Case Study: Family Focus Gets New Messaging, Website using pro bono

Submitted by Alayna Held on Jun 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

Family Focus supports low-income families and communities across Chicago in preparing their children for the best possible start in life. Offering comprehensive services ranging from classes for expecting teen parents to referral services to support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren, Family Focus works to bolster the capacity of the family unit by preparing children and their families to be successful, confident individuals better positioned to be successful throughout their lives.

The Challenge

Family Focus initially applied for a Key Messages & Brand Strategy Service Grant in hopes that clear messaging and strategy that encompassed the breadth and impact of their programs would help distinguish themselves from other social service agencies. At the close of their project, Carol Neithercut, the Account Director, reported on the impact: “Family Focus had a big need, and we ended up with key messages that just sang off the page. Messages that explained not only why it was important to give money, but how that money would help these children to grow up successful, contributing members of their community.”

After successfully completing their first Service Grant -- sponsored by the Joyce Foundation -- which left them with a new brand, key messaging, and board training, Family Focus came back to Taproot in 2012 ready to create an innovative website using their redesigned messaging. Family Focus reported that they wanted a website that was both aesthetically pleasing and informative, helping them distinguish themselves as a top resource in Chicago. Hoping to create a “donor friendly” website building off of the new messaging from their last Service Grant project, Family Focus reported: “We want to build an engaging website which clearly presents who we are, what we do, and why donors should support Family Focus.”

The Work

Family Focus was awarded a Web Service Grant in December 2012. The team of pro bono consultants was led by Todd Rosenthal – who has 17 years of IT experience as a Senior Manager at Accenture. With the support of a project manager, marketing manager, web developer, graphic designer, content manager, and photographer, Todd and the pro bono consultant team were positioned to be successful in supporting Family Focus in an overhaul of their existing website.

In March 2013, the project kicked off and the team began their “discovery” process, where they were immersed in the culture of Family Focus and its stakeholders, namely its clients and key staff. This broad, objective view enabled the pro bono consultant team to assess how they could re-invigorate the organization’s website to help them better serve their mission and reach a wider audience. After several months of exploration, coding, and research, the pro bono consultant team presented the final website with 20 pages of redesigned content – using the new messaging from their first Service Grant—to Family Focus. The project completed in November 2013 and is valued at $50,000.


The Impact

The final deliverable – a refreshed website that modernizes Family Focus’ online presence – was created and tailored to the communication goals of Family Focus. This new, customized resource will enable the organization to better serve its constituents and communicate with a broader range of clients, volunteers, and donors. Family Focus finally has the engaging website they needed to remain competitive in the local funding market.

Both the pro bono consultants and Family Focus were positively impacted by the project’s success.  Account Director Todd Rosenthal reported at the project’s close: “You can see the passion the folks at these nonprofits have and the interest to get the mission accomplished. The end result [of bringing together the skills of the pro bono team and the nonprofit organization] has been powerful.”

Family Focus began to see the benefits of the new website almost immediately after it launched. Without the support of their pro bono consultant team, Family Focus would have been hard pressed to find the resources to take on similar project. “Very few funders today give general operating support – so nonprofits lack access to funds for marketing and messaging,” Nopar added. The impact of Family Focus’ two Service Grant projects have extended well beyond the completion date and scoped deliverables. 

Family Focus is very happy with the final website. It is now more visually appealing and better organized, allowing our supporters to locate information easily.
- Carolyn Nopar, Director of Development

In addition to the customized messages created during their first Service Grant and the refreshed website from the most recent project, Family Focus also gained two new board members from its volunteer teams. Project Manager Jacinda Adams and Marketing Manager Alicia Cruz both joined Family’s Focus’s Board of Directors after completing the Key Messaging and Brand Strategy Service Grant. After the project completed, both Adams and Cruz had connected to the organization on a personal level and wanted to stay involved to help guide it toward future success.

“When you have a great team you walk away with friendships and business partnerships,” Jacinda Adams reported. Family Focus can use the resources created by this project to impact their work for years to come. In the future, as they look to partner with new funding partners and engage new participants in their program, they will be positioned to advocate for themselves in a way that rings true to their mission thanks to the tools developed by pro bono consultants.

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