SunServe: A Case Study

SunServe: A Case Study


Sun Serve


To brand the organization’s training and development programs in order to increase funding.


What do they do? 

Sun Serve is a non-profit social services agency serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community in South Florida

What group of people do they work with?

Sun Serve beneficiaries include the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community in South Florida 

Business Problems, Risks, and Opportunities

What problems were they facing?

  • As customary with non-profit organizations, there wasn’t a strategy or funding to implement a business model that allows more funding for Sun Serve
  • Sun Serve made several attempts through hiring full time staff to email marketing to sell their training program. These attempts did not work and the focus continued to be singularly on fundraising.
  • People want to do a “social good”, however for a business to “buy in” there must be a return on investment (ROI). Sometimes that return on investment is the social implications of being a part of an organization that has a sole mission to better the lives of people. In this case, that community consists of the LGBTQ community. In other cases, the social implications of a business paying for a training is not just socially impactful to a community, it allows for personal satisfaction and community engagement by the owners, executive board and/or staff. These implications were not enough to sell the training to businesses whose goal is and will continue to be increasing their financial bottom line.
  • Organizing corporate events and training requires more staff to organize and execute on behalf of Sun Serve, but there was no funding to pay employee wages and benefits.

Our Solutions and Results

What were the results of our work?

  • We developed, marketed and managed the business development department over the course of 6 months. Our research included a 60-page research document that states the LGBTQ community is spent 80 billion dollars internationally in 2013 in industries such as hospitality, interior design and community development. We wrote a strategy that included a workshop for hotels and restaurants in the South Florida area. An 80 billion dollar buying market is not interested in people affirming who they are, as much as knowing that they are safe when they eat at a restaurant or stay at a hotel. Generally speaking, people within the LGBTQ community spend more when they go to restaurants than other communities. We also were able to research and communicate the benefits of DINK (double income no kids) allowing more money for travel. We provided 16 restaurants with the value of taking the marketing and training associated with partnering with and paying for Sun Serve Training and Development. 10 of those 16 restaurants paid for the training, resulting in over 300 management and front line staff participating in a LGBTQ training and development program.
  • As a part of our work, in addition to partnering Sun Serve with the Downtown Himmarshee Village Association (the group of restaurants), we organized and executed the trainings, including scheduling, training location, and after event feedback/survey.
  • In addition to Downtown Himmarshee Village Association, we confirmed international brands like Norwegian Air as a sponsor of the training and development package that included a closing event for Pride Fort Lauderdale.
  • We confirmed elected officials to be in attendance including commissioners and mayors.
  • Based on the successes of the program, the Executive Director adjusted the organizational flow to include a shift in the responsibilities of one of the directors to include marketing. The director now implements some of the strategies we created for the organization.
  • We used the training and development as an opportunity to desegregate traditional gay neighborhoods through LGBTQ sensitivity training and development. Our goal is to bring communities together, not simply to desegregate for the sake of diversity, but to use dialogue, training, and marketing as an opportunity to support the safety of others, as well as a change in how we see equality. It is not just for policy, but our goal was to add to the cultural shift in how we interact with people who do not represent the same nationality, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or socioeconomic status as another.
  • As a result of our work, revenue increased by 10% and opened a market including strategies that will continue to move the business development department forward.

For more information about this client or the work we do for our clients, please contact The Idea, Inc. office at 954-636-1223.

About the Author

Danielle Stephenson
I am a Jamaican born, North Carolina bred southern lady. I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014 with a a degree in Management and Society as well as English.