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Brand + Communications Strategy

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Commonwealth Catholic Charities Brand Identity Development The Martin Agency (Pro Bono)

The Project: Direct the development of a new brand identity and communications materials

CCC wanted to update its image, and it needed to apply some organizing principles to its efforts to spread awareness of its services and solicit new donations specifically Corporate and Major Gifts

The Outcome: Serious props from the client Presenting the new brand platform I developed to the CCC Board of Directors and Executives was a one-of-a-kind experience; it’s the only time I’ve seen strategy make a client cry After the brand platform brought tears of gratitude, I used it to provide direction for the creation of graphic standards, which I shared with one happy client along with a sample solicitation presentation

How to give a venerable institution a sense of self, breathing new life for the next 85+ years

Organization Overview: 86 years of (all kinds of) service Formed in 1923, Commonwealth Catholic Charities provides a wide variety of programs and services to vulnerable individuals and families throughout central and southwestern Virginia

Project Goals: Provide an identity that gives meaning to the CCC brand was dissatisfied with its look and feel; it didn’t give a sense of the integrated 1CCC nature of its programs of the unified approach it brings to service Existing communications often default to a woe-begotten tone in efforts to emphasize need

- not very motivating for potential donors they need an uplifting voice that focuses on the programs’ benefits

efforts for potential corporate donors hinged on monthly, sparsely 2Fundraising attended fundraising luncheons with the CCC Board The small bit of information that was provided between bites was unorganized, and there was rarely an ask at the end The Board needed an “elevator pitch” that could get them in the door, and materials to continue the story once they had a prospect’s attention

Research Study Analysis: To determine what donor prospects looked for in communications from CCC, my first step was to analyze the previously commissioned study Insight


The donor : prospect awareness gap

The numbers game of solicitation

• 58% of current or potential donors are somewhat familiar with services, versus...

• 67% believe showing statistics of impact

• 65% of corporate prospects are not at all

• 92% feel it is very important to know how

is very important a charity manages money

familiar with charity or services

Implications Customize communications with programs of interest for individual prospects

Implications Capitalize on CCC’s high percent of donations that go directly toward helping those in need



it can educate about its various 2Before services, CCC must know what it stands for

2Highlight CCC’s scale and scope

Assets & Obstacles: To Address:

To Leverage:

“Catholic” stigma

A wide range of programs to serve the vulnerable at any life-stage limits focus

Emphasis on necessary, relatively basic services, versus more “en vogue” issues this comes as a result of nearly 90 years of operation

Operations of programs maintains a close connection to those in need

Programs focus on “essential” services

Efficient operations maximize use of funds

Scope of services and geography results in significant impact on community

Brand Platform: Position




CCC is the charity that provides what’s needed most by those most in need, regardless of faith

Genuine help whenever and wherever it’s needed




High-caliber service with 86 years of experience

16 different programs offer support at all stages of life

86% of contributions go directly to helping those in need

Practical compassion A bias for action with a can-do spirit


Genuine help whenever and wherever it’s needed Objective: “Up the profile” of CCC with cohesive look and message • Give CCC a cohesive identity for all of its programs • “Tell the story” that must precede donor outreach; help CCC stand for something that goes beyond its association with the Catholic faith

Audience: Corporate and Major Gifts donation prospects Carefully consider gifts; efficiency and impact are major factors Want personal connections with the organization and its cause

Relationship-building is crucial

Are not compelled to give by CCC’s Catholic association

The brand must stand on its own merits

Strategic Support:

With its large and well-organized infrastructure, CCC is more equipped to offer help whenever and wherever it’s needed Personality: Practical compassion A bias for action; doing is better than talking. The organization is closely connected to those in need, and it brings an optimistic, can-do spirit for helping them

Creative Output: Bring the new brand platform to life 1. Graphic standards for all communications 2. Collateral to facilitate relationship building with high-profile prospects

WORK Graphic Standards

AD: Matt Wotysiak (The Martin Agency)

Solicitation Presentation (excerpts)

Sample Customized Page (highlighting prospect’s program of interest)

Commowealth Catholic Charities  

Development of a brand platform and graphic standards for a 86-year-old institution that nevertheless lacked a true identity.

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