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Articles tagged with: Fundraising Communications

The Field Museum

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants provided us with a critical messaging framework that will help our Development Committee and our Development staff talk persuasively with our donors about activities that are at the core of The Field Museum – scientific research and discovery in the Natural Sciences. With their assistance, we are now able to communicate more powerfully the role our research and collections play.”

The Field Museum

Message Development


The Field Museum was at an important juncture – a senior leadership transition was under way in 2012, and the development department was seeking assistance in defining the key donor messages to support the importance of scientific research and discovery at the more than 100-year-old institution. Although they are pillars of The Field, the importance of natural science research – its legacy and current activities – and collections were not clearly understood. The development committee and members of its board of trustees needed a message hierarchy and positioning statements for their outreach to major donors.

Our Work

Working with The Field’s development leadership, the museum’s goal in developing messaging was to create broad, yet concise, themes to capture the specific research activities of each of the five departments and the importance of the 24-million specimens collection.  Melcher+Tucker Consultants carried out extensive research and fact-finding – reviewing  scientific and marketing materials from each science division and strategic plans, interviewing development department staff members, and carrying out one-on-one interviews with a representative group of The Field Museum's trustees from the board’s development committee. Our final product, presented to the development committee staff and board, provided a messaging framework highlighting science’s global reach, research impact and legacy.


The messaging output provided The Field Museum’s development committee and board members with a clear set of talking points to use with major donors. The overarching message  "Advancing Science for a Changing World"  underscores the museum’s longstanding and ongoing contribution to world-class scientific research and real-world impact in fields ranging from developing early warning signs for climate change to laying the groundwork for new pharmaceuticals. Development staff and board members have praised the messaging work for unifying key themes and achievements – to demonstrate that The Field “makes science matter” - to advance fundraising at a particularly crucial time for The Field Museum.

Greater Chicago Food Depository

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants has played an integral role in shaping the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s communications and marketing for more than a decade. MTC’s message development and strategic outreach capabilities have enhanced our ability to raise awareness of hunger in Cook County.”

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Strategic Communications Planning & Implementation, Branding, Media Relations


The Greater Chicago Food Depository is one of the country’s largest food banks, providing 70 million pounds of food to men, women and children in the Chicago area through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs.  In 2001, preparing for a major expansion of facilities and programs, the Food Depository launched a $30 million capital campaign amidst a challenging fundraising environment. Following the campaign, the Food Depository expanded its marketing and communications activities to heighten visibility and raise awareness among funders, volunteers and policymakers. In 2009, the Food Depository marked its 30th anniversary and launched a citywide public awareness campaign. More recently, the Food Depository has refined its branding and messaging to heighten awareness of its every-day commitment to the community and its innovation.

Our Work

Melcher+Tucker Consultants initially collaborated with the Food Depository's management and graphic designers to develop and write all content for the capital campaign materials. MTC interviewed management, staff and volunteers, and visited food pantries and homeless shelters. The campaign materials were widely praised for compelling story-telling. We developed the media plan and information kit for the campaign launch. Since the successful conclusion of the campaign and opening of a new warehouse and training center, MTC has provided counsel to senior management on issues ranging from brand messaging, leadership transition and strategic planning to public relations, issue development, and signature event planning. From 2014 through early 2016, MTC served as acting Chief Marketing Officer, working to develop messaging, a new advertising campaign and communications strategy.


The Food Depository’s brand and its service have become widely recognized and respected locally and nationally. We have executed local and national media relations campaigns; assisted in the planning of major events, from the opening of a new facility to its 30th anniversary; conducted media training for senior management; and provided strategic counsel to leadership. The Food Depository has been featured in Chicago print and TV outlets, plus the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, FastCompany, Business Week, The NewsHour and NBC Nightly News. Its current leader, Kate Maehr, was honored as one of Chicago’s top young executives in Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 issue and, in 2013, received Feeding America’s Dick Goebel Public Service award for her service to communities, extensive public policy advocacy, and tireless energy and creativity in developing solutions to help reach increasing numbers. Perhaps most important, the Food Depository is now serving more hungry men, women and children than ever before.

Writers Theatre

“Melcher+Tucker Consultants was instrumental in helping Writers Theatre craft the best possible fundraising brochure and accompanying materials for our On To A New Stage Campaign - a $32 million project to establish a Jeanne Gang-designed theatre center on Chicago's North Shore. Rick and Anne listened to the many voices at the table, and quickly assessed and understood the project and our potential audience. They integrated all of the project details and our story into a streamlined, cohesive, and high impact piece.”

Writers Theatre

Capital Campaign Collateral Development, Media Relations


Writers Theatre, hailed as the “best drama company in the nation” by the Wall Street Journal, was launching a $34 million capital campaign – “On To A New Stage” – to build a signature new theater complex in the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe. Designed by internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects, led by principal Jeanne Gang, the new theater would recognize Writers’ reputation for excellence, allow for growth in audience and in new events for students and the local community. To prepare for the campaign, Writers needed assistance in developing messaging and materials to present to prospective donors, and training for development staff and board members to make “the ask.” Following groundbreaking for the new theater, Writers required media planning to prepare for the grand opening.

Our Work

Working with the development, artistic and board leadership of the theater, Melcher+Tucker Consultants and our graphic design partner carried out copy development and editing for the elegant fundraising brochure. We studied the competitive positioning of the theater, and led a team of theater executives and board members through fact-finding and messaging sessions to create the thematic narrative for the brochure – the vitality of Writers Theatre and the critical need for a new facility to sustain its distinctive artistic experience. Together with developing the content for the brochure, we equipped development staff and board members with an FAQ to answer the tough questions and make the strongest case for the new building. In the run-up to the official opening in February, 2016, we prepared a comprehensive local and national media relations plan to promote the theater’s artistic and executive leadership and the impact of the new theater on the broader Chicago theatrical community.


The new brochure was produced and in the hands of fundraisers to begin discussions about the campaign with key stakeholders well ahead of the groundbreaking. Staff was also equipped with the additional messaging to support the campaign in presentations to prospective donors. Development staff and board members enthusiastically embraced the materials as integral to these important discussions, which helped meet targeted goals. Media relations, carried out with theater leadership and communications counsel, generated widespread excitement for the opening of the new center in early 2016. The opening received widespread Chicago area and national newspaper, magazine, TV and radio exposure, ranging from the Chicago Tribune and WTTW to American Way magazine and the Wall Street Journal.


  • Seigle’s, Inc.

    “Melcher+Tucker are long on thoughtful advice, old and new market savvy, and media sense.  Their earned media results were remarkable.”

    Harry Seigle former chairman of Seigle’s Inc. and founder and principal of The Elgin Company

    Remaking a Homebuilding Icon

    Seigle's, Inc., one of the country’s largest regional manufacturers and distributors of building supplies, embarked on a strategy to focus predominately on the professional builder, shifting away from direct-to-consumer sales. Deciding not to compete with the big-box retailers, Seigle's concentrated on building relationships with both local and national homebuilders, and began preparing for its largest acquisition, a deal, which would cement its strategic change of direction. Yet, the $260 million, family-owned company based in Elgin, IL, lacked significant visibility and for its new strategy and branding.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began a comprehensive engagement to help define the company’s brand proposition and carry out strategic positioning to raise Seigle's profile among key constituents. Media relations activities included targeting local and national trade and general interest publications, aimed at promoting the new corporate strategy; establishing Seigle's executives as knowledgeable sources on industry and economic issues; and, highlighting distinctive policies such as corporate governance. MTC also helped develop a series of customer forums and accompanying monographs designed to increase awareness and credibility, and rewrote all of the website content.

    Seigle's new strategy was featured in major profiles in papers ranging from the Chicago Tribune and Wall Street Journal to the New York Times and throughout the industry’s leading trade journals. Owner-brothers Harry and Mark Seigle authored columns, and became regular sources for industry stories. In less than 18 months, MTC helped Seigle's convey its key messages to its core audiences. In September of 2005, Seigle's was sold to Stock Building Supply near the height of the housing cycle.

  • JPMorgan Chase

    Contributing to Communities in Which It Operates

    JPMorgan Chase, one of the world’s largest financial institutions, began planning its first “Community Partnership Report,” a publication that was to demonstrate to employees, investors and other stakeholders the firm’s commitment to support “healthy, vibrant communities where we live and work,” in the words of former Chairman Bill Harrison. With operations in 50 countries, the challenge was to select case studies that represent the firm’s interests in community revitalization, public education, and arts and culture – and, to write the profiles in an analytical style similar to that in the best news magazines.

    Working with JPMorgan Chase executives around the world in marketing, corporate and social responsibility, philanthropy and community development departments, Melcher+Tucker Consultants was responsible for reporting and writing the case studies that form the core of the 48-page Community Partnership Report. We interviewed dozens of sources at the bank, at community and cultural organizations around the world, and among those directly benefiting from the firm’s activities – from London to Dallas to Johannesburg and Hong Kong. The case studies we produced: Brooklyn, “Revitalizing Downtown;” Texas, “Building Sustainable Communities;” London, “Inspiring Children;” South Africa, “Opening Doors to Opportunity;” and, Hong Kong, “Responding to SARS.”

    The Community Partnership Report was distributed to JPMorgan Chase stakeholders around the world, and made prominently available on its web site. The report was widely praised for its breadth of coverage, stunning photographs, and, perhaps most important, crisp and sensitive writing that illustrated the firm’s impact on communities it serves.

  • Cannon Design

    Creating Path-breaking Architecture for Clients Worldwide

    OWP/P l Cannon Design is a leading architecture, design and engineering firm specializing in healthcare, education and corporate/commercial design. Operating as OWP/P, before its merger with Cannon Design, the firm, with offices in Chicago and Phoenix, sought to raise its visibility both locally and nationally for individual architects, specific projects and other areas of expertise in an effort to distinguish the firm’s work and ideas.

    Melcher+Tucker Consultants began the engagement assisting industry leadership teams in developing internal messaging for the roll out of a new strategic plan. We then worked with each of the firm’s practice leaders and marketing coordinators in Chicago and Phoenix on a range of activities, from media training and writing press releases to story development and promotion of people, new projects, special programs, and trends, both to Chicago-area and national trade and general-interest media. We also were involved in developing the messages and media plan for the firm’s 50th anniversary celebration held in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Throughout, we positioned leaders as expert resources on projects and trends, including sustainable design, healthcare technology and prototypes for new schools.

    The firm, its innovative approach to design and its leaders have been featured in profiles in such major media as FastCompany (where we also launched an education design blog), the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, Chicago Public Radio, and Architect. OWP/P, which merged with Cannon Design in 2009, is a global leader in both its operating approach to architecture and its delivery of built work across a range of industry sectors, with widespread awareness of its brand and operating philosophy.

  • GMI Ratings

    “Rick Melcher exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism and dedication and it has been an honor and a pleasure to work with him.  I don't know anyone better at working with customers to understand what they need, and his thoughtful guidance and support were essential to our success.”

    Nell Minow Founder and Board member GMI Ratings

    Competitive Analysis, Strategic Positioning, Market Development

    GMI Ratings (GMI) was the leading independent source of environmental, social, and corporate governance data, research, and analysis when it was acquired by MSCI, Inc. in 2014. Founded in 2000, GMI Ratings, formerly The Corporate Library, was a start-up company creating a new global market for ESG investment research – developing data and analytics, building awareness, and driving sales.

    Beginning in the fall of 2000, Melcher+Tucker Consultants undertook a broad marketing alliance with GMI Ratings. Working with the company leadership as an integral part of the initial planning team, we carried out competitive market research and product testing, and initiated business development.  During a 13-year engagement, from data base product launch through two mergers, we identified and segmented market opportunities, developed pricing models, participated in strategic planning, and took a leadership role in generating revenue from sales of access to GMI Ratings’ databases.

    GMI Ratings’ acquisition by MSCI was recognition of the company’s record for delivering timely, innovative and useful data resources to identify material ESG risk. MTC’s marketing and sales efforts helped open new opportunities for sales to investors, consultants, insurers, and companies, while focused customer service sustained and grew GMI Ratings. MTC supported the firm throughout its lifecycle, helping it to move beyond a critical time of transition and integration into one of the leading global sustainable investment research firms.

  • Project Exploration

    "Melcher+Tucker helped us leverage our local work into the national education conversation. They not only help you tell your story, they know who you need to tell it to, and even who might fund it. When you work with them on a project - whether it's large or small - you have their full attention; they make you feel like you're their only client."

    Gabrielle Lyon Former Executive Director Project Exploration

    Strategic Marketing and Communications Planning & Implementation

    Project Exploration is a Chicago-based nonprofit science education organization that works to ensure communities traditionally overlooked by science – particularly minority youth and girls – have access to personalized experiences with science and scientists. The organization’s out-of-school time programs – including Sisters for Science and Junior Paleontologists – impact the lives of hundreds of Chicago Public School students each year by fostering a long-term involvement in science. With the release of an independent 10-year study of Project Exploration alumni attesting to program success in helping boost high school graduation rates and students’ pursuit of science education and careers, the organization sought a messaging campaign to raise awareness with key constituents, ranging from media and funders to thought leaders, educators and policy makers. Subsequently, Project Exploration sought a fully built out public relations campaign.

    Since early 2011, Melcher+Tucker Consultants has worked closely with Project Exploration’s senior management to strengthen brand awareness and develop and implement a comprehensive strategic marketing and communications plan to capitalize on the organization’s demonstrable success. The goal: develop accessible, compelling story lines for internal staff, board, and external communities about Project Exploration’s distinctive approach to science education. We developed an Executive Summary and the media plan for the release of the 10-year study, advised the Project Exploration board about appropriate branding and messaging strategies to ensure sustained community presence, and worked with Chicago-area and national media on program-specific stories. We also worked on developing a Case Statement for active fundraising, and helped refine the e-marketing strategy.

    Through introductions to Chicago and national education and philanthropic media and effective story development, Project Exploration has attained widespread coverage and increasing recognition. The organization – its leadership and students – have been featured on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times, Education Week and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Gabrielle Lyon, co-founder, was named one of Chicago magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year in 2011. Newly-branded marketing materials have been presented to potential funders. The growing exposure has helped underscore the importance of Project Exploration’s mission to change the face of science.