Health kicks brand butt by making it personal

Harris Interactive recently released the findings from the 2012 Harris Poll Non-Profit EquiTrend Study. The study looks at how organizations in different categories do in terms of name recognition, perceived efficacy, and someone’s likelihood to donate to them.

Since most people care about causes in multiple categories, I was curious how the different categories compared to each other.

The take-away: organizations in the ‘health’ category are kicking butt when it comes to brand. (See super fancy chart below.)

Non-profit Brand Equity Table

Not only do they have the highest average brand equity score for a given category, but they also had 14 organizations that ranked above the category average. Social service non profits had a high score as well, but only 3 organizations ranked above average.

Translation: people have a strong awareness of, and a particularly strong connection to, health-focused non profits.

Begs the question: why is that?

Wasn’t it Peter Drury who said “People don’t give to you, they give through you.” The more personal the cause is to you, the more this distinction would matter. If you or someone you love has had cancer, your battle against cancer is personal. You’re kicking cancer’s ass in your, or their, behalf by giving to Stand Up to Cancer, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or the American Cancer Society.

Although you’d think environmental issues would be personal–they’re protecting us against the demise of our natural environment and implosion of Planet Earth, after all–it suffers from “this issue is so big, I can’t wrap my mind around it” syndrome. It’s tough to feel that we, as individuals, will make a dent. The irony, of course, is that we are the only ones who can make a dent. But enviro non profits struggle to make this case well.

Organizations in all categories can learn from health organizations–make the connection to your organization personal.

On a scale of 1-10, how well do you make connections to your organization personal?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?