When we began working with Domestic Violence Solutions (DVS) in 2003, the nonprofit, which serves all of Santa Barbara County, had a logo and an advertising budget of $800/year (all spent during October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, primarily on radio), but no consistent brand, marketing plan, or materials.
Utilizing a CD of stock images featuring a little girl expressing a wide range of emotions, we created a slogan and an identity, which we parlayed into brochures, print and newsletter ads, thank-you cards, holiday direct mail campaigns, and the Domestic Violence Awareness Month poster, all reinforcing a brand and a key message associated with DVS. We also expanded and diversified the radio advertising, developing three different spots: one that educated men about domestic violence; one that focused on teen dating violence; and one providing information for men, women, and teens about the signs of an abusive relationship and where to go for help.
We simultaneously began a public relations campaign to inform the community about the important work of the organization in sheltering domestic violence victims; helping women and children rebuild their lives through counseling, employment readiness training, and transitional housing; counseling perpetrators (addressing domestic violence at its source); and educating teens about gender role stereotypes and the qualities of a healthy relationship. We also shared the stories of local women who had been killed as a result of domestic violence, as well as the success stories of women who had created new lives for themselves and their children.
Another result of the PR campaign was to inform the community of DVS’ fundraising needs, which included a successful multi-million-dollar capital campaign to purchase a transitional housing apartment complex and build a separate counseling center on-site.
All told, in the five years we worked with Domestic Violence Solutions, we helped the organization raise millions of dollars, generate more than 100 print and broadcast news stories, and leverage a very small advertising budget into an effective, well-recognized brand—for the benefit of men, women, and children caught in the intergenerational struggle of domestic violence and the entire Santa Barbara County community.
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