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Case Study: How a Nonprofit Used Member Resources to Increase Brand Awareness Across Multiple Markets

by Kimberly Smith  |  
August 14, 2007

Company: Oregon Sports Authority
Contact: Meyer Freeman, Chief Operating Officer
Location: Portland, OR
Industry: Nonprofit
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 4

Quick Read:

The nonprofit Oregon Sports Authority (OSA) was striving to bring new sporting events, teams, and tourist dollars to the state. At the same time, it wanted to become the official sports resource for state residents and use its clout to muster additional community support. Its existing collateral, however, was not effectively conveying the benefits it offered to these markets; as a result, the organization was not fully performing its mission. OSA decided that it needed to overhaul its promotions and communicate its brand in a more compelling manner—an ambitious feat for a nonprofit that employed only four full-time staff. Turning to the support of its capable member base, which included the likes of Nike and, OSA proved that with a little creativity and good use of partner relationships even a small nonprofit can produce well-targeted, sophisticated marketing tools and generate the recognition it deserves.

The Challenge:

The Oregon Sports Authority (OSA) had a noble nonprofit mission: "To position the state of Oregon as the preferred location for select amateur and professional sports events, franchises and related activities in order to enhance the quality of life of Oregonians and to stimulate the state's economy." But few people—in or outside the state—had ever heard of the organization, and those who were familiar with it had a difficult time comprehending exactly what it did.

The authority realized that it needed to better explain its brand, said Meyer Freeman, OSA's chief operating officer. The challenge lay not only in developing the right promotions with the resources available but also in effectively relaying its message to multiple, perse audiences.

In addition to Oregon residents, for whom OSA wanted to establish itself as a true state-wide sports authority, the organization needed to target event promoters and sports franchises, out-of-state tourists, and state corporations, because their financial support was crucial for OSA to continue its mission.

The Campaign:

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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via

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