As nonprofit communications has evolved over the years, we started exploring the concept of brand archetypes and how nonprofits can use them. While there are 12 brand archetypes, we think some of them make more sense for nonprofits than others. Today we’ll share the ones we think work best for nonprofits and which archetypes are the most popular for nonprofits.

Brand archetypes are human character traits that most accurately reflect your brand. They represent a universal personality that followers can easily relate to and provide a framework for creating a consistent and recognizable brand.

The 12 Types of Brand Archetypes

  1. The Innocent
  2. The Everyperson
  3. The Hero
  4. The Outlaw
  5. The Explorer
  6. The Creator
  7. The Ruler
  8. The Magician
  9. The Lover
  10. The Caregiver
  11. The Jester
  12. The Sage

We believe the following seven archetypes best suit nonprofits:

  • The Innocent. For those organizations trying to make the world a more hopeful and optimistic place. Example: UNICEF
  • The Everyperson. This is a trusted friend, approachable and relatable. Example: One
  • The Hero. If you help others overcome challenges, you should consider The Hero. Example: Save the Children
  • The Outlaw. Trying to change established norms or disrupt the status quo. Examples: PETA and Greenpeace
  • The Caregiver. Many nonprofits naturally fall into this category. Example: Meal on Wheels
  • The Jester. If you are looking to create shareable, engaging content or primarily focus on social media, this is a great option. Example: The National Parks Service
  • The Sage. Great for education organizations, trade associations, or if you have a lot of informative content or how to guides. Example: The Cleveland Clinic

The Most Popular Archetypes for Nonprofits

For our 2024 Nonprofit Annual Trends Report, we asked survey takers to select the three words that best describe their nonprofit’s personality. Unbeknownst to them, those words corresponded to one of those seven archetypes we think best suit nonprofits.

The results showed that 83% of nonprofits embody just four of the brand archetypes – the Caregiver, Sage, Hero and Everyperson.

Are you already a member of our community? If so, you can find all of the Trends Reports in the Free Resources section. (Not a member? Join now. It’s free!)

The Caregiver is the most popular archetype in the nonprofit sector, followed by the Sage not surprisingly.  The top two archetypes chosen are two of the easiest concepts to understand

  • The Caregiver (warm, supportive, selfless): 26%
  • The Sage (wise, informative, insightful): 23%
  • The Hero (courageous, bold, motivational): 18%
  • The Everyperson (relatable, down-to earth, approachable): 16%

The least popular archetypes surveyed were

  • The Innocent (happy, optimistic, pure): 6%
  • The Outlaw (disruptive, unconventional, revolutionary): 3%
  • The Jester (light-hearted, witty, humorous): 2%

Why is this important? Because leaning into your brand archetype or personality helps you humanize your brand and create a narrative around it. It can guide your decisions on what to say and how to say it, making it easier for you to create content.

For more on brand archetypes and to find out which one works best for your nonprofit, join us June 26th for Master Class: Aligning Your Content Strategy with Your Brand Archetype. During this engaging and interactive workshop, we’ll help you find your archetype and create a content strategy that matches the personality you want to present to your community.