A young girl is playing outdoors in a park, joyfully reaching out to catch a large soap bubble. She is wearing a light green coat and a white dress underneath. The background is lush and green, with trees and a grassy lawn.

The power of a wish

Make-A-Wish® fulfills the wishes of critically ill children. The ripple of each wish granted reaches far beyond the child—it touches their parents, siblings, caretaker, and providers. Hope is, after all, contagious.

Under new leadership, Make-A-Wish’s Massachusetts and Rhode Island’s chapter sought to refresh its marketing and communications, reinvigorate the brand locally, and inspire a new generation of supporters, volunteers, and donors. Initially, this effort was separate from an organization-wide strategic planning process—but it soon became clear that the two had to happen simultaneously. Hairpin was excited to take the lead on both.

Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island
Strategic Plan Development
Theory of Change Development
Strategic Communications Planning

Diving deep

Informed by in-depth discovery and immersion with Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island staff, Hairpin spoke with families, volunteers, medical providers, and donors to get a stronger sense of how the organization’s brand stood in the region. These insights shaped a three-year strategic plan, created by Hairpin, mapping out specific activities along a series of distinct focus areas. These areas not only categorized the work and helped the staff think more strategically and collaboratively, but they also set the organization a world apart in a universe of other noble efforts. The staff, once feeling siloed and stuck, found renewed energy and a shared purpose through this strategic planning process.

Hairpin was an invaluable partner to Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island as we developed a strategic plan for our future. As our organization charted its path, the expert facilitators and strategists at Hairpin helped us assess our needs, consider the best strategies, and design a process that ensured all voices were heard. We would recommend Hairpin to any social sector organization looking to increase its effectiveness and impact.

Nadia Reimer Director of Business Operations, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Creating powerful experiences

As part of this process, we also crafted a Theory of Change—a visual tool that allowed staff, leadership, partners, community members, and families to identify their place within the orbit circling a Wish Kid. As we learned through this work, there are so many ways that a Wish benefits more than just the recipient—this Theory of Change expresses that. It helps all stakeholders identify the many ways to be part of these powerful experiences and the positive effect they can have on everyone involved—wishes have the power to heal, uplift, and create a system of love and compassion. 

With our help, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island was able to realign their efforts to one of their core, guiding beliefs: hope is a critical component of healing.