Keeping the Faith
URM worked with a boutique agency to build a website from the bottom up mainly to just get an online presence out there. And after changing platforms a few times, the online component was not functioning at optimal levels. But URM had been working with fundraising agency Grizzard Communications since 2008 on its newsletters and offline appeals, and as Grizzard developed expertise in online fundraising, it began to help URM out.
“In working with URM, we started with a little bit of a different approach. We started to think about their brand first and who they are, what’s their brand promise and then what do people think they are, what’s their brand perception,” says Glenn McKinney, vice president at Grizzard. “It started with that brand work and then saying, ‘How does that apply into their newsletters, into their appeals,’ and eventually, they wanted to integrate all these communications and start from a single place, a single belief that we can change the fact that L.A. is the homeless capital of America”
So Grizzard and URM came up with a branded positioning statement, You Are the Mission, aka URM. So the online shift started from that brand positioning statement how all the communication channels fit into this big idea.
Once that unified message was established, the really difficult task began. URM had to do a complete audit of its online fundraising arm, everything from the website to e-mail and social media, and it was found to be, in the words of URM Vice President of Marketing and Development Jacqui Groseth, “a mess.”
“I’ll never forget, when we sat down with Grizzard the first time they had just looked at the website and come up with the current mapping of the wireframe, and I started laughing because even though it was a linear chart, it looked like a big ball of string that was all messy — just a disaster,” she says. “Then they showed me the direction they think we should go — to clean it up; have each page be on brand with our current colors, phrasing, terminology; have it be representative of our current programs and services; and then really just think through the different audience groups and make sure they all could find what they needed.”