Authentically Rebranding YNPN Portland

In case you hadn't noticed, something's changed around here.

A hint: what used to be green, but is now extremely orange?

The answer: our logo!

YNPN Portland is a small, entirely volunteer-run nonprofit. We had dreams of redesigning our logo several months ago, and we’re thrilled to share the result of the process with you today! Here’s how we decided what we wanted our logo to be, made the pitch to our leadership, and found our new logo.


Step 1: Deciding to update our logo

Change for the sake of change is never a good motivator – and it wasn’t ours. Our original logo was effective and well loved: it clearly defined our acronym name and communicated that we are Portland-based.

But at the end of last summer, our marketing committee saw an opportunity to evolve our logo. Our organization itself has been evolving behind the scenes: new board leadership has entered the picture in the past year (myself included!), and many recent planning sessions have begun defining our organization’s future. Taking a closer look at our brand felt like a timely exercise.

Step 2: Defining the foundation of our brand

Brand is what makes up the first impression on any newcomer to the organization, and a logo is the foundation of a brand. Logos are often the first opportunity to communicate value, distinguish from competition, foster loyalty, be memorable, and engage an emotional response from your audience.

Our marketing committee began this process back in September by having some conversations about what we want our brand to reflect. Those conversations involved taking a look at several evergreen components of brand very closely: our mission statement, Five Pillars of Leadership Development, and our full name: Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Portland. We also consulted YNPN’s national organization for brand guidance. They had a brand guide readily available, luckily!

From a close examination of this language, we identified central attributes that we wanted our new logo to reflect:

  • Alignment with our key demographic, emerging nonprofit professionals in the Portland, Oregon area
  • Visuals that distinguish us from “the pack” – many Oregon-based organizations utilize the color green, as it is so representative of the natural landscape of our region

Step 3: Creating a creative brief & identifying our designer

A creative brief is a document that details every aspect of a project. It is intended to provide the creative team, agency, or individual designer with everything they need to complete the project - from the context and history of an organization to specific dimensions and file types to the fundamental 'why' of the project itself.

We began by creating an asset list, which is a detailed list of what specific materials we wanted the designer to create. These are the questions we asked ourselves when compiling the list:

  • How do we use our current logo, and what versions do we currently have? What do we anticipate needing in the future?
  • What visuals do our social media platforms require (icons, cover images, etc)? What about our physical presence (swag, signage, etc)?
  • Do we need black and white versions of the logo? What about versions with a transparent background?
  • What dimensions we need? Does our website layout require specific dimensions or orientations for a new logo? What about other digital constraints?

After answering these questions for our own organization’s needs, we compiled a creative brief. We captured the following details:

  • Contextual information about YNPN as a national organization, including their brand guidelines
  • Background information about YNPN Portland specifically
  • Key attributes for the new logo
  • Asset list
  • Desired timeline for the project
  • Key contacts for the project

We were now ready to look for a designer! To do so, we utilized our networks to generate a list of potential freelance designers, shared our creative brief with each, and evaluated the quotes we received. Kathlyn Grant, of Pepion Designs, was our choice!

Step 4: Getting buy-in from leadership

A crucial step for any organization – large or small, nonprofit or for-profit – is presenting a project brief to your leadership!

As marketers, we are used to thinking about our work as crucial, top priorities. But naturally, not everyone in your organization will have the same view. Knowing your audience and the kinds of questions people in specific roles are likely to ask is a useful preparatory exercise.

As you may have guessed given the tone of this article along with the new logo present on this page, in our case the board gave an enthusiastic thumb’s up to the logo redesign and we were ready to get started!


Step 5: Working with our designer

Our designer Kathlyn kindly attended our next committee meeting to dig deeper into the vision and scope of the logo update. We had an engaging conversation with her and created a mood board (click here to read an article about how mood boards help graphic designers meet a client’s needs) to help orient her to the kinds of designs we admire.

Included in our mood board were some fellow YNPN chapters whose branding we love!

After many emails exchanged with Kathlyn (I actually went into my Gmail to confirm: we exchanged 53 emails regarding this project!) and several months’ work on the committee’s part and Kathlyn's herself, it finally came time for what we had been long waiting and anticipating: sharing the logo with the world!

YNPN's new logo

Our new logo aims to represent who are in a new, refreshing way. By adding the graphical element of the raindrop, we reference our Pacific Northwestern setting’s well-known weather patterns while also reflecting our organization’s core driver: to make a difference in our community and empower emerging nonprofit professionals to cause a ripple effect in their own careers and communities.

The orange was a bold but deliberate choice: orange is warm, joyful, and enthusiastic. We also paid close attention to the accessibility of our logo by ensuring our contrast ratios and overall design would be readable.

Ultimately, we’re delighted with our new logo and its embodiment of our mission as an organization!


We hope sharing our story helps provide insight into what a re-branding process can look like in an organization. If you have additional questions on this topic, please feel free to send us an email at

Also, be sure to peruse Kathlyn Grant's website portfolio to see the other awesome work she has done!

Member Spotlight: A Q&A with Olivia Bormann


At the end of 2019, YNPN Portland conducted a survey to learn more about our community – that’s YOU!

And you responded! You shared your wants, hopes, and desires, and we took them to heart as our board came together in December to plan what’s ahead for YNPN Portland.

We will share a summary of the survey results in the coming weeks – stay tuned!

In the meantime, we would like to highlight a YNPN member and the lucky recipient of the 2019 Member Survey gift card giveaway: Olivia Bormann! Olivia is the Associate Director of Development at the University of Portland. Formerly, she worked at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. We followed up with Olivia to learn about her outlook for 2020.

What were some of your biggest accomplishments in 2019?

  1. I found an incredible therapist -- talk about life changing!
  2. I learned how to set boundaries with work (what I will agree to, work/life balance, not being attached to my email)

What are you looking forward to in 2020?

I'm looking forward to expanding my Portland network! I moved here in September 2019 from the Bay Area and it's taken me some time to get settled. Now that I'm feeling grounded I can't wait to meet more young professionals, especially those with side hustles as I'm working on mine!

What is one thing you wished someone had told you when you first started working in education?

It was going to be equal parts difficult and rewarding to have my first Development job be at my alma mater.

Connect with Olivia on LinkedIn!

Thank you to Olivia for offering to share her time and expertise with us! And thank you to everyone who took the time to share their feedback via the member survey. We look forward to incorporating your awesome ideas into our work and continuing to create equitable and inclusive spaces for learning and connection. Happy 2020!

Spring Panel Discussion recap

Thanks to all of you that came out and helped make our Spring Panel Discussion such a success! Special thanks to our panelists Carmen Brewton-Denison, Anna Kurnizki, and Jen Spafford for sharing their insights and expertise in forging a career path in the social sector.  

Read more

Spring Happy Hour recap

Thank you for attending YNPN Portland's Spring Happy Hour!

We'd like to thank all of you that came out and helped make our Spring Happy Hour a scintillating and successful evening.  And we hope you'll consider joining us for our Spring Panel discussion on Wednesday April 24th! We have some great speakers lined up who will speak to different career paths within the nonprofit sector. More information and tickets can be found here.

December Social Recap & Highlights


On December 5th, we held our last event of the year, our December Social, at Hip Chicks Do Wine in SE Portland.  Around 35 people came out to enjoy refreshments, network, and participate in a end of year reflection on different topics: professional development, self-care, and leadership, among others.  We hope that everyone who joined us found it to be a restorative and scintillating evening; we're already looking forward to our 2019 programming! 

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YNPN Portland 2018 Midterm Ballot Guide

YNPN Portland believes that a strong social sector is able to respond to inequities in our society - not only through the services of nonprofit organizations, but also through advocacy and encouraging folks to help influence systems with their vote. From reproductive justice and racial profiling to fair housing and tax changes, there’s a lot at stake this midterm election.

Below are our positions on the measures you’ll see on your November ballot:

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Event Recap - Moving In and Out of Development


Portlanders exploring a career move into or out of nonprofit development joined YNPN Portland Thursday, Aug. 2 to take part in a panel discussion with Rebecca Channer, Founder of UpCity Consulting and ProsperCity and Jackie Murphy, a Program Officer at Collins Foundation.

Rebecca and Jackie touched on three different topics, drawing from their many years of collective experience as nonprofit professionals. They discussed how to translate your skills for different roles, how to build a vision of your impact on the community and how to find skill development opportunities.

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2017 YNPN National Conference Take Aways

YNPN Portland Board Members Katie Frederick and Patricia Cronin attended the 2017 YNPN National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Patricia interviewed Katie about her experience. 

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Event Recap: Strategies for Managing Conflict

Conflict_PD_Event_(1).pngAvoidance. Stress. Opportunity.

These are three words that attendees at our September 14th “Strategies for Managing Conflict” event shared as their first association with the idea of conflict. Conflict is unavoidable in personal relationships, even (and maybe especially) at work. Trainer Signe Bishop, a Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Oregon Health & Science University, worked with attendees on how to productively approach and respond to conflict. Thanks to OHSU for hosting the event.

Conflict occurs when we perceive that our values, needs, or identity are being challenged or undermined. Using the ideas of fight, flight, or freeze, Bishop led the program with a discussion of biological responses to conflict. When people enter a conflict, they might have certain triggers and responses that can make people upset and escalate the conflict. Triggers might include interruptions, being ignored, or people raising their voice. Responses to triggers might include physical reactions like a red face, trembling voice, or nausea; people might also shut down and try to withdraw from the conflict. Two people will see a conflict as starting at different times and view it through different lenses. Having an understanding of how those triggers and responses show up for people can lead people to have more empathy in a conflict situation.

Bishop introduced 5 strategies for engaging in conflict, which should be deployed at different times - determining which strategy to use is based on how important the issue is and how important the relationship with the other person is. These 5 strategies are:

  1. Compete: competing is a useful strategy when a quick decisive action is needed, perhaps on important issues for which unpopular courses of action are needed. Competing means assertively championing a position, relying on logic and facts to pursue that position, and pressing to get a position understood even if that might be unpopular.

  2. Collaborate: best when both parties’ concerns are too important to be compromised. This requires merging insights from people with different perspectives, valuing consensus, and taking the time to work through hard feelings that surround a decision. Collaboration is also best when buy-in is required from all the stakeholders in a situation.

  3. Compromise: best when both parties’ goals are relatively important but not worth the risk of a competitive approach or the time required for a collaborative approach. Compromise may also be a back-up method for competition or collaboration, and is useful when a temporary or expedient decision is needed.

  4. Avoid: this is best when the potential damage of confrontation outweighs the benefits of resolution, or when the issue is too trivial to escalate into a conflict. Avoidance can also be useful if people need to take time away from the conflict to gather more information or regain perspective and composure.

  5. Accommodate: best when preserving harmony and avoiding disruption are primary goals, accommodation is also advised when one realizes one is wrong or when the issue is much more important to the other person.

Other resources shared by Bishop include:

Getting to Yes (book)

Conversational Capacity (book)

Dare to Disagree (TED Talk)

Searching for “conflict” via Harvard Business Review

What we learned from the 2017 YNPN Portland Survey

What We Learned From the 2017 YNPN Portland Member Survey

This spring YNPN Portland conducted a member survey to better understand our community’s needs, how well we’re serving those needs, and what areas we should focus on as we continue to develop as an organization. If you are one of the 116 people who participated in the survey, thank you for your time and support.

Now that we’ve completed the survey and reflected on the results, we wanted to take the time to circle back with you and share the highlights of our findings.


Read more


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