Brewer Direct

GO LOCAL: How Citywide Partnerships Get Results

Here’s how one nonprofit leveraged local partnerships… with huge results!

GO LOCAL: How Citywide Partnerships Get Results

Want to hear more? Get ALL the details at Citygate Network Annual Convention in Palm Springs on June 3-6! We’ll discuss the success of our citywide marketing blitz for Wheeler Mission’s 125th anniversary campaign.

Last year, as part of the integrated multi-media strategy for nonprofit client Wheeler Mission celebrating their 125th anniversary, Brewer Direct worked with Wheeler in utilizing local partnerships to get out the word about their campaign goal: $1.25 million in 125 days to support the growing numbers of homeless women and children in their city.

Most nonprofits rely on the help of community partners (like local businesses, churches and civic groups), but it doesn’t have to be limited to financial support.

When you reach out and develop these partnerships, you’ll end up with additional funds, PLUS opportunities to build your brand awareness, enhance/expand your current services and most importantly, expose new people to your cause.

Lolly Colombo, Brewer Direct’s VP/Client Service who provided strategic leadership on Wheeler 125 campaign, says: “There is nothing more powerful than setting hearts on fire. Wheeler accomplished that at a grassroots level by meeting the people in their city where they are with powerful messaging wrapped around a powerful mission.”

The campaign leveraged a number of citywide partnerships, which helped bring more attention and greater recognition to the campaign.

Here are two ways citywide partnerships benefited Wheeler’s campaign:

  1. Snowball effect. Once a few prominent city and business leaders get on board, others want to lend their support as well. This support provided legitimacy to the campaign. It helped strengthen Wheeler’s overall branding. In other words, with such prominent endorsements, the Mission is viewed as a major charity in the city.
  2. Endorsements heaven. How do you really make people really take notice of your cause? Get a local celebrity, government official or other city personality that your community knows and trusts to endorse it! In Wheeler’s case, the governor of Indiana, the second lady of the United States, Indy’s mayor and congressman, major state and local sports figures (including mascots!), and the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway all talked and/or posted their support of the 125 campaign for women and children. These endorsements not only raised awareness among the public, but helped lead to major companies contributing too.

“By bringing our message to the person on the street, we were able to leverage the voice and passion of public opinion,” Lolly says. “That led to the social media world catching on fire and rallied local media to bring the focus of Wheeler’s campaign to support homeless women and children to the forefront of Indy’s attention.”

With the campaign trending on social media and in local media, Wheeler was able to leverage a growing group of community volunteers to help raise awareness across Indianapolis with teams on the ground bearing promotional flyers and posters.

With the help of local partnerships, Wheeler’s campaign got HUGE results – and greatly exceeded their $1.25 million goal!


Interested in how a campaign like this would work in your city? Contact Lolly Colombo, our VP/Client Service.

Want more? For this month’s “Need to Read” about being “on brand” as a nonprofit, click here.

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