Presbyterian Night Shelter – Name Change, Marketing, Funds

Organization Contact: Lee Ann Embry

Mentor:Dara Austin

Project: Gather community perspective on changing our name; brain storm on names to better reflect our scope of services; investigate feasibility of marketing and raising funds for each program separately.

Mission: The mission of the Presbyterian Night Shelter is to provide for the needs of the homeless while respecting their dignity. We are a shelter of last resort; a sanctuary without cost to anyone in need.

Issues:

  • In recent years, we evolved into more than a “night shelter” – we are now a campus of facilities that remain open 24-7 providing specialized care to specific segments of the homeless population. We have a mission to get people off the streets and not judge them for the choices they make; however, we are so much more in that we do provide specialized services. How do we market this convoluted message?
  • We are unlike any shelter in the metroplex and quite possibly the U.S.: we are the only free shelter in the area; the only shelter that does not require a photo ID; the only shelter that does not test for drugs/alcohol; the only shelter without length-of-stay requirements. How can we market what we do to set ourselves a part from other organizations?
  • While we were started by Presbyterian ministers and First Presbyterian Church is still a big reason our doors remain open, we have always been a separate, independent organization not affiliated with other entities. How can we market “you don’t have to be a Presbyterian to support us?” and, If we change our name, would we offend Presbyterians?
  • Is it feasible to market/raise funds for each facility/program separately without hurting the overall operation/programs?
  • Important message: We receive NO city/county/state funds and yet we are providing a valuable service to our city. Also, we now serve many Dallas clients since the City of Dallas “criminalized” the homeless a year ago. We remain the shelter of last resort for the entire metroplex and beyond.