YMCA tops Cone nonprofit brand rankings

BOSTON: The YMCA has the nation's most valuable nonprofit brand, worth almost $6.4 billion, according to Cone's Nonprofit Power Brand 100 study.

BOSTON: The YMCA has the nation's most valuable nonprofit brand, worth almost $6.4 billion, according to Cone's Nonprofit Power Brand 100 study.

The Salvation Army, the United Way, the American Red Cross, and Goodwill Industries were all ranked in the study's top five. Catholic Charities USA, Habitat for Humanity International, the American Cancer Society, the Arc of the US, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America rounded out the top 10 in that order.

The report, a first for Cone, ranked nonprofit brands by a combination of revenue and a brand image valuation, which was determined by a national survey of 1,000 adults, coverage in the top 50 US daily newspapers, geographic reach, volunteer support, year-over-year growth, and the percentage of total revenue from direct public support.

Alison DaSilva, EVP at Cone, said that many of the top-performing nonprofits are organizations providing basic services, which will be “much more top of mind” in the next year due to the recession.

“They are really providing touch points with diverse stakeholder groups in their communities, and that comes sometimes in the form of brick and mortar facilities, events, and utilizing online technology in a way to broaden their reach and appeal,” she said. “It's really emotionalized the brands in a way that's relevant to a broader constituency.”

The study also noted that most environmental or animal-related nonprofits were ranked in the bottom half of the list, but that environmental groups had the highest 2007 revenue spikes. And while the health and education nonprofit sectors are the most familiar to consumers, many disease-specific groups finished in the middle of the rankings. Health nonprofits are also the most likely to gain funding from special events, according to the study.

Five of Cone's top 10 nonprofits were ranked in the top 10 of Forbes' 200 largest charities last November. The United Way, Salvation Army, American Cancer Society, YMCA of the USA, and Catholic Charities finished first, second, third, fifth, and eighth, respectively, on that list. Food for the Poor, Feed the Children, AmeriCares, Gifts in Kind International, and World Vision also finished in the most recent Forbes top 10.

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