Marketing a 25th Anniversary for a Major Community Group

Posted on 03. Jun, 2010 by in Non-Profit, Portfolio

Leadership Greater Hartford — Branding and Positioning a Connecticut Premier Leadership Program

Case Study


Anniversary Book

During the strategic planning process in 2000, the Leadership Greater Hartford (LGH) Board of Directors agreed the mission of LGH is “to convene and develop a diverse array of community-minded leaders to address the key issues affecting Greater Hartford”. To achieve this mission, LGH had to be “widely regarded by the leadership of all its constituencies as the region’s most effective vehicle for training community leaders and an indispensable force for community change”. With the 25th Anniversary of LGH in 2001, First Experience Communications (FEC) launched a strategic marketing communications plan to position the organization as the foremost leadership program in the Greater Hartford area.


FEC conducted research to develop a communications and marketing strategy for the 25-year-old LGH community leadership training organization. During 2000 and 2001, FEC designed a survey with approximately 1,200 LGH alumni with more than 200 responding. Along with this primary research, secondary research and interviews were done with community leaders, competitors, and other community programs in the United States. FEC analyzed the results and presented a marketing/ communication plan to the LGH Board. Based on the research, FEC recommended a four-point plan that included these strategies and tactics:

  • Promote and market LGH successes more often and more broadly.
  • Connect past participants and projects in a seamless web that creates more sustainable community benefits.
  • Forge partnerships and leverage value line to ensure that our past participants connect, lead and succeed more often.
  • Look for ways to build on past successes.


The LGH Board charged FEC to help implement the following 2001 objectives:

  • Marketing & Communications Committee— responsible for updating and upgrading its communication materials.
  • Anniversary Committee— responsible for creating one or more events that would reconnect program alumni to the organization and educate prospective program participants.
  • Resource Development— responsible for securing the funds and in-kind resources needed to support the events and the publications associated with the anniversary year.


As a result of FEC’s strategic marketing communications plan the following was accomplished in 2001:

  • Existing program brochures and presentation materials were updated to support the image for the four major LGH programs.
  • The oldest and most visible LGH program was renamed to distinguish it from other LGH initiatives.
  • A 50-page anthology documenting the first 25 years of LGH was designed and published.
  • A leadership seminar entitled “Beating the Cynics” was organized featuring Jim Kouzes, which was attended by 325 people.
  • “A Toast to Leadership”, a celebration of LGH’s 25 years was organized and attended by 250 alumni and friends.
  • Fundraising materials were developed that helped to generate more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind resources.
  • Five highly positive editorials were written in The Hartford Courant, along with several news stories that appeared in the Courant and in the Hartford Business Journal.

Many companies, regional associations and government leaders recognize LGH as the premier community leadership program in the Greater Hartford region. In 2001, the Hartford Foundation highlighted two of the group’s programs at the annual “Celebration of Giving” event sponsored for Public Giving. LGH was approached by Trinity College to create a leadership training experience for college students, the Hartford Economic Development Commission to form a similar program for emerging leaders in the city’s neighborhoods and by the State of Connecticut to support a parent leadership-training institute. With greater visibility, the reputation of LGH has begun to spread worldwide. In 2001, LGH consulted with groups in Canada and Brazil on how to form and run community leadership programs. In September 2002 LGH presented one of its programs at an international conference on volunteerism at the United Nations 2000 and presented at the follow-up conference in Madrid, 2001.

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