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Case study: Non-Profit Branding at UCAN

Business Challenge

UCAN, a youth-focused Chicago non-profit with roots dating back to the Civil War and a modern-day identity that was often at odds with itself. UCAN needed to bring clarity to their brand, build a consensus across the organization, and improve their positioning for future fundraising.


AE Marketing Group conducted in-depth interviews with UCAN’s youths, employees, and board members to provide a clear brand architecture. This resulted in operationalized brand positioning, tone, style, and enhanced creative treatments that integrated key satisfaction data with emotional photography and stronger calls to action. Additionally, AE used documentary storytelling to showcase youth trauma, and drive fundraising and awareness.


  • $40M capital campaign goal met within 3 years to build new campus
  • 32% increase in year-over-year giving
  • 94% increase in customer satisfaction
  • Earned media through branded storytelling features topped over 100k hits
  • Featured by Branding Magazine for its innovative work in non-profit branding, marketing, and development
  • Broke single-event fundraising record at 2019 Youth Leadership Awards Dinner


  • Brand Alignment
  • Documentary Storytelling
  • Employee Advocacy/Engagement
  • Journalism Features
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