NORTH PENN COMMONS
When four nonprofit community service organizations in Montgomery County, PA—Advanced Living Communities, Manna on Main Street (a local food pantry), the North Penn YMCA and The PEAK Center (People Experiencing Activities, Arts and Knowledge)—were independently seeking capital improvements or new locations, an idea was sparked, why not work together to create an inclusive community hub where we can share space, streamline services and foster a collaborative, innovative environment, creating a new and efficient model for service delivery.
This idea was supported by The HealthSpark Foundation—a private, independent foundation providing support to organizations that serve the unmet health and/or human service needs of residents living in and organizations serving the County. HealthSpark brought them together and provided critical support and encouragement for the project.
While there were many challenges and ambitious goals associated with this new venture, an important first step was to create a branding platform for the proposed new complex and its associated fundraising campaign. The group needed to create a name, logo, tagline and key messages for the project as well as a catchy title for the capital campaign. This would assure that consistent and accurate communications were delivered from all parties involved and would build public awareness as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Building from Scratch
Four independent nonprofit community service organizations came together to create an inclusive neighborhood hub where they could share space, streamline services and create a new and efficient model for service delivery.
Working on Multiple Fronts
In order to build “the new place,” a fundraising campaign and strong identity were required. Schultz & Williams went to work developing a case for support and a comprehensive capital campaign plan. At the same time, S&W worked closely with each nonprofit, and the community at large, to create a brand positioning platform.
Creating a Brand Identity
Starting with a positioning statement and key messages, articulating a true sense of the place and its importance to the community, S&W created a branding platform that informed the name of the place (North Penn Commons), the name of the fundraising campaign (One four All), its logo and tagline.
Bringing four organizations together as resource-sharing partners is complicated. In the case of branding, all parties deserved equal representation and buy-in on what to name “the place” and how to position the project to constituents, foundations, prospective donors, members and the community at large in order sell the idea and raise the funds needed to build and operate the complex.
Schultz & Williams (S&W) took an inclusive approach to the challenge. We implemented a branding process that gave each organization’s leadership, key staff and community members equal opportunity to participate in the development of a branding platform.
One-on-one interviews and informal focus groups were conducted, and they revealed the value of each organization and its specific role in the community. Through this market research, we were able to glean expectations of the collaboration’s leadership and to understand what tools, resources and programming would work to get members of the community actively involved in this unique concept.
By starting with a discerning positioning statement, key messages and attributes that, as all parties agreed, articulated a true sense of the place and its importance to the community, we were able to create a messaging platform from which all communications would flow. This branding platform then informed the name of the place—North Penn Commons—its logo and tagline, and the name of the fundraising campaign: One four All.
Today, North Penn Commons is quickly becoming the central hub of its community. It’s a place for seniors to enjoy affordable housing and for community members to come together for meals, personal enrichment, and consumer education and wellness programs. An updated commercial kitchen at Manna now offers its clients a food pantry with expanded choices, and the YMCA is jumping with activity for families of all ages.
North Penn Commons is, indeed, a place “four” one and all!