Metropolitan Youth Symphony needed a marketing overhaul to more effectively attract donors, communicate with educators and recruit new student musicians.

As a small nonprofit, however, MYS's budget didn’t have room for big-picture strategy and branding work. Sheepscot helped MYS refine their communication objectives and articulate tactics to achieve them—and then we helped them find funding. With our assistance, MYS applied for and received more than $150,000 in grants to support a rebrand and hire much-needed staff.

Next, we interviewed dozens of stakeholders and students, led a workshop and deployed a survey in order to articulate the MYS value proposition in succinct, accessible terms. We filmed rehearsals and concerts, and photographed musicians ages 8 to 18 in everything from formal wear to flip flops to launch the decades-old organization's first comprehensive brand. Finally, we created templates and guides, and then trained staff how to use them. Enrollment and fundraising continue to increase.


The brand

Metropolitan Youth Symphony stands apart from other youth symphonies by maintaining the highest musical standards while allowing its students the freedom to still be kids. Rehearsal schedules leave the flexibility they need to study, play sports and simply play. They're kids, after all.

To reflect (and celebrate) MYS's , our campaign shows student musicians being kids, alternately in casual wear and concert attire, out of the auditorium among friends in iconic Portland-area locations.

Fundraising and recruitment

A pair of videos helps MYS win over its two key audiences: donors and young musicians.

Annual photo shoots

Each year, we conduct a pair of photo shoots. New students in new locations. Pioneer Square, Tilikum Crossing, Cathedral Park, Pittock Mansion... And each year MYS can update its print and digital communications by simply switching out photos and text in the templates Sheepscot designed for them.