Opening Doors, Changing Lives: Helping a Nonprofit Tell Their Story Better

Burbank Housing builds affordable housing in Sonoma County. They’ve spent the past 37 years doing it as the region’s leading nonprofit developer. But they don’t just build: they also manage the properties, renting them at a subsidized, reduced rate. Their sweat-equity homeownership program allows future homeowners to replace their financial down payment with hard work. Beyond the walls and roofing, Burbank Housing invests in the families and seniors who live in their communities by partnering with a huge array of nonprofits — like Redwood Empire Food Bank, St. Joseph Health, and Community Action Partnership — to provide educational, health, and other programs that help people get a leg up and achieve their goals.

Amid all the complexity of the work they do, it’s no wonder a nonprofit like Burbank Housing has struggled to tell their story and get the word out in a way that people can really connect with and act on.

Telling the Story

Hotdog has a ton of experience crafting brand stories and producing creative content that moves needles for nonprofits. We know how hard it is to make the hard choices of what to say and what to leave out; we know the challenges of getting a board to all agree on a set of messaging; we know that it’s all incredibly personal, because people have devoted their lives to a cause and they want to ensure it’s treated with the care they believe it’s worth.

Hotdog teamed up with Burbank Housing to help them navigate these challenges, with an end goal of reinventing how they tell their story in public and spreading the word through their first fundraising campaign.

We dug in by focusing on the brand story: defining who you are, what you do, and why it matters, and expressing it in a way that gets people to actually care. From there, after working with their team and board to fine tune the messaging, we moved into content strategy, and, finally, a campaign.

The campaign centered around a mini-documentary video that really digs into the work Burbank Housing does, and why it matters. From that core, we built out a series of shorter video spots for additional marketing tools, as well as content marketing that spanned social, email marketing, and digital ads.

A Lasting Impact

The work we did is a strong foundation of brand storytelling and marketing content that will go a long way towards engaging the community. Burbank Housing has a powerful story, and it’s just beginning to really be heard.

And here’s something every nonprofit should keep in mind: the good work you’re doing is a really compelling story — you just have to find the best way to tell it. By focusing on your brand storytelling, by crafting the right story and broadcasting it boldly, you can ensure that your story will get out, and that people will care.

  • New brand messaging & guidelines
  • Content strategy & editorial calendar
  • Digital fundraising campaign
  • Documentary video content
  • The first steps in helping Burbank Housing raise the funds to keep on doing their good work

Our work with Burbank Housing captured exactly what we love working with nonprofits: with every project, it’s not just about market share and ROI. We’re all working together to make the world a little better.

Things Worth Knowing

  • Median home prices over $600,000.
  • Only 26% of households can afford the median-priced home.
  • 40% of Sonoma County households are renters.
  • Over 50% of renters are “overburdened” by rent prices (translation: over 1/3 of their income goes to rent).
  • Minimum-wage earners must work 80+ hours/week to afford a 1-bedroom apartment here.

Support Affordable Housing

Without affordable housing, many vital members of our community will be forced out. That includes nurses, teachers, administrative staff, restaurant and farm workers, and, well, probably a lot of the people you pass by in the grocery store.

Whether it’s Burbank Housing here in the North Bay or your local affordable housing developer across the country, we encourage you to get out and support affordable housing and all the great partners that are serving low-income communities and working to keep our communities growing.

  • Donate to support affordable housing
  • Voice your opinion to allow affordable housing projects
  • Volunteer with a local organization
  • Visit BurbankHousing.org