Funding story: Rebranding

Overhauling your organisation is usually a positive move, but how will grant-makers react to the changes?

Every generation has a rebranding exercise, or so it seems. It can mean anything from a change of logo or change of name to a full-scale strategic overhaul. But how does it affect grant funding?

Rebranding usually seems to be a positive move because it can provide a more accurate image of the organisation. Simon Bromhead, fundraising and membership manager at Living Streets, formerly the Pedestrians Association, says: "The new name has had a positive effect on our grant funding. It better represents us as a charity working to improve public spaces, with implications for health and the environment, and it's easier for me to demonstrate that our work covers all those areas."

However, rebranding can have its drawbacks. Amanda Grimstead, fundraising manager at Environmental Protection UK, which was previously known as the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection, says: "For the most part, we've had a very good response to the change. On the other hand, we had a good reputation with funders before, but with some of them we're now applying for funding as a completely new charity."

Estelle Taylor, who managed the relaunch of Transport 2000 as Better Transport last September, says it is important to maintain a good relationship with the funders who have stuck with the organisation.

"Involve them from the beginning, and be sure you see that relationship as part of the rebranding exercise," she says. "We were also able to reassure our funders that we were the same organisation they'd had faith in for all those years. In fact, we got specific grant funding for the rebranding.

"It was nice that funders with whom we had long-term relationships had faith in us and were able to support this important change. Now we're able to go back to them and explain how they were right all along to believe in us, and that our new name has been a good move."

Bromhead adds: "I think it should be considered how a change in branding will affect the way you project and portray the organisation. It goes beyond an image and logo because it's about the messages behind that, so you do need to be very clear about what messages you are giving to funders."

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