Cru Inner City
Embracing Innovation in a Season of Uncertainty
Founded in 1982 with a burden to see more ministry happen in the inner cities of America, Cru Inner City's mission is to serve and mobilize the church to live out God's heart for the poor, so all can grow in Christ to build spiritual movements everywhere. Cru Inner City operates in 10 cities throughout the U.S. plus 19 more affiliate cities.
Scope of Work
How do you maintain empathetic storytelling and facilitate authentic connection when proximity isn’t an option? As was the case for most ministries and nonprofit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow on the feasibility of in-person events. With a brand and donor base that valued the in-person experience, the challenge was real for Cru Inner City. After all, face to face interaction and personal relationship is at the core of the ministry. Equally crucial was the need for Cru Inner City to raise funds within a format that was foreign, both internally and for their donor base. Cru Inner City came to Rethink Creative with little-to-no virtual event experience, yet with a drive to see their mission expand exponentially during unprecedented times.
In true collaboration with the Cru Inner City team, we embarked on bringing to life not just a digital event, but an experience that pushed Cru Inner City to creative spaces they’ve never been before. One that preserved the brand, elevated a friendly and personal experience and compelled donors to give. From crafting an entirely new name and visual brand for the event, to supporting the print and email marketing efforts, to developing an intro video with high-production value, we consistently leaned back on Cru Inner City’s vision as the guiding force in every creative decision.
Although a totally new format for Cru Inner City’s year-end campaign, the digital event experience was a huge success. We were able to create a seamless and easy-to-understand experience for Cru Inner City’s major donors, and one that positioned Cru Inner City as an expert. Staying true to their mission and vision, Cru Inner City curated and elevated the stories of the ministry in ways that may have never been imagined within a live format. The disruption of pivoting digitally, even though forced, unlocked new possibilities for engaging with donors and promoting the Cru Inner City brand in the future.
This event was taking the place of “Christmas in New York,” Cru Inner City’s long-standing LIVE fundraising event, hosted annually in New York City. Having to adopt a totally new event format, but for the same donor base required the implementation of a new, yet familiar event brand. Our teams collaborated and discovered “Illuminate” as the driving idea and identity for the campaign. To reinforce a strong connection to the Cru Inner City, we implemented the existing bold, vibrant color scheme, expressed in angled color blocks and incorporating imagery of ministry in the inner city.
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles
In the midst of a pandemic, our team was able to travel to 3 Cru Inner City programs—New York, Chicago and Los Angeles—capturing stories of life change to be told during the event. The true goal was never to simply “check the box” of doing a virtual event, but to steward well the gift of digital tools to communicate vision and compel donors to take action.
“Having that connection with Inner City … and working along with other people that have that same passion … almost becomes like little lights flickering in the city. Wherever I go, I want people to see not me, but to get a sense of hope because I’m representing and reflecting Christ.””