What’s March Madness and the NCAA Tournament without a few underdogs beating the odds and making it into the Finals? Perennial underdog University of Virginia has had quite a run after experiencing what’s been called “the greatest upset ever” in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Now they’ve got a chance for redemption as they go up against Texas Tech, an underdog in their own right as they’ve never made it past the Final Four.
These exciting underdog stories prompted us here at Angel Oak Creative to think about the nonprofit clients we serve and a few examples of some exciting underdog moments over the last few years. With limited budgets and unlimited need, nonprofits are inherently underdogs, so every success we experience with our clients is sweet. Here are a few that stand out as the nonprofit equivalent of the Cinderella story.
1. The Million Dollar Miracle
CORRAL Riding Academy is an equine assisted psychotherapy program serving girls in high-risk situations to empower them and provide hope. CORRAL engaged us to provide marketing support around its urgent need to raise $1 million in ten months in order to save its farm and secure its Forever Home. The miracle? The Forever Home campaign raised $1,022,613 in THREE months! To what can this miracle be attributed? Well, Executive Director Joy Currey gave all credit to God. And we can’t argue with that. Our role in the Million Dollar Miracle was to build out the campaign brand, messaging, marketing strategy, collateral material and digital content. It was a thrill to be part of the team that made it to the nonprofit equivalent of the NCAA Finals. Learn more about the Million Dollar Miracle here.
2. The Horse Heroes Campaign
Talk about the scrappy underdog! Helping Horse is a relatively small nonprofit providing therapeutic horseback riding to people with special needs. As an organization, they had never undertaken any concerted fundraising campaigns, relying on a small number of donors to cover their annual budget. Helping Horse Executive Director Jackie Sexton was hoping to take some of the pressure off by undertaking an end-of-year appeal. We worked with Jackie and her team to develop the Horse Heroes Campaign, where we made the horses the literal heroes of Helping Horse with the goal of raising $22,500 to fund the upkeep and care of their nine horses for the year. In addition to branding the campaign, we provided graphic design; messaging; copywriting for email, direct mail and social media; and strategy. The results of the Horse Heroes Campaign? It was like hitting a three-pointer for a buzzer-beater in the Final Four! The campaign raised more than $35,000! On top of that, we had a two-peat, with Helping Horse raising more than $35,000 again the next year. Obviously, they plan to continue the Horse Heroes Campaign into the near future.
3. CAMP ON!
Who doesn’t love summer camp? The sun, the fun, the lake, the campfire and the s’mores! Built in 1950, New Life Camp is one of the longest-running camps in the Raleigh area. But after almost 70 years, the camp was in need of significant renovation. We partnered with New Life Camp in support of its efforts to raise $6 million to make the needed repairs and updates. This was the largest fundraising effort in the history of the camp. We partnered with New Life Camp to help them develop the campaign brand — CAMP ON! — that quickly communicated the energy and excitement of the camp experience and also established the message that we want to see the camp thrive for another 70 years and beyond. The campaign was divided into three $2 million phases. Angel Oak Creative went with the full-court press and provided the full gamut of services for the campaign: branding, messaging, graphic design, strategy, social media, copywriting, web and video production. The first two phases met or exceeded the $2 million goals, and they’re moving into the next phase with the excitement of UVA and Texas Tech entering the Championship!
We all love the Cinderella story of the underdog beating the odds and exceeding expectation by making it to the Big Show! We love working with nonprofits like CORRAL, Helping Horse and New Life Camp to help them live out their own Cinderella story. While we may never know the thrill of cutting the net at the NCAA Final, we do know the joy of helping our clients fulfill their mission and transform lives. And the best news is, we’re blessed to be able to do this every day at Angel Oak Creative! Thank you to all of our clients who trust us with this important work.
Is your organization entering the equivalent of the Final Four? Need some help from the bench? We’d love to be part of your team. Let us know how we can help you beat the buzzer.
– David Chatham, Senior Marketing Consultant