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. During a COVID-19 season in which live events were no longer considered normal, or feasible, Cru Inner City adopted a mindset of innovation and pivoted to execute their first-ever, major-donor, virtual fundraising event.
Cru Inner City

Scope of Work
Brand Strategy
Creative Direction

Created at Rethink Creative
The challenge
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 us with little-to-no virtual event experience, yet with a drive to see their mission expand exponentially during unprecedented times.
The solution
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. 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.
The impact
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. 

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.
3 Cities
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles

Major Donors

3 Months
Project Duration

Related Projects

Back to Top