Our strategic development and fundraising services help nonprofits succeed.
Whether you need help with general development, branding, development strategy, a capital campaign, or another fundraising initiative, we can help you meet and exceed your goals. We equip nonprofit organizations to raise the funds they need to take their work to the next level. Our approach includes both strategic guidance and the creation of print and web assets, giving you everything you need to craft an effective plan and approach donors with confidence.
We started working with City Mission of Washington, PA, to help them brand, market, and launch a capital campaign to build a recycling center and a veterans shelter. We took an innovative approach by combining the two initiatives into Operation Renew Honor, an integrated solution for homeless veterans centered around vocational training. Then when a fire destroyed City Mission’s main building, we helped the mission reinvigorate its general brand, redesigned its website, and crafted a broader capital campaign for both short-term and long-term renewal: RENEW 2020.
We consulted with City Mission’s leaders on how to respond to the fire and how to roll out their campaign. We also advised the staff on how to give presentations and created the materials they would need to promote the mission and its campaign. Upon the launch of their new website, City Mission experienced a 300% increase in online donations. This momentum quickly enabled the mission to break ground on a new men’s shelter, kitchen, and dining facility, with more new construction on the way. And since 2016 is City Mission’s seventy-fifth anniversary year, Black Lake has created messaging, visual branding, and event assets for the celebration.
Audio Scripture Ministries
ASM has a rich legacy of adapting to the times, and recently, the staff decided that it was time to reassess their communications strategy for the next decade of service. We went through a discovery process with key leaders and uncovered a need to fine-tune the ministry’s message in light of the changing environment of the twenty-first century. Based on our insights, we created a new visual design for the brand, as well as a new tagline and more relevant brand messaging.
We also crafted a full range of media assets, including a variety of print materials and a new website, to help ASM spread the word and increase their donor base. Because of our strategic initiative, ASM was able to improve its score on Charity Navigator from three stars to four. Our team also strategized with ASM’s leaders about how to release their new branding to the public. This involved a website launch coordinated with a year-end newsletter announcing the rebranding. We also worked with ASM to create the exact assets the ministry would need to recruit new donors and partners from a variety of walks of life.
Holland Rescue Mission
The leaders of Holland Rescue Mission knew it was time to take another step forward in their innovative approach to serving the homeless and less fortunate, so they brought us in to help them craft and implement their vision. We collaborated with the mission’s team to shape and sharpen the message of the campaign. Our team crafted a name, verbal Brand Story, and visual Identity Package for HRM’s Gateway Center campaign. With the brand in place, we then moved into creating the assets that Holland Rescue Mission would need to successfully execute their vision.
We collaborated closely with HRM’s leadership team to get them ready for the big reveal. This included assets for the banquet itself, as well as marketing collateral to raise awareness in the broader community. The banquet went off without a hitch, and now the mission is using the tools and messaging we created to build enthusiasm in the community and fund the Gateway Center’s construction and programming.
Local First of West Michigan is a leader in the local movement in the greater Grand Rapids area, the U.S., and the world. Wanting to communicate their message more clearly in order to inspire business leaders, investors, and the general public, they came to Black Lake for help. We guided executive director Elissa Hillary through a discovery process that unearthed key insights about Local First’s brand and message.
We then consulted with Elissa to improve the organization’s marketing materials. Our team developed content for Local First’s website and case statements and suggested changes that would make these pieces more compelling to funders. We also helped Elissa write her keynote address and coached her on how to deliver it. We advised Local First on how to use their website, case statements, and Elissa’s keynote to engage business owners and potential investors. We also made recommendations for an awareness campaign to get the public excited about Local First. Now Black Lake is collaborating with Elissa and her team to develop new messaging to communicate Local First’s ideas to a variety of audiences.
Horizons International is a Christian missionary organization dedicated to reaching Muslims for Christ. We have done several projects with Horizons, including publishing Georges Houssney’s book Engaging Islam and creating the materials for the Engage Course. Our team helped write, edit, design, and publish the course textbook and consulted on the course model. The Engage Course has empowered Horizons to teach even more people how to share their faith with their Muslim neighbors.
Neighbors of Hope
Lenawee County Mission was a young and growing ministry with the desire to continue expanding its services to better serve the homeless and the broader community. However, leaders were unsure of the best course of action. Black Lake went through a full-day mind mapping session with staff, board members, key donors, and the executive director to better understand LCM’s brand and the direction it should take in its further development. We also conducted focus groups and surveys so we could listen to LCM’s donors and include their insights in the process. Taking everything we discovered into account, we then helped the mission rebrand itself as Neighbors of Hope and develop a strategic marketing and development plan with achievable goals for fundraising and expansion. The organization’s new direction and goals were very well received by donors, and they’ve already gone a long way to achieving those goals. The Black Lake team now consults with Neighbors of Hope on an ongoing basis as they implement their development plan and continue to serve and grow.
IKUS Life Enrichment Services
For decades, Indian Trails Camp has expanded the opportunities available to disabled persons in the greater Grand Rapids area. Over time, the organization developed a wide variety of programming, and today, the “camp” label does not accurately describe ITC’s overall mission. Their leadership team brought us in to help chart a way forward, beginning with a series of in-depth mind mapping sessions. Based on our findings and insights, we recommended that ITC create a new parent brand, IKUS Life Enrichment Services, that would encompass all of its services, including the camp, which would retain its own brand. We designed this new brand and helped IKUS navigate the process of unveiling it. We are looking forward to helping IKUS with its continued development efforts in the months ahead.