help you stand the test of time, and this world needs your nonprofit to last until your good work is done.

We’re here to help!


Jason Lorne Giles

Jason is the founder of Studio J Lorne and a bar-spittin’, hard-hittin’, IP-driven, creative polymath with a a penchant for problem solving.

Alicia Mountain

Alicia is Studio J Lorne’s Social media coordinator, a prominent eco-warrior, and an aspiring lawyer that could probably cross you over on the basketball court.


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