Strategic Design for Nonprofits

3rd Edge is a strategic design firm based in New York City. We're designers and strategists who specialize in helping nonprofits and social enterprises share their vision and move people to action. We create brand experiences online, in print and in environments. Our award-winning creativity and insight enables our clients to communicate for impact.

 
$25,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2001
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • 3rd Edge
    175 Varick St
    New York, NY 10014
    United States

Portfolio

Key clients: 

College Savings Bank, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest, Mount Sinai, New Brunswick Tomorrow, Orbis International, PRAB, Urban Arts Partnership, World Vision   

Reviews

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Web Dev, App Dev, & Marketing for Small Nonprofit

"They cater to the needs of our nonprofit, and they know our values and goals."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2009 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

3rd Edge conducted web and app development to support local wellness initiatives. They now design print ads and digital resources, provide website enhancements, and generate abbreviated annual reports.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Monica Reyes
Manager of Communications, New Brunswick Tomorrow
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The engaging websites and iOS and Android apps attracted rave reviews from target audiences, thanks to 3rd Edge’s creative and technical skills. The team’s streamlined project management, tailored approach, and flexibility within limited budgets strengthen this long-term partnership.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the manager of communications at New Brunswick Tomorrow (NBT), which is a nonprofit focusing on the social revitalization of the city of New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with 3rd Edge?

3rd Edge was on board with NBT before I got here 5 years ago. We are small nonprofit, so anytime we need any communications work done, they’re the firm we go to. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We launched a collaborative campaign called Live Well-Vivir Bien New Brunswick, which has to do with everything aspect of healthy living in the city. When it was time to put out the campaign, we decided to create a website and a mobile app for it. 3rd Edge developed both from scratch. We had long conversations and meetings about the project.

The app is for iOS and Android. It offers users access to health and wellness resources in the city of New Brunswick. We wanted it to have certain functionalities such as partners being able to log into the website and enter their own information. We had a lot of requests, and I know it was a challenge for 3rd Edge, but they delivered what we needed.

In addition to developing the website for Live Well, 3rd Edge also developed the website for NBT as well. We have a program called New Brunswick Ciclovia, which is an open street project in the city. We shut down 3 miles of the city to cars and open it up for people 3 times a year.

We have no one in-house to develop any type of advertising or communications that go out to our audience. Anytime we need fliers for the school system or banners for the downtown light poles, 3rd Edge designs those graphics. We can’t afford an annual report every year, but we do put together a newsletter, MailChimp templates, and things like that with their help as well. I have seen some of their work for annual reports for other companies, but we are not able to afford it every year. We have our own little version, and they are able to work with us at our budget.

How many resources have been assigned to your project?

We worked directly with Rob [Director of Brand Strategy, 3rd Edge] and Frankie [Principal and Creative Director, 3rd Edge]. I don’t know how many other people are working on the project. If we ran into an issue with the app or the website, I contact Rob and Frankie directly. I’ve never spoken to anybody else.

Do you know what technologies were used for the website?

For the New Brunswick Tomorrow website, which they also created a couple years ago, they used WordPress. I don’t know what technologies they used for the most recent website.

How did you come to work with 3rd Edge?

I believe our former president was looking for somebody to do the rebranding of NBT. He was deciding between 3rd Edge and another communications firm. He ended up building a good rapport with 3rd Edge. They knew the nonprofit world, what they were doing, and what service they were delivering. They presented to our board, and since then we’ve had a long-standing relationship with them.

How much have you invested with 3rd Edge?

The total budget for the website was $40,000. I am not sure about the cost of the app.

What is the status of this engagement?

The relationship started about 8 years ago. We are actually in the process of trying to redo our website to make it mobile-friendly. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

They delivered a product that we constantly get raves about.

How did 3rd Edge perform from a project management standpoint?

They are outstanding. Any time that we have a budget deficit or ask for changes, they find a way to tweak the work to fit our needs and constraints. When it comes to timelines and deliverables, they’re on point. They are very busy with other clients, but we are constantly requesting items and getting them on time.

What did you find most impressive about 3rd Edge?

Since we’re a nonprofit, we constantly have to compare quotes and estimates with other companies. Because we always have tight budgets, I have gone elsewhere to find out what kind of work could be done for the particular budgets that we allow for each project. Hands down, 3rd Edge always delivers a good product. They impress me because I feel like everybody else is just trying to get the project done, whereas 3rd Edge knows us personally. They cater to the needs of our nonprofit, and they know our values and goals. They take the time get to know the client and the client’s needs, and they bring valuable resources and ideas to the table.

They are constantly sharing updates about the nonprofit world and new trends. They keep us updated on new platforms we can use. They’re super helpful—not only by providing information but also by proactively completing tasks for us that we didn’t even request. At the end of the day, that is what keeps us with 3rd Edge. Even though we’re getting quotes from other companies, they stand out because they know us and help us with our vision.

Are there any areas 3rd Edge could improve?

No, I don’t think I’ve had any issues with them. They’re professional and prompt with any requests that we have. We hold monthly meetings, and they send us monthly analytics for every project that they are working on for us. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We’re often the ones to blame for any delays.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It depends on what you value. We get what we pay for.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’d absolutely recommend them.

Web Dev & Marketing for Small Bank

"We are very happy with the designs that they produce for us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Mar. - Sept. 2013
Project summary: 

3rd Edge conducted a full-scale redesign of 2 financial services websites, integrating a new CMS and online banking features with internal web apps. They now provide digital and print marketing materials. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Princeton, New Jersey
Regina Carmon
Marketing Director, College Savings Bank
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The engaging sites have attracted widespread positive feedback from both prospective and existing clients and reduced customer service spending, thanks to 3rd Edge’s cohesive creations. The team’s organization, aggressive delivery timeline, and industry awareness continue to drive success. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work with College Savings Bank, which is a division of NexBank that was acquired in December 2016. NexBank is based in Dallas, Texas. Prior to that, we were based in Princeton, New Jersey. At the time, I was a marketing director at College Savings Bank. After the acquisition, I became responsible for the marketing and sales of the 529 programs managed by College Savings Bank, a division of NexBank. We provide marketing, operational, and customer service support to the programs operated out of Arizona and Indiana, both of which are available nationwide. In addition, we offer our 529 College Savings products nationwide. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with 3rd Edge?

Our first engagement with 3rd Edge was before the acquisition. I solicited 3rd Edge’s expertise in helping us develop and refresh our website.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They gave us the website of our choice, which worked well with our IT department at the time. Our IT had some requirements of what they wanted out of the website as far as how it should be designed in the backend, which content management system [CMS] they wanted to use, and how it should integrate with our online banking and other applications. 3rd Edge was able to adapt to that and give us exactly what our team wanted with a nice, fresh look. We needed to have this website ready within a very brief amount of time, and they made that happen. We were able to launch a beautiful website, especially in comparison to what we had previously, that has a much more professional and forward-looking feel. Now, our website is about 3 1/2 years old, and it still gets a lot of positive feedback from first-time visitors. It’s still current. I’ve worked with Rob [Director of Brand Strategy, 3rd Edge], Frankie [Principal and Creative Director, 3rd Edge], and their team over the years to freshen the site without doing a complete redesign. They added components like a blog area and provided some new graphics and designs that I could use as the banners and things of that nature on the website.

Today, as a division of NexBank, we are doing some other cool things with 3rd Edge. We are working with them to design new print ads. For each of our programs, we have print and banner advertisements, and we collect leads from our website via landing pages. We are working with 3rd Edge to give us a clean look, especially with these program components and their different aesthetics. The Arizona program has a desert look, while the Indiana program has more of a city landscape. Finding designs that balance between those 2 aesthetics can be challenging, but they are really good finding well-crafted graphics and elements that catch peoples’ eyes. In a magazine, their designs really draw attention. We are very happy with the designs that they produce for us.

Currently, we are working with them to develop landing pages for our website as we push out banner ads. They’re working on attractive creatives for us in the digital realm. A lot of our advertising has gone digital. I would say about 80% of our budget goes towards digital advertisements.

Do you know the technologies they used?

Typically, websites are built in a way that simplifies the handoff to the company. Someone on the team, even if they know very little HTML, is still able to do edits and updates to the website using something standard like WordPress. The developers on our team created an online banking platform and administrative portal using DotNetNuk [DNN] as the CMS. Unfortunately, that’s not what I wanted. I was looking for something that was industry-standard. However, 3rd Edge was able to build our website with DNN in a way that satisfied our IT director and also worked cohesively with other applications that were developed separately.

How many resources have been assigned to your project?

I worked directly with Frankie and Rob, and a team of developers worked alongside them. It was easier for me to describe what we needed to Frankie and Rob, and they were able to articulate our goals to their team and produce exactly what we wanted. It was a great working experience. To develop the website in record time, we really had an aggressive push to launch.

I had worked on website development of this sort for a 529 program at another company, but that website did not have all the capabilities that our College Savings Bank website has today. Actually, 3rd Edge built 2 websites using DNN at the same time—CollegeSavings.com and CollegeChoiceCD.com.

How did you come to work with 3rd Edge?

I went to 3 different vendors and got proposals from each of them. Our board of directors at that time reviewed all of the proposals and selected 3rd Edge. I have known Frankie and Rob for many years prior to joining College Savings Bank. Just having them in a lineup of other vendors and seeing how they compared to the competition reconfirmed what I’ve always said about their creativity and level of expertise in design and technology. I knew that with 3rd Edge as our partner, the site would look amazing in the end. That’s what happened.

How much have you invested with 3rd Edge?

We spent under $50,000 for both websites.

What is the status of this engagement?

We did the vetting in March of 2013, and the website was up by September of 2013. Everything was done from scratch in short amount of time. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or impact of the engagement?

I can’t recall statistics, although I was heavily involved in the process. Although I can’t speak to actual numbers, I can say that the functionality of this new website is supporting a lot of prospective and existing customers.

The site definitely got a lot more hits than it had previously. We were receiving many more phone calls. We do have a client services department and, at that time, 5 people managed the phones. Today, our client services department has 3 people. We were able to reduce the number of folks we had on the phones because we could direct callers to the website, which makes it much easier to find information. It’s also a lot easier to keep financial information like rates fresh and updated. The current website is connected to an online banking platform, which is very visible on the home page.

From the sales side of things, visitors were able to get an information kit, program disclosures, and terms and conditions much faster. Previously, we had a fulfillment center based in Indianapolis, Indiana that mailed out all these kits on a daily basis. We had to keep an inventory, making sure all of the elements were ready to pull to produce a kit. After launching the new site, we’re now utilizing the fulfillment center for holding our promotional materials and things of that nature. If visitors still wanted something in print, we certainly send it out. However, many folks prefer to download the information or view it on the website.

How did 3rd Edge perform from a project management standpoint?

3rd Edge helped keep me organized. We had a kick-off meeting where Frankie and Rob came to our bank in Princeton to meet the president, the head of sales at the time, our IT department, and the head of operations. They wanted to hear what everyone wanted from this website. I understood what it would take as far as building the frames, and I provided them with all of the content that we wanted.

We used Basecamp to organize the website redesign and our current projects as a division of NexBank. This lets us communicate on a daily basis after our initial meeting. We had a few phone calls, but most of our interactions happened through Basecamp where all the information was kept organized. We had a shared calendar and all of the steps of the creation—wireframes, layout PDFs, our edits, and buildouts of certain pages that we could actually click on and test. Basecamp kept the project moving smoothly. We would have occasional meetings with the folks at 3rd Edge for milestones.

The projects actually went very smoothly. In fact, my position was changed to head of marketing and sales in order to get this division to trust the vendor since they’d never met 3rd Edge. Now, we are working with 3rd Edge on a retainer basis out of NexBank. Our working relationship has evolved to a place where we like the service, the creatives, and quickness and efficiency of how they work. Few revisions are needed. Often, when they give me a design, even if it’s a print ad, most firms will give at least 2 to choose between. With 3rd Edge, I would say the majority of the time we get a single design that’s exactly what we envisioned. It’s a very effective partnership.  

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer