Case Study - RSSI

Refreshing a nonprofit's story & appearance for growth

For the past 20 years, Renaissance Social Services, Inc have worked to find safe and secure housing for hundreds of Chicago's homeless residents, provide long-term support through one-on-one case management, and help people stay in their homes by offering emergency funds for individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless.

RSSI doesn't have the staff, expertise or time to effectively communicate the full extent of its positive effect on the homeless, and at risk homeless, in Chicago. 

As the organization reached a landmark, they wanted to redesign their website to be more interactive, communicative, visually appealing and easy to manage. They also needed guidance on how to better leverage Facebook to grow their following, potential donors and benefit event attendees.

Moreover, the small agency desires to grow and help more people in need. They understood that they needed changes to increase fundraising and awareness.

public relations agency, nonprofit, Chicago, Omaha, music, recording artist, media relations
Challenges

The issue of homelessness can be difficult to communicate in a positive way. RSSi fell into that trap. While their initial website was bright, it didn't communicate well, there was a lot of repetition. Like most nonprofits, the staff didn't have a lot of time to manage the site well. 

Moreover, their social media posts were infrequent and relied heavily on political news and funding for social services, which has been dim for the last 10 years. instead of motivating people to help, they were trying to fire them up over budget cuts that would effect the organization and its clientele.

Opportunities

RSSI has expanded its programming due to the increase need of homeless families and veterans for affordable housing. While homelessness, tugs at every heart, these two additional segments really bring the need home. 

The organization was not fully communicating the good work they do beyond just housing. It also provides mattresses and bedding, kitchen and bath accessories; everything someone needs for a new home, and things most of us take for granted. RSSI has powerful client success stories that weren't being told well.

RSSI's 20th Anniversary was approaching, giving opportunity for social content.

Strategy

Revamp messaging to be more clear, concise and compelling, and share it on a new, more interactive website and through Facebook. Focusing on the impact the organization has on the area and the powerful human-interest stories.

Create a voice for the organization and show them how to more effectively and positively engage people, and to stay away from dim and dark content, while still pushing for advocacy and keeping people aware of the current status of social services funding in the U.S.

Approach

RSSI's original website had a good approach, but the platform was difficult to use, which made editing and creating the type of site they desired difficult. The voice and personality of the organization needed to be consistent across all marketing platforms.

  • Chose a new, more intuitive platform for the website that would be easy to edit, saving the small staff value time.

  • Present the story of the organization in a more organized and natural way that would educate visitors and encourage their engagement through donations and volunteering.

  • Create visually appealing and dynamic website that meets basic search performance best practices

  • Utilize videos of client stories to educate and create an emotional attachment to the work of the agency.

  • Track website performance, tweak as needed and utilize results for future business planning.

  • Assist the staff with productive ads and content on Facebook to grow following and attendance at 20th Anniversary benefit.

Results

Since its launch in November 2017, the new website has increased in search. Cascade continues to evaluate performance and tweak website as needed. A relatively small agency, Cascade is working with RSSI to create a more effective marketing strategy that they can easily and affordably implement.

Through more positive and motivating Facebook posts, the agency increased engagement with followers. Cascade donated some Facebook ads to help grow followers and increase awareness of the RSSI 20th Anniversary benefit.

Results continue to be tracked.

  • Grew Facebook following by 45%

  • Increased post and ad engagement by 300%

  • Increased event engagement from past years by 700%

  • Introduced to WBEZ Chicago Public Radio reporter as an expert for pending inclusion.

Contact: 
Chicago I Omaha

Chicago, IL 

T: 773/961-7791

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