In December 2014, Marketwave launched its “Call for Causes” campaign, in which we asked local nonprofits to submit their marketing challenges to us along with a synopsis of the good work they do for their communities. Several worthy causes answered our call, but we could only choose one to be our 2015 pro bono client.
Heroes on the Water (HOW), an organization focused on rehabilitating veterans through free outdoor experiences like kayak fishing, caught our attention, and we immediately got to work to help them share their mission and impact with future members, donors and volunteers.
More than 300,000 warriors return home with post-traumatic stress disorder, while over 320,000 experience traumatic brain injuries—not to mention the stress, avoidance behavior and recurring nightmares that can also accompany a warrior after their service is complete. HOW helps our service men and women overcome their difficulties, but the nonprofit needed to build its brand awareness on a national level in order to increase funding, support local chapters and—perhaps most importantly—reach even more warriors.
Marketwave created a look book: a visual resource for the organization to reach out to its audiences and share the impact the group had on helping veterans heal from both mental and physical, war-related injuries—but we went beyond the typical approach. Because HOW’s purpose represented something larger and more meaningful than statistics, we wanted to convey the real effect this organization had on the people it served.
At its core, HOW’s purpose was to heal wounded warriors, create bonds between veterans, and help military service members escape from the noise of the world to a tranquil, peaceful setting. So we chose to focus on the ways HOW impacts its community by highlighting members who had found peace through the organization. In the look book, we told the stories of veterans and active duty service members who came home from battle mentally and physically scarred, but most importantly, we told the stories of how this outdoor rehabilitation program helped them heal, one fishing trip at a time.
Through blending beautiful design with powerful copywriting, we produced an emotional piece that communicated the depth of HOW’s impact and the peace its fishing excursions can offer veterans and their families. This book, which the group used to build successful relationships with donors, volunteers and new members, was a winner a MarCom Platinum Award.