Converting Information into Inspiration for Compassion International

Compassion International’s volunteer mobilization team had an amazing year. At their kick off meeting for 2017, Mike Lenda, National Director of Mobilization and Engagement wanted to thank his team and celebrate their accomplishments.

And quite a lot of accomplishments there were. So the challenge became: how to convert all of that information into inspiration for the team as they began the New Year.

Oh – and it had to be aligned with their brand…and finished in a week!

There wasn’t time for data visualization or much illustration. We had to work with the copy and find a way to organize and present it effectively.

We started by grouping the data into digestible, related chunks. We looked for groups of content that could be organized as a category. Then we made sure it had a flow from one section to another.

We then did some research on their website to understand their style, key message, brand language, colors and visual hooks. We incorporated those as we edited the copy and designed illustrations for each section.

You can use this idea in your own organization to thank your staff, board or volunteers. You could create a one page annual report, gratitude report or impact report. Your donors, volunteers and grantors want to know what you’ve been doing. Don’t waste their attention with a boring word document. Turn your accomplishments into an asset for connection!

Are you ready to get started converting your information into inspiration?

We have a few tools to help you:

  • In March we’ll be running a follow up to that Master Class that will teach you (in a live demo) how to use some of the best online tools to create your own infographics.
  • Or, you can always give us a call and have us do it for you. That’s what we’re here for!

Mobilizing a City to Plan America’s 250th Birthday Bash

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America’s turning 250 in 2026! And an occasion like that deserves an epic party.

USA250, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, is building a coalition to develop plans for honoring the country’s Semiquincentennial, with America’s birthplace as the hub of the festivities. The idea is for Philadelphia to be the center of activity for the year — producing and hosting seminal events throughout 2026. Think All Star Games, the Super Bowl, special exhibits at all the museums and compelling public events.

To begin building momentum, the USA250 hosted Toast250, a kickoff party to bring stakeholders to the table.

We’re not sure who had more fun — the partygoers that evening, or our graphic design team while creating the event brand!

logo

To help make Toast250 a smashing success, we designed a suite of event materials starting with a re-design of the Toast250 logo.

We continued with an invitation package, an email banner, web graphics, social media images, event signage elements and a photo backdrop of Independence Hall.

facebook-post

We also worked with our client to provide a design that allowed him to update digital invitations and print small batches on the fly. That way he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to bring someone new into the fold.

Here’s to 2026 in Philadelphia!

Do you have an event you’d like to make extra special? Let’s talk before your to-do list makes you feel like you’re 250!

Creating a Warm Welcome to XPN

december-blog-wxpn

This summer we helped National Public Radio station, WXPN (XPN) build a better connection with new subscribers who attended their free Latin music festival.

The station has been adding Latin content to their broadcast lineup for some time and last year launched NUEVOFEST, an incredible free Latin music festival.

NUEVOFEST attracts many who are new to XPN. The station wanted a way to connect this new audience to XPN content and move them towards membership.

They have an excellent and regular e-news, but that content is broad and covers their whole audience. How can you help new audiences get to know you while giving them exactly what they want? Here’s how we did it…

The time in between someone signing up and receiving their first e-newsletter is a powerful time. They are never more engaged then right after they have had a positive experience.

For most organizations what happens in this time is — well, nothing. It’s a valley of silence. Depending on when they subscribed to your list, registered for or attended an event, the next communication could be days or weeks away. And with NUEVOFEST’s attendees, many of the people getting that first e-news wouldn’t connect the station to the event they attended.

 

But you can fix that with a welcome email series.

Before these readers started receiving WXPN’s regular e-news, invitations to other events or an ask to become a member, we built rapport with them over a shared interest. By creating a series of emails designed to show them how the station is the perfect place to support their love of Latin music, we created a bridge to move them into the community.

Over two weeks, the six-part series revisited the fun of the free Latin music festival. The next day we shared how to access the event photos, and teased about video to come in the next email. We then pointed people to Latin-focused content and events. Near the end of the series we introduced other XPN benefits and how membership supports this programming.

We set up emails to trigger on specific days using Journey Builder in XPN’s Salesforce platform. We built everything in advance and then left placeholders so we could include elements from the live event.

Including images and links that were only available after the event definitely made the process more hectic but it was worth it to give each email a personal feel.

The strategy could be summed up as: Give. Give. Give. Give. Give. Then ask. Spending time wooing the people new to your community will help them know they are welcome and valued.
 

Know Your Audience. Connect With Your People

GuideDog_Independence

This spring the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind had big news. They partnered their 500th guide dog and wanted to make that the focus of their spring appeal. Typically, the organization sent out their mailing around Passover, so the holiday was also focus.

Oh, and the dog’s human partner has an amazing story of his own. He’s a blind scuba diver and they had great pictures and wanted to share his story.

All in a two page letter.

That’s a lot of ideas to mash up. So we needed to find a new, singular focus. Luckily, Mike Leventhal, Executive Director, told us that a few weeks after Passover was another Israeli holiday, Yom Ha’atzmaut, commemorating the establishment of the state of Israel.

And what do that national holiday, scuba diving and guide dogs have in common?

Independence.

People don’t give to the work…they give to the outcome. >Click to Tweet!

So we told the story of the 500th pairing by tying the national pride of Independence Day to the confidence a blind Israeli gains from getting a guide dog. How, through their support, someone can resume their life, find meaningful work and get back to a hobby they loved before losing their sight.

It’s why people give to this organization. You see, the Center trains guide dogs in Hebrew…in Israel…for Israelis. There is not one cute puppy to show off in the US, so the story has to do the work. And that work is so much easier if your audience and your message are perfectly aligned.

 

Find Great Holiday Pairings

It’s easy to look at the calendar and jump on Christmas, Thanksgiving, End-of-Year and other big national events. But there are tons of unexpected opportunities in other holidays that can be linked to something unique to you.

Like the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s  Father’s Day campaign. A perfect match.

On Twitter, Karen Korr shared her personal Leap Day fundraiser. In honor of her “10th birthday she linked her “40 years of childhood” to helping kids in actual childhood.

Ready to explore? Try this list of “Bizarre and Wacky Holidays.”

 

Don’t Let The Calendar Limit You

And if you can’t find something that aligns with your message – create your own holiday. The 92Y did that when they came up with the idea for GivingTuesday.

And in episode 17 of our Driving Participation Podcast, Abigail Quesinberry shared how the Ad Council created National Brush Your Teeth Day on November 1st — The day after the sugar-fest that is Halloween.

Linking your cause to a trending event is clever. Going one step further to create a day you can own is brilliant. The kind of brilliant that sparks a movement.

 

Let Us Help You Find Your Perfect Match!

If your fundraising campaigns need pumping up or pruning down, give us a call. We’d love to find out what is special about your community.

~ Beth

 

 

Big Impact from a Little Help with Annual Appeal

St Christopher Foundation for Children Annual Appeal 2013

What do you do when you are a 4-person team and one of you is on leave during Annual Appeal season? Call Iris!

It’s hard for a small shop to keep things going when key talent is unavailable. With a few brainstorming sessions and an openness to outside ideas, we were able to bring some new approaches to the Foundation’s Annual Appeal process.

Halfway through the Annual Fund cycle, the letter that we wrote is already the second highest producer ever. It’s working so well that they decided to use our letter for the Spring Appeal “because it worked.”

What made it work so well?

[Read more…]

New Messaging for The Wharton Fund

Whatron Annual Fund Marketing

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has grown a large alumni contingent over its years of providing top MBA education. While contributions to the program are significant, Wharton thought they could improve their messaging to achieve better alumni engagement and greater participation. Iris Creative developed the concept of “Unbounded Opportunity” as a theme to reflect what alumni received from their education as well as what they can offer to incoming students. The affiliation with the Wharton brand is a key factor in deciding to attend the program, this year’s theme takes that a step further to connect graduates with the lifelong benefits of being part of their community. This brochure was developed as the campaign kickoff piece. The theme is being presented throughout the year on the website, in video, advertising and additional direct mail.

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