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  • Zeb Carlson

Case Study: CommonBond Communities

CommonBond Communities saw potential to create a simplified messaging that resonated more with their residents and donors. We collaborated to raise awareness around their role in affordable housing.

As with many nonprofits, the balance of institutional funding and revenue from individual donors is imbalanced. It's not that the money isn't there; Minnesota is one of the most philanthropically responsible states in America. It's all about bringing your mission to new donors in a way they can easily link to their personal motivations.

We created a marketing framework that connected the organization with the mindsets that we collaborated on developing. This data-driven audience approach utilized owned and third-party data to model population size, affinities, and where to reach potential donors.

Our work brought together a message bank that consolidated how CommonBond connects with its residents to support good lives. This utilized the case statement format I create with my clients and helps fill in the donor journeys — including tactics such as email, event programming, social media, and donor stewardship.

With the strategy as our foundation, we began designing graphics, videos, and language that supports the freshened approach.

We created language and assets, such as infographic and a library of updated photography and video, for both internal and external efforts. An important chapter of their message bank, these visuals and copy serve as a conversation starter that can be used in so many places across their comms materials.

By creating a measurement approach that allows an opportunity to provide marketing health checks, we can continue to collaborate to see how our individual tactics roll-up to our overall goals.

One of the most important — and often neglected — steps to digital transformation is training. Through sessions to up-skill staff, teams were supported with hands-on training, complimented with a handbook that offers guidance such as a progress map of the upcoming year and glossary to help when you're stuck.

We have some early indicators that tell us we're heading down the right path:

  • Triple-digit percentage increase in email signups online

  • Increase in social engagements, primarily shares and likes

  • Significant boost in email performance with current contacts

  • Greater staff efficiency with content creation

To learn more or ask a question, please contact me. And take a minute and check out CommonBond's social sites through the links below. And while you're at it, feel free to sign up to volunteer or donate to this fantastic organization. :)

Instagram: @commonbondcomm



Creative Director


Content Manager



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