Nonprofit brand strategy and positioning: rebrand for the future while preserving the past

The Nuts & Bolts

When CauseEngine began working with the Marine Raider Foundation (formerly MARSOC Foundation) it was understaffed and overworked with an increasing demand for its services. Sound familiar? The Marine Raider Foundation provides benevolent support to the Marine Corps’ elite unit of Special Operations forces and their families. This includes transition assistance, support for wounded, ill Raiders and families of Raiders killed in the line of duty. The Foundation needed scalable infrastructure solutions for programs, fundraising, marketing and creative design, but didn’t have the experience or in-house ability to solve these needs itself. CauseEngine was hired to provide on-demand services to support day-to-day operations execution while simultaneously working with their small staff to build holistic infrastructure solutions and better position the brand to capture its audience. Our goals were to give the brand a facelift and prepare it for the future.

Our Tools For Success

Brand Strategy and Positioning
Creative and Web Design
Strategy & implementation

Some Key Impact Points

CauseEngine repositioned the Foundation's external face by rebranding the organization (logo, name, look and feel) to closer match competing nonprofits.

CauseEngine solidified the organization’s programs (marketing and delivery) to allow for scalable, future growth as a part of the new brand strategy.

Brand strategy preserves a legacy: A merger and rebrand

The Challenge

A self-described “mom and pop shop”, the Marine Raider Foundation was trying to solidify its place as the most trusted nonprofit for its community. Though small, the Foundation had an incredible track record of service and was growing quickly as demand for their services continued to rise. They needed guidance to systematically build sustainable infrastructure, better define scalable programs and create a brand to match their elite clientele.

How We Helped

CauseEngine outlined and spearheaded a drastic repositioning of the brand so it would more effectively deliver services and market those services to those in need. This plan updated the Foundation’s communications, marketing and cultivation / stewardship strategies to better tell the story of the organization and its work.

Our team of designers then built an entirely new brand aesthetic from the ground up including a new name, logo, brand story and brand guidelines, marketing collateral, communications and video assets. We also developed an optimized website and donation platform.

We also proposed a merger with a similar nonprofit and advised the Foundation’s Board of Directors in the early stages of the merger, by providing insight into the process, and recommendations about the opportunity at large.

Ultimately the merger and rebranding was a success, further strengthening the Marine Raider Foundation’s foothold as the elite nonprofit serving their community.

The Results

Better Brand Positioning
Growth in Social Media Following
A Successful Merger
Our Board and Staff were actively looking for experts to help our organization prepare for the future. We found that in CauseEngine. They helped guide our decision makers and provided expert advice and services that will surely affect our organization for years to come!”
– Derek Herrera, Board Chair –

Develop a campaign to create ambassadors and drive fundraising

The Challenge

The Marine Raider Foundation is a charity partner of the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC which allows the organization to fundraise around the event each year. With less than a month until the registration deadline, the Foundation needed to fill over half of their remaining slots or they'd lose the ability to fundraise the following year. This would result in a 6-figure loss and would require the organization to reapply for charity partner status in 2018. For a small nonprofit, this would be devastating.

How We Helped

CauseEngine marketing Pros built and created a social media campaign called #Run4Raiders to activate the Foundation’s audience and ask for their help in saving a cornerstone fundraising event. We sourced stories of Raiders and families who have benefited from the Foundation’s servicesand coupled our storytelling with powerful imagery and a strong call to action to galvanized their audience. We optimized posting times across social media platforms, provided rules for engagement and even helped craft and schedule posts for maximum effectiveness. The rhythmic, sustained cadence built momentum amongst the organization’s social channels, ultimately securing the much needed 17 marathon registrations in under 30 days!

The Results

Saved a 6-figure fundraising event
A successful, replicable campaign
Increase in social media impressions
Thank you for your professionalism and commitment to fixing our website issue. We deeply appreciate the CauseEngine team making this topic a main effort. The constant communication and updates helped us stay on target and work through the friction. Thanks for making our issues your issues!”
– Andy Christian - Executive Director –