Cone, working with Intangible Business, a brand valuation company, based its ranking on five years' worth of consolidated financial data and a consumer perception survey. The idea, the company says in its report, is "to help nonprofits better understand how to protect and evolve their brands to generate as much revenue as possible," and to help the charitable organizations "demonstrate to companies and other partners that there is an established and justified cost to aligning with their organization."
After the YMCA, the Salvation Army, United Way of America, American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, Catholic Charities USA, Habitat for Humanity International, American Cancer Society, The Arc of the United States, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America fill out the Top 10.
Surprisingly, Cone says, both Catholic Charities USA and The Arc of the United States are disproportionately under most consumers' radar. Despite a Power Brand ranking and revenue ranking in the top 10, they score 53 and 96, respectively, in brand image rank -- which was based on a survey of 1,000 American adults, combined with media coverage and the percent of revenue from direct public support.
In the brand image rank category, the American Cancer Society was named the single most relevant nonprofit organization. Others that cracked the top 10 in Brand Image, but not the top 10 overall, include the American Heart Association, Special Olympics, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, and the Humane Society.
Those nonprofits that clearly identified their mission in their name performed best. For example, a group like the National Cancer Coalition scores higher among consumers than something like City of Hope.
When a nonprofit's brand image perception differs markedly from its financial performance, "there is some unmet opportunity left on the table, in some cases millions of dollars in potential revenue," Cone says. "This critical synergy between an organization's financial performance and its brand plays a significant role in generating additional funds to put toward mission services."