How is your Charity or Not For Profit identified? Hero, Sage or Outlaw

By September 20, 2016 November 13th, 2018 No Comments

How is your Charity or Not For Profit identified? Hero, Sage or Outlaw

Do you wonder how your audience perceives your Charity, Not For Profit or social enterprise? I know I do. It’s part of reflecting on whether we’re maintaining relevance to our clients, funders and supporters. It’s also important for attracting the right volunteers.

This internal review happens in earnest twice a year – the beginning of a new financial year and whilst on holidays over Christmas/New Year. I guess it’s tied to times when a) I’ve had a break and am thinking about future prospects and b) when we look at how well we went against our business plan. But this year, during a mid year holiday and avoiding the end of financial year I have been thinking about it a little bit differently.

This year I’m thinking about the personality of our organisation? How are we perceived? Are we fun, creative, knowledgeable, rule benders/breakers? This different approach has come about because we’ve been involved in a couple of rebranding projects recently and are just about to start another. We always learn something new from every project that we do and branding work goes to the core of who and what organisations stand for.

The projects completed were positioned as rebrands but in actual fact they were redesign projects. Our clients had decided that they needed a ‘refreshing’ look and feel and so we provided them with a new website and new document templates. Why do I think of this as a refresh rather than a rebrand? Quite simply, my definition of brand is that: brand is the collection of experiences, perceptions, promises and emotions that are brought about when people hear your name or see your logo.

This definition works for me because it recognises the relationship between an organisation and all of its interactions – even those that appear to be outside of your control.

For example, what comes to mind when you think of Vegemite?

Without any imagery do you picture the logo? The distinctive yellow lid and bold white lettering or do you got straight to thoughts about how it tastes? Perhaps, like me you skip the visuals and your mind takes you to the memories of vegemite and cheese sandwiches at school (particularly horrible when left in a school bag on a hot summers day), the ‘vegemite kids’ song, vegemite vs promite debates or the many conversations visiting foreigners about whether Vegemite is good or bad.

If all of these connections are formed from the name of a product what can be achieved with an identity that is focused on changing society?

How can your organisation identify its character and think collectively about whether this is accurate and appropriate?

The model that we use is based on Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung’s concept of Archetypes. Jung proposed this concept in 1919 and ‘understood archetypes as universal, archaic patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct’.

This concept has since been applied to organisations. As the little jar of vegemite illustrated, a small picture packs a lot of meaning – good and bad. Many of us are so removed from Kraft that we cannot form an opinion of the organisation, but the product creates a connection. For a NFP or charity impressions can, I think, be formed much faster and be equally lasting.

Below is a description of the 12 archetypes.


The innocent aims for a perfect world. They want to be recognised for being good and compliant. This can lead them to be stagnant and to not evolve with change.


The everyman or woman wants to be popular and to fit in. They understand the majority but they tend to be invisible due to not been clearly defined.


Is about freedom for self-identity and to continue to experience new things. They fear boredom and tend to be autonomous, ambitious and true to themselves. They can be aimless.


Is after intimacy and pleasure. They want to be in a relationship and surrounded by nice things. They aim to make themselves attractive both physically and emotionally and they have a gift for promoting love and friendship.


Seeks the truth and uses intelligence and analysis to understand what is happening. They fear being misled and are constantly seeking knowledge. They have wisdom and intelligence but they can be over analytical and become indecisive.


The Jester lives in the moment. They want to have fun and they want you to have fun with them.


Through making difficult decision that are focused on improving the world they operate in. They aim to be the best they can be through competence and courage. They can be a bit full of themselves and they always need someone to be against


Here to protect and to help other people. They are compassionate and generous but they risk becoming martyrs. Many Not for Profits fall into the Caregiver category.


Always seeking to change or challenge the status quo. These organisations fear irrelevance so they use disruption. They can be courageous in their decision making but sometimes their desire for change can create bigger problems for them


Seeks to create something that will be here for a long time. They are imaginative and creative and they communicate via a vision of possibilities.


Knows how their world works and they are focused on making dreams come true. They develop a vision from which they attempt to predict what might happen but their biggest fear is when unforeseen situations arise.


Seeks control and is focused on their own development and greatness. They fear uncertainty so they promote themselves as the leader.