There is always a first time when one donates to a charity. At the back of their mind is a feeling that their effort should not be in vain. People are skeptical nowadays when they come across so many non-profits. Some of them are not genuine and are fly-by-night operators. And, no one wants to donate to an organization that does not give a reliable impression. 

Most charities are genuine, with only a fraction being illegitimate. Still, many do not succeed at instilling confidence and are not as successful as they could be. What is it that makes them tick while others languish, even though the goal to better the world is the same? 

The answer is the trust and reliability factor. Successful charities present a professional and reliable image with relevant photos, logos, and messages urging support. The impact is enormous, making people donate to extend support to the cause. 

Ultimately, it often boils down to branding, even in the charity space. Despite the absence of the profit element, one factor remains static across the for-profit and non-profit sectors: the necessity of trust. Certain aspects of branding work in all areas: for example, familiarity leads to trust and, in turn, makes people donate to the cause.

A good way to make a charity familiar is by having a distinctive logo design.   

Many charities cannot afford a professional designer for a logo. If you have decided to design the logo in-house, some tips and examples of well-known charities can help you understand and emulate successful ideas. 

Purpose of the charity

The logo design should reflect the cause of the charity. To do that, one needs to have a two-to-three-word definition of the organizational goals and mission. The words, symbols, or images represent the values of the charity in the best possible manner. 

One solid example is ME to WE. The ME to WE logo/ symbol reflects the charity mission, and the tagline Me to We states the vision. The symbols mean transforming communities by shifting the “Me” thinking to “We” acting.  ME to WE are all about working together to make a difference in everything and creating sustainable change.   

Another example of logos is the smiling face of Goodwill organization or the logo of “Mind”, a charity in England that provides necessary support to mental health patients. The entangled handwritten lines that spell the word “Mind” clearly reflect the organization supporting mental health solutions. The tagline “For better mental health” makes the purpose of the charity clear. 

The logo should be memorable 

A good logo design will have a better and easy brand recall. People will recognize the charity instantly when they encounter the logo for the second time. A simple logo sticks to the mind and creates a better brand recall. If people cannot recognize or remember, then it means that the logo design is too complex.  

The Amnesty International organization has a simple yet great-looking design that has stood the test of time. The logo, which depicts the candle wrapped by barbed wire, symbolizes the efforts towards the free expression of humans under oppression. 

Create a distinct brand personality 

Brand personality is a consistent trait adopted by a company or organization that allows itself to distinguish from others to the audience. It is something that is the first step towards brand recall. The tagline of a few words are what define the personality. It is essential to ensure that the brand personality aligns with the color and the typography of the logo and messages. 

Charities like Feeding America and Conservation International do it quite well. It is significant to avoid cliche images or words that are used commonly in the field of charities. For example, using hands for trees or environmental causes is overused and does not stand out anymore.

Timeless design for logos

Corporations hire designers who follow the latest trends and design logos accordingly.  Businesses, over time, keep on changing their logos and color backgrounds for rebranding purposes when they get the feeling of being outdated and find a need for refreshing the image.  

For charities, rebranding is not an option and certainly not when it comes to incurring additional expenses. In this sector, the reverse approach works. One should go for a timeless design. By picking classical colors, geometry, and taglines, the design remains relevant. One of the most recognizable logos globally is the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It may be surprising for many that the WWF logo has been in use since 1966. The black and white panda logo and using negative spaces creatively are perfect examples of simple and timeless design.

These are a few things to keep in mind when creating a logo design for a charity. To summarize once more, the logo design should: 

  • Reflect the charity purpose
  • Have brand recall
  • The brand personality should match with images, color, typography, and relevant taglines
  • Aim for a timeless design

Resources for charity branding 

For self-designing logos, there are many free and paid tools available. One can also get a logo designed by a professional designer at minimal costs. Many student designers can work for free as it gives them credible work experience for their portfolios. For example, a graphic design student may create your logo for free or for a small fee.

Researching also helps as one can get someone who can design logos for free. Some designer agencies have services where they create logos for charity for free.


Ultimately, leadership within a charity are best positioned to decide what logo design and taglines are best-suited for the organization. Once the message and the image are decided, one can look around at other logos used by other non-profit organizations and see the elements they have used to make their message stand out and symbolically portray their cause. The choice of colors is critical: black and white logos will look significantly different than colorful logos. It is as simple as that!