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Is it Time for Share Our Strength to Rebrand?

On the heels of yesterday's post about rebranding the two big label campaigns benefiting education, in today's post I show how when one anti-hunger charity rebranded itself, it doubled in size, while another anti-hunger charity is also growing, if less impressively, under its old branding.

The nation’s largest anti-hunger charity, Feeding America, has been knocking it out of the park in terms of its fundraising since its rebranding in September 2008.

Here are the numbers: In 2008 it raised $577 million; in 2009 it raised $639 million; in 2010 $706 million; and for fiscal year 2011 it generated $1.2 billion. For those of you keeping score at home, Feeding America has doubled in size since its rebranding, and in the teeth of the worst recession in America in a generation.

Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger charity that focuses on children, has also been quickly growing. In 2008 it raised around $14 million (not including results from its subsidiary called Community Wealth Ventures), in 2010 revenue was just less than $26 million and David Slater, the nonprofit's director of communications, tells me they're on pace to raise $34 million in 2011.

It would be intellectually dishonest not to point out that Feeding America’s donation numbers are inflated by the amount of in-kind donations it receives. By the same token, it's very much easier to double the size of $14 million charity in four years than a $577 million charity in the same time frame.

In terms of its brand, Share Our Strength is kind of a mess. There’s the cuteness with the S.O.S acronym, even though Share Our Strength hasn’t openly embraced it in at least a decade. Regardless, the full name just doesn’t mean much in an age of search-engine literalness. Before it rebranded, Feeding America was known as “America’s Second Harvest,’ which, like Share Our Strength, is both wonderfully aspirational and delightfully nondescript.

Then there’s the logo which I find too precious. Oh, I see the faces. But I can’t figure out what an apple core has to do with helping to feed hungry children. There’s just too many negative ways to read that visual for it to communicate effectively.

Share Our Strength works to build the capacity of local organizations to feed hungry children. It doesn’t actually send food anywhere… that’s what Feeding America is all about.

Feeding America is more about tactical day-to-day feeding of the hungry. Share Our Strength's approach is more strategic. Both nonprofits have worthy missions. But Share Our Strength is better positioned to positively effect the long-term future of hunger in America.

Too bad Share Our Strength’s current branding doesn’t better reflect the strength of its position.

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