The Partner

Each year, Sojourner House at PathStone provides shelter, structure, strength, and inspiration to more than 250 women their families. When women arrive in the transitional housing program, 82% struggle with alcohol abuse, 94% deal with drug dependency, and 75% are victims of domestic violence.

Sojourner House helps people transition into permanent housing and gives them the tools they need to succeed so they can avoid homelessness in the future. One graduate describes it as “a house of miracles where lives are transformed. It is a sanctuary, where nurturing of the spirit begins, where the process of healing and loving of self takes place.”

The need

In recent years, Sojourner House merged with Wilson Commencement Park, a Rochester community where low-income single-parent families can transition from public assistance to financial independence and personal self-sufficiency. The merger meant changes in leadership, organizational structure, and services for Sojourner House. They needed help clearly articulating what they offer, the impact they have, what makes them unique — all important considerations when convincing donors they’re a smart choice to invest in.

Our Approach

Before launching a marketing effort, we recommended doing some groundwork to help their team come to consensus on the organization’s brand.

First, we conducted a survey with program participants, the board, volunteers, partner organizations, donors, and funders. Next, we facilitated exercises with their staff and board to prioritize target audiences and agree on language that clearly and consistently articulates who Sojourner House is and what they do.

“That process was critical to us,” says Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, Executive Director at Sojourner House. “It got our board thinking in a different way.”

And, once they had a plan ready to put into action, we were there to assist them every step of the way—with strategic thinking and resources.

“Later, if we got stuck, I’d call Todd Butler at Causewave” Seanelle says.


Today, Sojourner House has a fresh framework, message, and voice to tell their story. Their work with Causewave was instrumental in helping them clarify who they are today, both as a unique organization, and one that benefits from the added resources of being joined to Wilson Commencement Park. And the relationship didn’t end with strategic planning or marketing. It’s an ongoing partnership that continually brings value to the table.

I know first-hand the capacity Causewave builds and now, my CEO is working with their team on an even bigger initiative for the future. Causewave makes resources available that we couldn’t otherwise afford. They connect us to innovative individuals throughout the Rochester community. Their team helped Sojourner House fully understand the asset we are to the community, and gave us the language and strategy to tell people our story.
— Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, Executive Director

Partnerships like these have extraordinary ripple effects: Stable communities. Economic independence. Continued education. Safety and security. Family unity.

By working with organizations like Sojourner House, we get the chance to play a role in tackling many of our community's most pressing challenges. We were grateful for the opportunity to work alongside their team.