Survey Says? We can all learn a lot from top non-profit brands!

When I think about opinion polls and surveys, the first thing I think of are the folks at Harris Interactive, who are widely known for The Harris Poll. Sure, there are lots of people in America who are in the business of knowing your opinion, but Harris is the granddaddy of them all. So, when Harris released the results from their 2012 Non-Profit EquiTrend study, I decided to click-through and see which non-profit brands average Americans recognize most, trust and value.

The following is how Harris describes this project:

“The 2012 Harris Poll Non-Profit EquiTrend (EQ) study measures the brand health of 87 non-profit brands across seven important categories, including Youth Interest, Animal Welfare, Health, Social Service, Disability, International Aid, and Environmental. Harris Poll EquiTrend provides the insight our communities, corporate sponsors, and non-profit organizations require to make informed decisions about donations and overall support.”

I must admit that I was a little confused when I first read the webpage that described their findings, and I had to go back and re-read everything a second time. Click here to see that page and read more about this project. I think the confusion resulted from Harris dividing their findings into seven different categories, and it was difficult to figure out which agencies were at the top of the “collective” non-profit branding survey. For example, the Girl Scouts were at the top of the EquiTrend Youth Interest Non-Profit Brand survey, but they weren’t one of the “overall” top four brands when you combined all seven categories into one comprehensive list.

The following are the top four non-profit brands in 2012 according to what people told Harris:

  1. American Red Cross
  2. Habitat for Humanity
  3. Salvation Army
  4. Feeding America

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that I regularly say: “We can all learn from each other.” I think this expression comes from a deep-rooted belief that re-inventing the wheel is a waste of time. With this in mind, I decided to share with you this morning YouTube videos from each of these top non-profit brands. Please take a brief moment and click-through these videos.

When you’re done (and it will take only a few minutes), please use the comment box below to share some of your thoughts and observations. What do you see these well-recognized non-profit brands telling people about what they do? Why do you think their messaging is so effective? Why does it resonate and stick with people?

American Red Cross

Habitat for Humanity

Salvation Army

Feeding America

So, what did you think about what these four top non-profit brands had to say? Did you have any “big ideas” about your agency’s branding efforts while watching these videos? If so, please share that thought with us in the comment box below.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847


  1. Erik, Thoughts…. Feeding America hit a home run with the ‘star power’ – Beyonce, Matt Damon, Michelle Obama, Tyler Perry – everyone knows at least one of them. The recipients were ‘every man’ in every size, color, gender, ethnicity – so they relate. The statement about unemployment running out – that resonates because we all know someone who is there. I thought it was a tad too long though. Maybe it was because I knew I had some thoughts I wanted to share here! My favorite by far was American Red Cross. I liked the juxaposition of the benefactors being put into a situation completely foreign to them – female exec in heels slopping through the muddy field was surprising, they all were. Not too long but I liked their message best. Habitat was my least favorite – not sure why. Just didn’t connect with me. Cheers!

    1. Vikki . . . I love your observations. Thanks for sharing! It is funny how you picked up on Feeding America’s star power because it struck me the same way. However, it also made me think of Boys & Girls Clubs of America and all of the star alumni they had lined up for their Be Great PSA promotion. I suspect that the difference when it comes to effectiveness is the power in the message, and the unemployment and economic messages are more on the top of people’s minds. Just a guess.

      I hope all is well in Richmond, IN. Please say hello to Bruce and those who I may still know.


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