City First Enterprises: Transforming Comms for a CDFI

I worked with City First Enterprises to overhaul their communications. We focused on updating their website and messaging to prioritize client needs and create a more accessible and engaging platform. We created interactive reports and print materials, shifting them towards a dynamic, client-focused approach.

Brand Strategy, Visual Identity, Organizational Website, Digital Reports, Illustrations, Print Collateral

Our mission when creating their org website was to learn from the for-profit world and center the client experience at every step in their online journey.

The Situation

The Need to Make Communications more Engaging and Accessible

City First Enterprises (CFE) lends capital to people often left out of the traditional financial system. They help develop affordable housing, scale nonprofits, make clean energy accessible to all, and help people buy homes. Their work is all about building community and closing the wealth gap.

While changing and growing as an organization, CFE had a communications problem. This complicated both their messaging and the relationship they have cultivated with their communities. They wanted to be a place where people could come for support, and not be put off by a stiff and unapproachable website.

They needed a communications transformation.

When the executive director and team reached out to me, I was excited to be part of the work. Their organization puts capital in the hands of real people who both need and deserve it.

Their annual impact reports are now digital and fully interactive, allowing them to share their work in a dynamic way.

The Challenges

Engagement Hindered by Nonprofit Jargon and Financial Complexity

From the beginning, we knew a big key to the communications issue was their website. It was in need of a redesign that would transform it from a stiff, non client-centric tool into a viable place where people who required their services could find what they needed. Their goal was to have their clients be the center of their messaging.

We pinpointed the following issues:

“Kate has been a fantastic resource as CFE has grown. She listens thoughtfully, generates creative ideas quickly, synthesizes feedback brilliantly, and produces beautiful results in an incredibly short time. She’s a true thought partner on how we communicate and showcase our work – because she really *gets* us as an impact-focused nonprofit with a strong business case. Our whole team appreciates collaborating with her.”

– Oswaldo Acosta, CEO
Building out their asset library includes printed materials for events and distribution.

The Approach

Prioritizing Storytelling and Interactive Experiences to Drive Engagement

My working relationship with CFE spans several years, and together we’ve partnered to uplift their brand and bring more humanity, accessibility, and fun into their communications. As a result, we have achieved many successes:

CFE wanted to share their strategic plan and future direction in an innovative way, through an interactive experience.