Providing marketing and branding services to a diverse nonprofit cohort to fuel the next wave of growth


Co.act Detroit is a hub for accelerating collaborative action in Southeast Michigan’s nonprofit community, facilitating transformation that moves missions and communities forward. In April 2021, the first Earned Revenue Accelerator was announced. Earned revenue models, while relatively rare, are gaining popularity among nonprofits. This program was offered because earned revenue models allow organizations to diversify bases of support to meet growing needs and to better sustain operations over the long term. And while this program was designed long before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting funding priorities among grant-making organizations have made earned revenue models more attractive to nonprofits nationwide.


Blended Collective was asked to join the first cohort as a marketing and branding consultancy and service provider of the Earned Revenue Accelerator program, a pilot program of the $1.5 million Activate Fund. The Accelerator helps nonprofits in Wayne County to diversify their financial operating models by growing an existing revenue-producing product or service with a three-month intensive learning cohort. In partnership with a jury of local nonprofit and business leaders, six Wayne County nonprofits were selected through a competitive selection process to participate in a virtual curriculum valued at $75,000. The inaugural Accelerator cohort included senior leaders from six organizations across these industry sectors: dance arts, technology/education, design/skill trades, personal and laundry services, human services, and food products / beekeeping.

Awardees were selected on a number of criteria, including sales history, potential for catalytic impact and market demand. Preference was also given to organizations and leaders traditionally excluded from capacity- and knowledge-building programs. The result is a diverse cohort, representative of Wayne County nonprofits in terms of geography, budget size, products or services offered, and racial and ethnic demographics of leadership.


In working with a diverse cohort, representative of Wayne County nonprofits in terms of geography, budget size, products or services offered, and racial and ethnic demographics of leadership, Blended Collective provided marketing, branding, and strategy services during the three-month program alongside a workshop to the full cohort. From content strategy and development, to communications, design and branding services, we addressed current business pain-points of each of the six nonprofit organizations and determined deliverables for each client.


All six nonprofits are positioned to rollout their new brand, communications, or marketing deliverables with the goal of building capacity, and expanding their product or service offerings to continue to grow their organizations.

“We engaged Blended Collective for our pilot Earned Revenue Accelerator program as both a branding/marketing consultant to our six Accelerator participants and a class speaker. Blended Collective was great to work with from beginning to end! Lydia was a terrific thought partner and collaborator to our team as we structured what the participant’s branding/marketing support package and deliverables would look like. She effectively communicated branding/marketing’s relationship to an earned revenue stream as a class speaker. In addition, she provided frequent updates on her progress throughout every stage of her engagement as well as exhibited patience and flexibility which was much needed running a program during a pandemic. Blended Collective was a great asset to our program.”

– Kyla Carlson, Program Manager, Co.act Detroit

– Lauren Boone, Activate Fund Program Manager, Co.act Detroit

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