The brand guide outlines the detailed standards and regulations of your brand. This should be distributed to anyone who is associated with your brand to ensure they represent your organization with integrity. Any uses outside of the brand guide will devalue your visual and verbal style. By distributing a brand guide to your staff, you can ensure your brand ambassadors are representing you accurately and appropriately.

Your brand guide should be in booklet or .pdf form, featuring the following:

  • Your Logo(s): Display your logo and any of its accepted variations, along with an explanation of when to use it.
  • Color Palette: Choose specific PMS (Pantone Matching System) color codes that can be used in accordance with your organization’s brand. This should be given to you by the designer who creates the logo. Also be sure to accommodate for different applications of your colors. Find the makeup of your colors for full color (CMYK), 2 color (PMS) and online (RGB) purposes so it will always be consistent.
  • Fonts: Choose specific fonts that can be used in accordance with your organization’s brand, and where they can be used.
  • Photography: Identify any photography associated with your brand, and types that are acceptable to be used with your brand.
  • Key Words: Your staff members can be thought of as “walking, talking billboards” for your organization. Identify vocabulary that is often used in communications about or in regard to your organization. Make a list of these key words and explain how they pertain to your nonprofit and its mission.
  • Testimonials: Tell a story. Share experiences with your audience. Give your nonprofit a living, breathing, personal brand that they can connect with. Presenting effective testimonials is one of the best and easiest ways to establish your brand as a trustworthy one.
  • Examples: Provide examples of print materials, signage or website screen shots to portray how all of the above elements come together to form your brand.
  • Your Style: What tone of voice does your organization use? Are you conservative or spunky? The more specific you can be defining and standardizing your personality, the better. Be clear about your expectations.
  • Your Name: When and how to use your organization’s full name, abbreviated name, acronym, etc. Also include words/phrases that are not acceptable.
  • Your Core Values: Tell your story to help volunteers, staff, and board members paint a consistent picture of your organization. Where did you come from and what do you believe? If your brand ambassadors grasp your values they can then share them effectively with the public.
  • Messaging: Spell it out plain and simple so there is no confusion as to the function and purpose of your nonprofit. Include your boilerplate, tagline and elevator pitch.