Becoming a Voice for the Voiceless

The Georgia Innocence Project champions people on the margins of society—inmates who have been wrongly accused and imprisoned. It’s an emotional cause, headed by law professionals who make it their lives’ work to exonerate men and women who can never repay them. Unfortunately, even with a collection of high profile wins and the zeitgeist of “Making a Murderer” and “Serial” behind them, the organization couldn’t seem to make their message heard, much less passionately understood.

Finding the Humanity

With a dour, sparse identity, the Project had an image issue that was hurting its ability to inspire potential donors and volunteers. This issue was worsened by the fact that people seemed to confuse New York’s higher profile Innocence Project with the smaller, Atlanta-based operation. Donations were misdirected, and new supporters weren’t being enticed to take up Georgia’s cause. We wondered, “How can you inject humanity—and hope—into imprisonment and exoneration—something that has a generally negative perception? And how can we distinguish this project from others like it?”

Rebranding the Wrongly Accused

A survey of like-minded nonprofits turned up a lot of uninspiring, lock-and-key imagery. We determined that Georgia Innocence was at the beginning of its brand journey—barely past awareness. They needed to evoke an emotional response, help people understand the plight of the wrongly accused, and convey an ironclad call to action. We presented three options. The third—which featured scrawled hash marks and focused on the time each innocent prisoner lost to injustice—brought tears to our clients’ eyes and was the clear winner.

Doing it all in Record Time

With the brand defined, we looked toward putting together a website. Things turned urgent when the popular true-crime podcast Undisclosed decided to take on a Georgia Innocence case as its second-season feature. We launched a complete site in just three weeks, racing the release of Undisclosed’s story, which itself garnered hundreds of thousands of downloads each week. The impact on Georgia Innocence was profound.

“We can’t even begin to express the value of the work that THRIVE did for us. It’s incredible. It really has been priceless, and the board has been floored. We’re starting to get much larger donations, more consistent and frequently, and that’s directly tied to the website and the fact that we’re showing such a compelling new face of the organization. ”

Clare Gilbert, Interim Director, Georgia Innocence Project

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