Between 2011 and 2017, the city of Long Beach experienced a 41 percent decline in the number of people experiencing homelessness. At the heart of this progress are the City’s Continuum of Care (CoC) and Interdepartmental Team, a national model for the delivery of coordinated housing and homeless services led by the City’s Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department). With funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Los Angeles County and the City of Long Beach, the Homeless Services Division and its partners provide a remarkable range of services ranging from homeless prevention services, relocation assistance, job training, domestic violence programs, health care services, case management, transportation assistance, and short-term to permanent housing opportunities.
Despite the city’s tremendous progress to date, there are over 1,800 people living without shelter in Long Beach on any given day and over 3,500 moving in and out of homelessness in the City each year. Fortunately, some recent developments are helping to broaden and accelerate the pace of change. Last year, residents of Los Angeles County voted to approve Measure H, a funding mechanism that will generate an estimated $355 million annually for services and programs to prevent and combat homelessness across the County. This May, the City of Long Beach launched “Everyone Home Long Beach,” an initiative that enlists leaders from the business, nonprofit, and educational sectors to review existing housing and homeless policies and services and identify new opportunities for prevention and reduction. In June, California legislators allocated $500 million for the Homeless Emergency Aid program statewide, the majority of which will go directly to cities and counties.
With so much momentum for efforts to address homelessness, there is a unique opportunity for the Health Department to mobilize the public more deliberately through the Mayor’s Fund for the Homeless. Through this dedicated fund, residents of Long Beach are able to donate directly to the Health Department, which allocates the funds to local service providers to increase the capacity for services. To date, however, marketing and communications around the fund have been minimal and largely limited to an annual direct mail campaign. There is broad consensus among city leaders that this longstanding funding source has significant untapped potential.
The City of Long Beach seeks to raise the profile of the Mayor’s Fund to optimize its potential as a resource for initiatives addressing homelessness and to more effectively engage the public in these efforts. To support this work, the City will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will conduct a comprehensive review of the structure and organizational design. This review will culminate in a set of recommendations and implementation of a citywide education campaign that highlights opportunities to assist with reducing homelessness in the city, and the creation of a fundraising, marketing and branding strategy to increase public contributions to the Fund and enhance transparency around the city’s efforts to tackle homelessness.
Project Summary & Potential Deliverables
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will conduct an extensive landscape analysis to gain insight into existing funding sources and shortfalls. The fellow will engage staff at the Health Department and in the Mayor’s Office to understand how the Mayor’s Fund for the Homeless is structured and operated, past promotional efforts, donor demographics, giving patterns, and historical funding allocations.
The Mayor’s Fund is currently an independent fund operated by the city of Long Beach. A component of the fellowship will be to assess the effectiveness of the current fund structure and to develop a broad framework for how funds can be strategically deployed to support service gaps in the CoC. The fellow will also work with internal staff to establish an annual fundraising target.
Through in-depth market research such as interviews and focus groups, the fellow will uncover donor demographics, drivers of giving around homelessness, areas of specific interest to donors, alternative giving channels, and more. The fellow will leverage this information to conduct a market segmentation that identifies promising donor segments and demographics, their giving preferences, and their responsiveness to various marketing messages and channels. The fellow will then develop, test and implement a comprehensive marketing and branding campaign, including a revamped website interface, that effectively engages donors and highlights the city’s efforts to alleviate homelessness in Long Beach. This messaging would inform and guide the development and design of the community education campaign.
To sustain these efforts beyond the fellowship year, the fellow will conduct trainings with staff members on the core messaging and communications strategy, as well as best practice communications tactics such as differentiating messaging for various audiences and use of social media and other digital tools. At the end of the fellowship year, the fellow will have laid the groundwork and begun implementation of the Mayor’s Fund as the primary hub for residents to learn about and support Long Beach’s efforts to combat homelessness.
- Assess current fund structure and allocation strategy: Evaluate alternative fund structures and make recommendations for which structure will best accomplish the city’s goals. Develop a framework for how funds can be allocated to support housing and homeless services provided by the City and its partners. Work with relevant staff to establish an annual fundraising target.
- Conduct market research: Conduct qualitative research to understand the dynamics and demographics of giving around homelessness, both financial and in-kind. Identify potential donor segments and associated characteristics, including giving preferences and average donation size. Conduct message testing to evaluate the effectiveness of various communications.
- Develop a marketing, branding and education plan: Create a comprehensive plan with goals, messaging for specific audiences, target audiences, tactics and strategies, roles and responsibilities, timeline and milestones. Develop metrics to evaluate effectiveness. Work with IT and other staff to redesign the Fund’s website interface. Develop educational and marketing materials.
- Support implementation: Test and implement key aspects of the marketing, branding, and education plan. Recommend appropriate staffing to oversee these efforts. Train relevant staff in how to implement and iterate core aspects of the plan. Create reference documents that outline best communication practices, such as differentiating messages for different audiences and maintaining message consistency across platforms.
- Kelly Colopy, Director, Long Beach Health and Human Services Department
- Teresa Chandler, Manager, Human Services Bureau, Long Beach Health and Human Services Department
- Mark Taylor, Chief of Staff, Long Beach Office of the Mayor
- At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in fund development, strategic marketing, design and/or brand development.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
- Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.