Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Bagin, Donald


Business names; Nonprofit organizations--Management


Public Relations and Advertising


In the world, 546,000 nonprofit organizations all compete for the same thing: time and money. With the ease of Internet philanthropic giving, traditional nonprofit organizations must change with the times or be left in the wake. In an age of constant message bombardment, nonprofits must continually reinvent themselves to avoid getting lost in the crowd. Today, many nonprofits have found branding is the answer.

To determine the importance of nonprofit branding, the author reviewed all available literature and interviewed a senior-level manager at United Way of America. In addition, the author performed a literature review of all materials obtained from the United Way. The author intends this thesis to be used as guidelines for nonprofits considering a branding initiative.

This thesis presents a review of all available literature and a United Way case study. The author found three key elements critical to branding. These elements include: researching key audiences and their attitudes toward the organization, preparing the organization and its internal audiences, and managing and delivering consistent messages. United Way is used as an example of a nonprofit that was successful in branding. Literature and the United Way case stress the importance of performing research to assess key audiences and their attitudes toward the organization. Branding is about delivering on promises; research and preparation allow nonprofits to create promises and deliver them consistently.