Case Study: Friends for Youth

Client
Friends for Youth
Project Title
 Friends for Youth One + 1 Campaign
Duration
Description

Friends for Youth (FFY) and our creative team seek to diminish the existence of unsupported at-risk youth, pre-teen and teen populations in California’s San Mateo and Northern Santa Clara Counties whom, without guidance, often stray towards behaviors that can negatively impact the youth and humanity (dropping out of school, teen pregnancy, gangs, drugs, etc).

Despite being a leader in this cause, this non-profit was handicapped by insufficient communication with its supporters, benefactors, and community. Our objective was to push Friends for Youth further in their mission by providing them with a collection of sharper, more effective tools with the addition of new tools and the blueprints to make more tools in the future.

Budget

We crafted a Robin Hood-style proposal to convince a corporation to pay for the nonprofit’s campaign costs. Sappi Fine Paper awarded us $50,000 to pay for production. Our services were donated.

Strategy

In addition to having the unique opportunity to test and refine our products over the course of seven years with Friends for Youth, we have also acquired the know-how of grant-writing and establishing helpful protocols when designing pro bono.

This social good campaign is the result of five strategies:

  1. How to channel our need to do something “good”
  2. How to got people to fund our idea
  3. How, as volunteers, we establish respect and appreciation from our client
  4. How we solve design problems
  5. How we continue to improve the work, the relationship and our skills set

Challenges

  • Bettering The Mentee Experience: The mentoring relationships or “friendships” are difficult to assure quality. Pairs sometimes have a hard time coming up with interesting activities and motivation to continue the mentorship. For this concern, we designed an engaging and informative keepsake guide book, The Mentoring Journal, that meticulously walks the pair though their year together, offering activity suggestions while demonstrating the value of the friendship.
  • Winning Support: FFY, like all non-profits, needs ongoing support financially and on a volunteer level. For this challenge, we developed a convincing annual report full of hard numbers, a mail-ready Volunteer Brochure and an exhibition booth display with posters and enrollment postcards to represent FFY at volunteer conferences.
  • Increasing Awareness: Prospective benefactors needed to be made more aware of the services that were being provided to community through FFY’s efforts. Also, the Spanish-speaking parent population and agencies that work with teens in high schools and the general public needed more awareness of FFY’s services. To this end, we created mail-ready brochures specific to each of these audience members: parent brochure (a bi-lingual piece with detachable permission slip), referral agency brochure, and a general information brochure. All five brochures and the annual report can be grouped as a whole or in any combination, depending upon need, into a mail-ready folder that can also package a DVD and a business card.
  • Solidifying Brand: FFY’s public identity and messaging needed to be solidified to ensure the reputation of their long-standing program to the public. So, we strengthened their brand with a family of illustrations, colors, fonts, photos to systemize, modernize and tell a consistent story throughout these and future materials.

Effectiveness

Over seven years, our materials have strengthened Friends for Youth’s friendships and successfully solicited donations, youth referrals, parental support and more volunteer mentors for the many youth that were stranded on the waiting list—while improving the programs of other mentoring institutions.

“In general, the impact has been phenomenal. The pieces have enabled us to better communicate our agency’s mission and services to others. They have strengthened our organization, helping us to build resources and awareness.”—Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth

  • Youth Enrollment: Youth enrollment increased by 44 percent.
  • Youth Performance: The mentee rate of improvement based on high school grades increased by two percent.
  • Access: The number of Spanish-speaking parents increased by 44 percent. “The parent brochure has been a tremendous help in terms of giving parents information about our program and helping them with the application process. It has truly bridged a communications gap for us.”—Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth
  • Donations: Individual donor contributions increased by two percent; Corporate contributions increased by five percent. “The funders are especially pleased with the new materials. They really allow us to present our services as even more professional and effective. The One + 1 campaign has given our supporters more confidence about our long-term sustainability.” —Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth. One funder commented, “Friends for Youth has achieved a new level of competence.”
  • Staff and Volunteers: “The materials have given the Board tools that they are proud and excited about, which has helped them make more contacts.” And, volunteer enrollment increased by 25 percent. They love the posters and are eager to post them in various places in the community.”—Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth 
  • Mentoring Journals: “The mentoring journal is proving to be a unique and ground-breaking tool that helps mentors and mentees in the development of their relationships, definitely raising the quality and success of our program for the youth we serve. Additionally, being able to offer a revised version to both community- and school-based mentoring programs across the country also allows us to serve youth nationally and ensure that all mentees are supported in safe and effective mentoring relationships.”—Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth. Leading youth mentoring researcher and co-editor of the “Handbook of Youth Mentoring Michael,” J. Karcher, Ed.D., Ph.D. says that the mentoring journal is “the most sophisticated and creative tool I’ve seen for structuring and documenting the life of a match. [It] provides a flexible, fun, and engaging mentoring activity, especially for older teens with whom it can be quite difficult to establish a connection.” To date, the fourth reprint is on-press.
  • General marketing: Friends for Youth is enthusiastic about the power of the “One + 1” campaign: “We are thrilled with the impact that these pieces have had and will have in the future.” —Sarah Kremer, Mentoring Institute Director, Friends for Youth They are ‘selling themselves’ and generating excitement in terms of people using them on behalf of FFY.  Prior to having these tools, it was harder to get people to promote awareness for FFY.