Case Study – The Support Center

Carolina Small Business Development Fund Case Study

Quick Facts

  • The Support Center is a statewide nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
  • Savvy originally engaged to rebrand the organization and serve as outsourced
    marketing team
  • Savvy hired for follow on projects including facilitating of the writing of strategic plans to reposition business model and ensure sustainability
  • The multi-year partnership includes reengagement for business planning, and
    ongoing counsel

Company Overview

The Support Center (formerly known as The North Carolina Minority Support Center) is a North Carolina statewide nonprofit and Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides small business loans and financial training to startups and existing businesses and lending services to community-based organizations.

The Challenge

Leadership of the North Carolina Minority Support Center (NCMSC) feared that its business model was unsustainable and not fundable moving forward. Management reached out to Savvy and offered a spot to compete in an RFP to rebrand the organization. At the time, the nonprofit was serving as an intermediary and passed their grants through credit unions.

Savvy Solution

After winning the RFP, Savvy approached the challenges with a deep dive into The North Carolina Minority Support Center’s past marketing strategies, internal documents, communication materials, and primary and secondary research on the credit union landscape. This process included 40 interviews with stakeholders (i.e. current and former staff, community development credit unions, partner organizations, and current and former funding organizations).

Through their in-depth research and analysis, Savvy was able to offer a solution to restructure NCMSC’s business model as well as broaden and strengthen the name of the organization to “The Support Center” and develop a concise and powerful tagline. Since this original engagement, The Support Center has changed their business and now originates and services their own loans and fills the gap for business owners who are often unable to find financing elsewhere. Using their proven frameworks and exercises, Savvy moderated sessions on vision & positioning, developed a marketing strategy and plan, and managed a creative partner to implement the rebranding.


The Support Center has engaged Savvy for several follow-on projects and ongoing advisement. These have included managing their business planning process, third-party evaluation of executive performance, recruitment of new board members, development of their first annual campaign, messaging refinement, and marketing advisory. The Support Center’s president, as well as board members, continues to credit Savvy’s work as a key to their success.

“When we decided to rebrand our organization, we interviewed several firms and quickly chose Savvy Marketing Group. After listening intently to our key stakeholders, Grace moderated our vision, positioning, and naming sessions with poise.

We then asked Savvy to facilitate creation of a new business model that has proven key to the sustainability goal of our organization. After creating a marketing plan to take us to the next level, Savvy served as outsourced team to keep our marketing strategy and plans moving forward.

Additionally, Grace has instilled our board’s confidence with her regular updates, helped attract new talent to our board, and has facilitated our strategic business planning process now twice. We continue to engage Savvy for strategic initiatives as well as retained counsel. I highly recommend the value Savvy brings to the table.”

Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President, CEO