(10/10/14 – Syracuse, N.Y.) When Rich Duda returned to work a few days after his son’s death in 2013, his boss handed him a brochure for HOPE for Bereaved. Duda had never heard of the local nonprofit that specializes in grief counseling and he pocketed the brochure, thinking nothing of it.
He eventually read the pamphlet and three months later, decided to attend a support group for survivors of suicide. It changed his life.
“One of the things I’ve discovered through my journey as a survivor, the person whose son is gone, (is that) I don’t want to sit down with my friends and bring it up all the time,” says Duda, the director of marketing for the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel & Conference Center. “I’m not comfortable and they’re not comfortable. And then you’re really not verbalizing, you’re kind of internalizing and that’s not a great road to take.
“This is a peer group. The meetings are incredibly valuable for us as survivors to discuss with other people who have exactly the same situation,” he said.“We all understand what everyone else is going through and we feel so relieved when we are able to verbalize.”
So when Duda learned of a local advertising agency’s makeover contest for a deserving nonprofit, he nominated HOPE for Bereaved. HOPE offers grieving children, teens, adults and families 13 different monthly support groups, one-on-one counseling, a monthly newsletter and telephone support – all free of charge.
HOPE was selected from more than 50 nominations to receive a complete marketing makeover by ABC Creative Group – all in 24 hours.
As the first recipient of the 24-Hour Brand Bash, HOPE for Bereaved received a new logo, new website, new brochures and training manual covers, billboard ads, radio spots and more – a fresh new look and all the marketing tools it will need to better reach new clients.
ABC Creative Group will be honored for its work at HOPE for Bereaved’s Celebration of HOPE Dinner Nov. 7 at the OnCenter.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the results,” said HOPE executive director Therese Schoeneck. “The butterfly (logo) just pops off the page. It’s so attractive and eye-catching. Providing publicity, marketing and awareness is an on-going challenge. We are grateful ABC chose us. Their efforts are a tremendous help.”
The event is a celebration of the organization’s 36th anniversary, and the organization’s main fundraiser. John and Joanne Wade, owners of Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse, will also be honored for their longtime support of HOPE for Bereaved. The Wade’s have contributed more than $50,000 to HOPE over the past seven years by donating half of the proceeds from their annual anniversary party each May.
Travis Bort, owner of ABC Creative Group, says he wanted his company to give back to the community, but with something more meaningful than a cash donation or sponsorship. Since their expertise is in marketing, the idea was born.
“We wanted to try something new,” Bort said.“We feel strongly that for a charity organization to flourish and stand out in the community, its message should be clear.”
Jenn Cline, sales and marketing strategist for ABC, said HOPE’s mission struck a chord with the staff there and after phone interviews with several finalists, HOPE was chosen. After initial meetings to get some information on HOPE, a crew of 13 went to work at 8 a.m. on a spring morning … and they didn’t stop until 8 a.m. the next morning.
The first task was redesigning HOPE’s butterfly logo, transforming it from a staid and outdated design into one with a fresh, modern and inviting look. From there, the group moved onto filming videos for the website, redesigning the website, creating billboard and radio spots, redesigning the covers of the many grief manuals HOPE publishes. No one slept until it was done.
“We went into crazy mode, and everyone had their jobs,” Cline says. “Organization was everything.”
Bort estimates the value of the makeover services to be about $50,000, which doesn’t include the donated billboard space from Lamar or the radio spots from Galaxy.
“We are extremely happy with the results of our very first 24-Hour Brand Bash,” he says. “HOPE was an amazing organization to work with and everyone was available as we needed them to be. We feel the imagery and messaging, along with the new website and video, will help HOPE convey the healing work they do for people. We feel the work we did focuses on the positive side of a recent death and speaks to the healing process that HOPE provides.”
The Celebration of HOPE dinner will include a large silent auction and raffles, a live auction, music by the Joe Whiting band, a magician and a money booth. For more information on the dinner, call 475-4673.