The Goal: Rebrand a nonprofit that provides gently-used shoes to the homeless and impoverished Richmond community.

My Role: Assisted during interviews with key organization members, created public surveys, facilitated communication between agency and client, worked with the public relations coordinator to inform PR strategy, and developed client presentations.

The Results: New branding and messaging, increases in shoe and monetary donations, front page coverage of the organization in the Richmond Times Dispatch, connection to prominent running organizations in the Richmond community.

The bigger picture

In 2017, Robin Telfian and David Hewlett started Soles2Share, a nonprofit created with the goal of giving gently-used running shoes to those living in homelessness and poverty. While the organization found great success in the Richmond community, it ran into a legal problem around its name, which resembled another organization doing similar work.

In order to address this issue and create a new brand identity, Robin came to Elevation. Over the next three months, my supervisor and I interviewed members of the Soles2Share leadership, volunteers, and guests. We also attended several events put on by the organization to better understand what helps it stand out.

Partnering with a local research organization, we laid out the organization’s position within its competitive landscape, as well as its value proposition. What helped Robin and her team stand out was that they kept the shoes local and treated all of their guests with dignity.

Based on our research, we developed key messaging touchstones and worked together with our design team to inform the brand identity. I presented our research and we delivered Robin and David with the new identity: Shood.

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After finalizing the brand identity, I worked with our public relations coordinator in order to promote the rebrand as well as get the word out about the great work that the Shood team was doing.

Through that work, we were able to get front page coverage in the local Richmond newspaper. We were also able to connect Robin with the organization that facilitates the Richmond Marathon and the extremely popular Monument Avenue 10K, which have the potential to bring in a substantial amount of shoe donations.

Working with nonprofits has been incredibly rewarding both in terms of experience and in terms of showing the impact of the work we are able to do. I still volunteer regularly with Shood and am proud that my contributions have helped to grow an organization whose work I believe in strongly.

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