CASE STUDY: Get more grants through brand positioning
Learn how to align your message to the needs of key donors so that they feel confident in funding your campaign.
“Bruce, guess what! We received a $100,000 check today for facility improvements. This was the meeting we created the case statement for!!! Thank you thank you!” Cindi Johnson, Executive Director, Side By Side
Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse, Inc. is a day program for people with traumatic brain injuries. The organization was launching its first multi-million campaign – a $3 million effort to upgrade their facility, expand staff, add programs, increase visibility, and validate their clinical approach.
The challenge was to elevate Side by Side’s brand image so that major donors would feel confident in funding the campaign. Here are the steps we took:
In effect, this relatively small program run out of a converted house in Stone Mountain, Georgia was preparing for its moonshot.
1. Brand Story Workshop
The workshop is the starting point to answer those deep-dig questions and can be conducted in person or via video conference. We created an online questionnaire, distributed it to key staff, and shared the results in the Workshop.
The first question we uncovered:
- Will donors perceive Side By Side as a Membership Organization or a Clinical Program?
We found evidence for both perceptions. Because donors would better respond to the organization’s clinical work, we focused the brand position on the clinical mission. (See the Our Brand Story slide).
2. Brand Positioning Statement
The next major goal was to distill a brand position using the formula on the right:
Brand positions are not meant to be eloquent; they are internal statements designed to guide all marketing efforts — similar to the way a recipe guides a culinary creation. Here is our result:
- TARGET CUSTOMER: For donors, payers, and policymakers…
- PROBLEM OR NEED: Who seek a cost-effective, positive, and proven impact on the human cost of brain injuries to our society, while improving the quality of life of the people impacted and their families…
- SECRET SAUCE: Only Side by Side, with its unique Partnership Model, rebuilds shattered lives by engaging the whole person through a community of mutual support coupled with professional guidance.
- PROOF: The success of our Partnership Model is evidenced by our program’s ability to: Achieve incremental goals of self-sufficiency by 90 percent, increase the health and well-being of the family, reduce initial rehabilitation costs up to 85 percent, protect the payer’s investment in rehabilitation gains, and lower the total cost of future care.
3. Case Statement
Case Statement – When it’s time to pitch a major donor, the case statement is the first thing that comes out of your brief case. In the past, Side by Side presented homemade trifold brochures created in MS Office.
Instead, we wrote and designed a glossy 20-page tabloid size brochure. With digital printing, printing was only $361 for 50 copies — and easily updated over the course of the campaign.
One of the Side by Side’s members had become a talented one-handed photographer after her injury, so we had access to a wealth of photos to tell the story. (see image right)
One of the Side by Side’s members had become a talented one-handed photographer after her injury, so we had access to a wealth of photos to tell the story.
4. Brand Identity
We suggested changing the logo and shortening the brand name from Side by Side Brain Injury Clubhouse to Side by Side. Executive Director, Cindi Johnson was willing to give it a try despite 16 years with the old logo.
We also branded the campaign as Side by Side 2020 and their unique clinical approach (the secret sauce) as the Side by Side Partnership Model.
5. Messaging Platform
A messaging platform contains plug-and-play statements for consistent messaging in donor pitches, speeches, Web copy, displays, press releases and more.
The Elevator Speech is the heart of a messaging platform. In 3-5 paragraphs, it presents the emotional urgency of the problem, the unique solution, and the proven result:
Urgent Problem: With over 300,000 combat veterans having returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), public awareness has never been greater. Often overlooked, are the millions of TBIs that occur in the United States at an annual cost of $76 billion. 2.5 million emergency room visits are diagnosed with TBI each year, usually from falls, sports, and accidents.
While most people recover quickly from a mild concussion, a severe brain injury can disrupt family, career, and daily living – often for life. The big question facing providers, payers, and policy makers: After the person is released from medical care, what comes next? With 5.3 million Americans disabled by TBI, how do they rebuild their shattered lives?
Unique Solution: In the state of Georgia, only one organization offers a next step for persons with mild to severe TBI. Side by Side has pioneered a Partnership Model for rebuilding lives that have been broken by a traumatic brain injury. Our proven approach engages the whole person through a group setting of skills-based rehabilitation and mutual emotional support coupled with professional guidance.
Proven Result: The success of our leading approach is evidenced by our program’s ability to:
- Achieve incremental goals of self-sufficiency (by 90 percent of our members),
- Increase the health and well-being of the family,
- Reduce initial rehabilitation costs by up to 85 percent,
- Protect the payer’s investment in rehabilitation gains, and
- Lower the total cost of future care.
“Bruce brought clarity to our brand story by deconstructing our messaging, defining our matrix of stakeholders — clients, donors, referral sources, policy makers, and the public — and then targeting messages to each.
Over the past 18 years I’ve hired many consultants and finally hit the jackpot with Bruce. It is rare to find such efficiency and creativity, and at the detail and big-picture levels. You get a “whole brain” approach from one very talented professional. Truly the best investment of our small nonprofit dollars I’ve ever made.”Cindi Johnson