Does your Not for Profit have a personality?

By September 20, 2016 January 31st, 2019 No Comments

Caregiver, Sage, Outlaw or Magician – are you one of these?

Do you wonder how your audience perceives your Charity, Not For Profit or social enterprise? I know I do. How we are perceived is critical to our identity and therefore to our brand. It is essential to our social purpose efforts that we understand our brand from an internal (staff and board) and external (funders, community and stakeholder) perspective and how this knowledge helps us remain relevant to our audience.

I’ve been wondering how we would be described if I asked people to describe our personality. Are we fun, creative, knowledgeable, rule benders/breakers, explorers or leaders?

What is a brand?

“the collection of perceptions, promises, emotions and experiences, that are triggered when someone hears your name or views your logo”

This definition recognises the relationship between Not for Profit organisations and all of its interactions as an organisation – whether its the CEO or the receptionist, face to face or via social media.

For example, what comes to mind when you think of Vegemite, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Coca Cola, Australian Liberal or Labor Party or Monsanto?

Do you picture the logo or do you think about the values that you perceive these entities to hold? Which of these causes the strongest reaction for you? Do you recoil when you think of Coca Cola and Monsanto but smile when thinking of your childhood experiences of Vegemite?

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

When thinking about branding for a Not for Profit we need to think collectively (staff, board, clients, stakeholders, funders) about whether the brand’s identity is accurate and appropriate?

Brand Archetypes

The model is based on the concept of archetypes, proposed in 1919 by Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung. Jung 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 marketing and branding. As the examples above illustrate, a brand packs a lot of meaning – good and bad.

Branding for Not for Profit, charity or social enterprises is forms quickly in the mind of your audience and is long lasting. We can also be tarred by the brush of other organisations within our sector. For this reason, having an identity that resonates with your audience in a manner that requires little interpretation is a great strategy. This is why we use Jung’s archetype model.

Below is a description of the 12 archetypes


The innocent aims for a perfect world. Always wanting to be recognised for being good and compliant. The trap is that this can lead them to stagnation and to not evolve with change.


The everyman or woman seeks popularity. 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.