Case StudyBig Oak Ranch

The Challenge

In 2018, the founder of our long-term client Big Oak Ranch retired and the organization hired a new Executive Director. With a change in leadership often comes the chance to re-evaluate the organization, specifically with an eye toward new opportunities. 

For more than 40 years, Big Oak Ranch built their message on the devastation that abuse and neglect can do to children, and the Ranch’s role in helping these most vulnerable children reclaim a life of hope. It’s a powerful, emotional message, but one of the dangers of success is that the message was little changed over time and, as a consequence, they were overly reliant on the same pool of supporters. 

The new CEO wanted to more aggressively evolve their efforts to reach new potential donors. He had a fresh vision for the Ranch that included ideas to deepen people’s perception of the Ranch and its mission.

A unique approach to development



Conversion Point

Unaware to Contemplating
Contemplating to Preparation
Preparation to Action

The Solution

The CEO’s new, more aggressive vision led to a new, more aggressive form of storytelling.

Hope Changes Everything: The Elizabeth Story is a short film that tells of a young girl whose single mother is no longer capable of taking care of her daughter. 

The film depicts the downward spiral of a family, the emotional wreckage, the repeated patterns of neglect and the profound impact that they have on Elizabeth. In the end, out of desperation, the mother takes Elizabeth to the Ranch, hoping they can provide a better life. 

The film is emotionally wrenching, but it is difficult if not impossible to understand the profound nature of the Ranch’s mission if you don’t understand what their children have experienced. In truth, the children at the Ranch often suffer abuse and neglect far more profound than the story depicts. Few people, though, who watch Hope Changes Everything come away unaffected.

And few people who understand the Ranch at this emotional level remain unaffected.

Processes Used

Consciousness Raising, Emotional Arousal, Countering, Environmental Control


During the first few months of its release, Hope Changes Everything drove enormous giving to the Ranch; they recouped their investment three times over. 

The key to this film is that it does more than raise awareness of the Ranch. It connects people to their mission by putting a face to the suffering and pain that so many children endure; it makes their stories impossible to ignore.