We are honored to share case studies of our projects that illustrate the value we bring to our clients.
REDF is a nonprofit venture philanthropy organization founded in 1997 that provides funding, technical assistance and overall support to social enterprises that employ people facing barriers to work. As part of REDF’s national portfolio expansion in 2016, the organization was ramping up its national network of social enterprises (SE4Jobs) and launching its first regional chapter in Southern California (SE4Jobs:LA) to organize, support and advocate for social enterprises.
REDF faced a number of communications challenges with this situation, including a general lack of understanding of the term “social enterprise,” multiple layers of branding (REDF, SE4Jobs, SE4Jobs:LA) and a need to engage with new stakeholders in the business and social impact communities.
Elliott Strategies identified the need for a targeted, audience-specific approach to achieve REDF’s communications goals for SE4Jobs:LA and create a strong foundation for the future growth of the network at the local, regional and national levels. We conducted extensive and multi-faceted research as a baseline for our recommendations, including:
- One-on-one interviews with stakeholders representing social enterprises, business, government, funders and nonprofit partners in Southern California
- Analysis of recent media coverage of social enterprise and REDF in Los Angeles
- Benchmarking of communications efforts of initiatives similar in scope and goals
This research-driven approach provided important, new insights into the value proposition of REDF and SE4Jobs:LA to key stakeholders, the general landscape of social enterprise in Southern California, and best practices from other organizations that successfully navigated similar opportunities.
We delivered brand identity recommendations for SE4Jobs:LA, a comprehensive message platform (with separate sections for each key stakeholder group), and a 15-month marketing and communications plan. All of our work was closely aligned with branding and communications strategies and efforts for SE4Jobs at the national level and REDF as the overarching organization.
Specific messages developed by Elliott Strategies to define “social enterprise” are now being used not only by the SE4Jobs:LA network, but across REDF’s general communications. The message platform is actively in use at SE4Jobs events (national and Southern California), in stakeholder meetings and with media – and the response thus far has been extremely positive. The marketing and communications plan is now moving into implementation, and results will be monitored on an ongoing basis.
“Working with Elliott Strategies was delightful, and they were very responsive and adaptive to client needs,” said Ashley Cordero, Initiatives Manager of REDF. “They provided a plan that was both strategic and tactical, understanding how to deliver a product that reflected the client’s resource capabilities.”
Dress for Success Worldwide-West
Dress for Success’ regional office in Los Angeles was struggling to gain significant prominence and sustainable funding after four years of operations. The hard-working and talented staff saw their efforts plateauing and needed to figure out how to get to the next level of growth.
The West Coast office needed West Coast leadership! Because it operates under the umbrella of Dress for Success Worldwide in New York, Dress for Success Worldwide-West doesn’t have a separate Board of Directors with fiduciary responsibilities. But it needed connectors, door openers, influencers and friends on the ground in Los Angeles to help realize its strategic goals.
Elliott Strategies developed a charter for the West Coast Advisory Council that outlined the purpose, roles and responsibilities, and guidelines for membership. Then we recruited 15 senior executive women from a range of industries (entertainment, PR/marketing, law, finance, etc.) who were passionate about the Dress for Success mission and excited to be ambassadors for the organization in Los Angeles and beyond. Some of the new Advisory Council members were existing Dress for Success volunteers or donors, some were recommended by early Advisory Council members, and others were completely new to the organization. Elliott Strategies also led on-boarding for new Advisory Council members and initial group meetings.
Six months after the first Advisory Council meeting, the group has become a wealth of resources, connections and outreach. The early accomplishments of the Advisory Council include:
- Offered strategic insights on programs, real estate, marketing and PR
- Helped double attendance and revenue at the organization’s annual Empower Breakfast
- Provided graphic design services on a pro bono basis
- Connected Dress for Success to over 30 new corporate contacts
- Introduced junior colleagues to Dress for Success’young professionals group
- Represented Dress for Success as speakers at industry and community events
- Assumed leadership roles for upcoming fundraising events
“The Advisory Council is the cornerstone for our continued growth and success in Los Angeles,” said Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide. “Suzanne helped to bring together the right people and give them the structure, inspiration and encouragement to make things happen.”
Photo credit: Dress for Success Worldwide-West