Rebranding a Membership Organization: Tips and Advice From a Leader

Rebranding a Membership Organization: Tips and Advice From a Leader

This year, after nearly 40 years, the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, the organization I lead, renamed itself the Maryland Philanthropy Network.
 
Our mission is the same, but our new name reflects our now statewide membership and our work helping to shape policies that affect communities across Maryland.
 
Our reasons for adopting a new name were complex and reflected an evolution of philanthropy and our organization, and we wanted to ensure that the new identity would resonate with members and honor our history.
 
The decision to rebrand an organization is never undertaken lightly. Before embarking on rebranding, challenge assumptions and ask questions such as:
 
  • How has our membership and geographic representation changed over time?
  • How has our role changed over time?
  • Do our current members understand the breadth of our membership and our work?
  • Does our current name and brand reflect who we are today?
  • Will our current name and brand support our plans for growth?
  • Will a new brand still align with the needs of our current members?
An Inclusive Process Is Essential
Even if your staff and board have discussed and planned a rebrand for years, seek input from your members.
 
With guidance from United Philanthropy Forum colleagues, we developed a plan that was customized for our members; it included a roadmap, timeline, and communication plan to involve members and stakeholders.
 
Our goal was to unveil the new name at our annual meeting, and in total the whole process took just under a year. This was an expedited timeline that was possible due to the support of our trustees, who reflect our statewide membership.
 
 
Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

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