Our office is in the heart of Near Southside and there is no other place we would want to be in business. That is why when Near Southside, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to revitalizing the Near Southside, approached our agency with the dream to apply for Texas Commission on the Arts’ (TCA) cultural district designation, we were all in.
This designation would give our community the support and recognition it deserves and allow nonprofits in the area to apply for TCA grants. In addition, the 1,400–acre district would be recognized by the state as a destination for arts and investments.
Dr. Seuss once said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
We knew Near Southside was born to stand out. Which is why we did three things to make the application special and catch the eye of the selection committee.
#1 – Make it POP
Don’t let your application blend in with the bunch. Find a special element that will make it pop. In our application, we collaborated with the leadership at Near Southside to include all the required documents and reports for the massive application. For our portions, we wrote extensive documents for the brand, the marketing plan and specifically used bold wording and colors to make it memorable and impactful. Spend time thinking how to make the application different from the competition. Different situations will determine how to make the application special. For one project, using a working solo and keeping it simple could be a perfect approach, but for another project, full team collaboration and incredible design or creative ideas could cause viewers to stop in awe and wonderment!
#2 – Include a Unique Final Touch
Why just send in your application the same way everyone else does? For Near Southside Arts, we packed up the application in a big blue box and covered it with stickers from the organizations and businesses that make up the Near Southside community. Our goal with the packaging was to show the selection committee a unified front, passion for creativity, and commitment to the perseverance of this district. Remember the details all the way down to the way it’s delivered.
#3 – Practice Gratitude
Finally, it is important to practice gratitude. Without the client collaboration and community involvement, from writing letters of endorsement to donating company stickers, we would not have had the outcome we did. Gratitude allows for authentic and deeper human connections.
With these three tips plus grit, perseverance, and amazing support from the community, the results were impeccable and would have not been possible without partnering with the five–man team at Near Southside, Inc. They are district development gurus, and dang good ones.
Together, we pulled together a massive application — 125 pages of strategy and passion for our beloved district.
Ranking first place out of all the applicants during an application deadline that was in the heart of the pandemic, it is evident that Near Southside is a force to be reckoned with… Not to mention, after we received approved designation, our public relations efforts garnered 13 pieces of coverage with nearly 700,000 estimated views and over 1,300 social shares. Plus, our community efforts granted over 1,200 survey responses and more than 25 letters of support from Fort Worth VIPs.