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New Report Measures Nonprofit Brands

(July 14, 2009) The YMCA of the United States has the country’s top nonprofit brand—estimated at $6.4 billion—according to the Cone Nonprofit Brand 100.

Cone, a strategy and communications agency, in collaboration with Intangible Business, a brand valuation consulting firm, developed the new brand valuation based on five years of consolidated financial data and a nationally representative consumer perception survey, among several other metrics.

In particular, the study examined both brand image (through the survey) and brand-revenue synergy, identifying connections and missed opportunities between organization’s brands and their current revenue and revenue potential. The study found that several leading nonprofits may not be sufficiently leveraging their brand to further increase their revenue.

“The goal of a brand valuation is to determine the amount of money a brand contributes to a nonprofit’s revenue,” explains William Grobel, international business valuation director for nonprofits, Intangible Business. “This critical synergy between an organization’s financial performance and its brand plays a significant role in generating additional funds to put toward mission services.”

Top Ten Brands

The top ten nonprofits brands in the U.S. are: 

Power Brand 100 Rank

Organization

Brand Value
$ Million

Revenue
Rank

Brand Image
Rank

1

YMCA of the USA

6,393.6

1

6

2

The Salvation Army

4,702.9

3

2

3

United Way of America

4,516.9

2

3

4

American Red Cross

3,146.2

7

5

5

Goodwill Industries International

2,534.8

6

18

6

Catholic Charities USA

2,361.1

4

53

7

Habitat for Humanity International

1,768.0

9

4

8

American Cancer Society

1,359.8

11

1

9

The Arc of the United States

1,223.6

5

96

10

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

1,168.3

8

21

According to the study, the two surprise findings on the list are Catholic Charities USA and The Arc of the United States, which despite being multibillion-dollar organizations, have significantly lower brand image rankings than their peers in the Top 10.

Sector Findings

In addition to brand valuation, the study also identified several trends related to specific nonprofit subsectors and their branding and public awareness, including:

  • A majority of the environmental/animal-related nonprofits ranked in the bottom half of the list and had similarly low brand rankings; however, environmental organizations also have the highest growth spikes in revenue of all nonprofits studied;
  • The largest nonprofit sector is international needs, which accounts for 30 percent of the 100 organizations ranked; however, consumers consider this sector to be the least familiar and least relevant;
  • The health and education/youth sectors are the most familiar and most relevant to consumers, yet many disease-specific nonprofits clustered indistinctly toward the center of the ranking; and,
  • Health nonprofits are also the most likely to generate revenue from special events earning more than $1.8 billion from events alone.

“The report drives home the value of an effective brand and how critical it is—both in terms of awareness and revenue—that a nonprofit continually develop and refine its brand,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “In the current economic environment where giving is flat or declining for most organizations, an appealing and powerful brand can be the difference between success and failure at a fundraising campaign.”

For a six-part series of articles on nonprofit branding on the AFP website, click here.

For a complete copy of The Cone Nonprofit Power Brand 100 and a detailed methodology, click here.

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