Tim Sauer March 05, 2021
Pro bono work is a must for creative agencies – and not just because we have a responsibility to give back to the community. For one thing, it just feels great to advance the social good. There are opportunities to stretch your creative muscles in new ways. And if you’re very, very lucky, your pro bono client will wow you with their vision, uplift you with their spirit, and make you feel like a true partner in creating something important.
A year or so ago, we were contacted by a client who served on the board of a fledgling non-profit founded by Twin Cities-based interior designer Mark Ostrom. His brainchild, then called Circle Design, had a clearly defined mission: to create life-enhancing environments for youth with life-limiting medical conditions. These are kids who spend a lot of their lives stuck at home, often in settings that aren’t well-suited for their particular circumstances.
Mark asked himself, what if we could marshal the talents of designers, architects, builders, donors, volunteers and sponsors to give kids a place they can truly call their own, a place that’s custom-designed to accommodate their needs, a place that liberates rather than confines, that becomes a magnet for all the other kids in the neighborhood? The benefits were obvious.
But so were the challenges. Among them: How do you connect to funders, partners and clients?
Well, to start with you need a strong identity, compelling messaging, and some basic communication vehicles. In other words, you need a great brand.
All it took was a single meeting – or rather, the first five minutes of that initial meeting – for us to sign on. The mission was laudable. Mark’s past work for kids was spectacular (we’re not talking about giving a kid of racecar bed; he had created incredible, enveloping environments, as gorgeous as they were functional).
While Mark focused on everything else necessary to create a new non-profit, we went to work on the brand fundamentals, including naming, positioning, and look & feel. Once the foundation had been laid and 501(c)3 status assured, we proceeded to the next phase – outfitting the newly christened Joy Collaborative with business cards, print and digital collateral, fundraising tools and a number of other communication vehicles.
Joy Collaborative is off to a smashing start – winning support from major national organizations and embarking on projects immediately.
We didn’t create the website, but you’ll find a lot of great information there. In fact, it might even inspire you to make a donation!