City Year


The Reality

City Year struggled to recruit young men – and in particular, young men of color – to apply to be Corps members. Young men did not understand how City Year would fit into their career path.


The Approach

We didn’t want to fall into the trap of “just put a young man of color in the ads, and they will come.” UGH! We knew we needed to ensure that the messaging resonated in a way that connected with how they saw themselves, their capabilities, and their future...not merely how they saw themselves demographically.


The Solution

We conducted a user insights study, Corps member interviews, and audience testing to identify key motivators and obstacles that young men of color faced in considering City Year. We then applied those learnings and insights to develop a new messaging theme and creative executions, and identified the right targeted channels to place this new creative.


The Results

The new campaign and connection strategy generated 2.5x the number of applications from young men of color.

Meredith Ferguson