We gave Reach for Home a new brand with the goals of clarifying the mission to help the homeless and strengthening its messaging to donors.
Graybird believes that life-changing nonprofits deserve life-affirming brands. Never has this been more true than for North Sonoma County Services (NSCS). This small homeless services group was making a larger-than-life impact on the underserved residents who had lost housing or were at risk of doing so. But they fought an uphill battle everyday. The communities in and around Healdsburg nestled in the famed California wine country are perceived as affluent by many and immune to any homeless issues plagued by more populated centers in the rest of the county. However, according to the 2016 Sonoma County Homeless Census and Survey, nearly 3,000 adults and children live in Sonoma County without stable housing, which is three times higher than the national rate of homelessness. With little awareness of homeless support options, no emergency shelter in North Sonoma County and an environment with severe weather patterns, the implications were dire for residents when an accident, illness, layoff or act of domestic violence overturns their world.
The Outreach coordinators intervene on clients’ behalf by providing food, emergency supplies and transportation to medical and social services appointments. The Family Transitional and Permanent Supportive Housing case managers arrange for clean and safe subsidized housing along with transformational life skills to increase the odds that clients will remain in stable living environments.
Although this small organization managed to run an effective program funded by meager donations, government assistance and private and public partnerships, the reach of its efforts has been hamstrung. Names and identity are critical to connect with donors and the community at large. The North Sonoma County Services label was confusing because sounded like a government agency, which it was not. The abbreviation—NSCS—was also hard to articulate. Add these factors to some unclear messaging and suboptimal visibility and you end up with an identity problem. With the background of having worked on a larger homeless rebranding project, Graybird quickly recognized the distinct challenges and sensitivities around marketing homeless services.
We are beyond grateful to the entire Graybird team for the incredible work they put into our rebrand. Their efforts helped lift our organization to a new level of professionalism. They dramatically increased our visibility and created awareness within our community about the work we have done in assisting the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless. Their efforts will help fund many more programs and save countless lives. We are truly blessed to have such a phenomenal organization working with us to elevate our success to another level.
Colleen Carmichael, Reach for Home Executive Director
Establishing trust is one of the most important steps before a homeless client is receptive to accepting help. And we were delighted that the NSCS leadership trusted Graybird to revamp its branding. To best understand how the organization was perceived, we started with research in the form of a stakeholder survey. Graybird conducted phone interviews with board members, staff, donors, volunteers, clients and partners. The results revealed the passionate, dedicated and caring team needed a name change that would clarify its purpose and convey positive outcomes.
Branding a New Identity
The new Reach for Home name, logo and tagline were designed to more effectively highlight the success people can achieve when they engage in action plans and work hard for positive outcomes, especially learning the life skills needed to attain permanent housing and independence.
Name Focuses on positive outcomes vs hopelessness of homelessness.
“Reach” is a call-to-action for people to make positive changes in their lives and put in the effort to return to stable housing.
Logo projects a friendly and approachable vs stiff, cold or bureaucratic organization.
Hands convey supportive, dedicated and caring nature of this small nonprofit.
“Home” clarifies the function of the organization.
Tagline reinforces mission of housing and the comprehensive services for the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless. Rhyme and repetition are memorable.
Asset Production and Launch Event
We developed Reach for Home-branded assets (signs, donation cards, brochures, the business system, stickers, bags, and a redesigned website) and helped plan the May 2017 launch that took place at the Paul Mahder Gallery inHealdsburg.
In partnership with the communications firm, IQ360, Graybird wrote the launch press release, briefed third-party spokespeople from partner nonprofits, the local police and county government. We assisted with event logistics, collected online donations and distributed branded tote bags to promote excitement amongst donors and supporters.
Additionally, with Beth Pielert of Good Film Works, Graybird produced a five-minute Fund-A-Need video for the Reach for Home annual fundraiser. This asset was key in raising over $100,000 — more than twice as much as the previous year.
Fund a Need Video
We worked with a number of Graybird affiliates during this project that helped ensure the successful launch of the new brand.
Karen Kamberg of Karen Kamberg Design created the new logo, developed a color palette, and a cohesive family of marketing materials including a tri-fold brochure, a six-foot pull-up banner, business cards, letterhead and envelopes, social media images, donor card packages and a style guide.
Mark Stover of StoverPix created an easy-to-update Squarespace website that highlights positive outcomes for Reach for Home clients and conveys the organization’s mission to potential donors in a straightforward manner. The website also features the Stripe app to conveniently accept online donations.
Beth Pielert of Good Film Works conducted a one-day long photoshoot with staff and clients in Healdsburg to capture inspiring photos that are used on the new website, on social media, in signage and brochures. Her photography emphasizes the positive potential of Reach for Home clients.
Jeff Scott of IQ360 helped develop a PR plan to attract media coverage in Sonoma County and get the message out about the organization’s rebranding.
I was truly amazed by the Graybird team and their high quality of work. With the rebrand they helped us every step of the way from the outset, and all was accomplished quickly and seamlessly. They moved us forward swiftly and secured the final name, logo, URL and the like. Our launch was a huge success and the feedback from the community and our stakeholders has been extraordinarily positive.
Tom Hartfield, Reach for Home Board Chair
Our project, which took place over just four short months, culminated with a very successful debut of the new name and logo to the Healdsburg community on May 13, 2017. Close to 200 people were in attendance at the Paul Mahder Gallery for the launch event and we secured media coverage of the announcement.
The new Reach for Home identity captures the heart and mission of the organization and provides a platform for the next wave of fundraising. With a new brand and strong messaging, Reach for Home is now well poised to appeal to the community and local businesses to support its homeless services in North Sonoma County.