Case Study: La Comunidad Hispana

Business Strategy for Sustainability and Expansion

“We wanted to rebrand to increase awareness, but Yvonne’s recommendations went beyond what we expected to include market and business strategies. Her insights were perceptive, on target and well-supported, helping us quickly coalesce and move forward with a clear direction. We’re now in the process of adjusting our strategy and brand to better support our mission and also secure our financial viability into the future.”  

- Alisa Jones, President and CEO of La Comunidad Hispana

 

Client Results Story

  • lch-logo-innerA community-based nonprofit health care and social services organization whose mission is to help low-income residents of Southern Chester County, PA. 91% of clients are Hispanic, and 85% are uninsured.
  • A multiyear federal government grant mandated an increase in clients served. Growth was steady but too slow and branding was seen as a major problem.
  • Chief Outsiders identified several key business and marketing issues:
o   The organization needed to reduce its heavy reliance on a handful of aging donors
o   There were many low-income non-Hispanics in the area but few were using LCH
o   A high percentage of non-Hispanics had health insurance
o   Prospective clients and referrers thought LCH was only for Hispanics
o   The FQHC status meant that insured customers could partially subsidize the non-insured
  • To increase the number of customers and reduce reliance on donors Yvonne recommended: focusing on attracting more non-Hispanic clients while continuing to serve the Hispanic community, changing the name to project a more inclusive brand, transforming the culture from purely Hispanic to multicultural, and leveraging the new name to promote the organization heavily throughout the county.

 

Background

La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) is a community-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to help low-income residents of Southern Chester County, PA, stay healthy, build strong families and lead productive and fulfilling lives by providing high-quality, culturally welcoming services. Over the past 40 years, LCH has responded to changing demographics and growing needs in the community by offering nurse-managed healthcare services, social services, adult education and legal assistance. 

Due to the fertile soil and temperate climate of the region, agriculture is a major part of the economy. Mushroom cultivation, in particular, is a specialty in the southern portion of Chester County; and these farms, together with horse farming, have spurred the steady growth of a low-income, mostly uninsured Hispanic population. This is precisely the population that LCH was formed to serve.

With a complete bilingual approach to service and a strong Hispanic culture, LCH offers a holistic approach to treating the entire person by integrating the social, physical and emotional determinants of health. Currently, 91 percent of its customers are Hispanic, and over 80 percent are uninsured.

 

Situation

In 2012, LCH received a new access point, multiyear grant from the federal government along with the designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), a turning point for the organization. The grant strengthened LCH’s financial position but, in order to ensure continued funding, LCH had to meet specific mandates—including doubling the number of clients receiving healthcare services.

Though the organization had experienced consistent growth in both clients served and services offered, the numbers were insufficient to meet funding requirements. It was obvious that LCH’s marketing was not delivering what was required, a problem which could hinder the organization’s ability to meet its mandate for growth.

“We needed clear and compelling messages for clients and donors that would help us increase awareness of our organization and increase donations,” said Alisa Jones, President and CEO. “For this reason we turned to Yvonne Brown at Chief Outsiders to help us establish a brand and messages that would resonate with our target clients, our community and donors.”

 

Approach

To understand the underlying issues, Yvonne conducted in-depth conversations with the senior executive team, board members, marketing committee members, clients, local community organizations, donors and fundraisers. She complemented these interviews with analyses of area demographics, internal documents and existing research. According to Jones, “Yvonne quickly understood our environment, won the respect of everyone here and identified important issues.”

It became clear that increasing awareness of LCH was but one of the key issues the organization needed to address. First of all, though the LCH mission is to serve all low-income residents in the area, few non-Hispanics were clients. There was little doubt that the strong Hispanic culture, brand and outreach were preventing non-Hispanics from turning to LCH for assistance.

In addition, financial sustainability depended heavily on a handful of aging donors whose support could not be counted on very far into the future. To continue to offer services to the uninsured, it would be necessary to decrease the dependency on these donors. The obvious solution was to increase the number of insured users of LCH services to reduce the financial burden—and a high percentage of low-income non-Hispanics do carry insurance.

 

Solution

Given Yvonne’s findings, her main recommendation was to focus on increasing usage of the services by non-Hispanics. This change was imperative not only for LCH to fulfill its mission. From a financial perspective, an increase in insured non-Hispanic users would help subsidize services to the uninsured population and reduce the very high level of reliance on donations.

To attract non-Hispanic clients, Yvonne recommended:

  • Changing the organization’s Hispanic name and messaging to make it more inclusive. The ideal name would maintain a connection to the organization’s heritage, yet communicate its multicultural nature. The messaging and design should also be more multicultural in nature.
  • Transforming the current strongly Hispanic culture of the organization into a more inclusive multicultural environment. The challenge would be to accomplish this change while continuing to deliver high-quality, culturally sensitive services to Hispanics.
  • Leveraging the changes to heavily promote the mission of the organization to the community.

The deliverables for the engagement included:

  • SWOT analysis from a marketing perspective
  • Summary of key findings for strategy, positioning and outreach
  • Brand strategy including:
o   Naming strategy
o   Top-level messages for the organization
o   Key messages for health services and for social services, for customers and for donors
o   Boilerplate (overall and for donors)
  • Marketing Plan backup information, including recommendations for next steps (submitted as a bonus deliverable)
Yvonne Brown, CMO for Chief Outsiders

Contact Chief Marketing Outsider Yvonne Brown