Hospitality House of Charlotte Reflects on Its EmpoWWer Experience

  • Categories:

    Community, Digital Platforms

  • Date:

    November 7, 2023

Hospitality House of Charlotte Reflects on Its EmpoWWer Experience

Community Digital Platforms

In 2018, Wray Ward created a service-grant program, called EmpoWWer, to formalize a long-standing culture of giving back to the community. Through this program, 501(c)(3) community initiatives in the greater Charlotte area can apply to be one of three recipients of time and resources that help solve a complex marketing challenge.

Now, five years later, we’ve seen the dream of EmpoWWer realized through our work with 15 different Charlotte-area organizations. From time to time, we touch base with past partners to learn how EmpoWWer continues to influence their organization — sometimes years down the line.

Take Hospitality House of Charlotte, for example. In 2021, the nonprofit group dedicated to housing patients and families traveling to Charlotte for medical care received an EmpoWWer service grant to help tell its critical story. The project centered on building an engaging and informative new website for the organization’s primary audiences.

We reconnected with Angie Bush, executive director at Hospitality House, to hear how EmpoWWer continues to help them serve people in need within the Charlotte area and beyond.

Why is Hospitality House of Charlotte so important to the community?

Hospitality House of Charlotte ensures that ZIP codes don’t control health outcomes. Our 20-bedroom facility creates a community for patients traveling from out of town to receive vital medical care. Many of those we serve are from rural North Carolina and South Carolina counties where hospitals have closed and specialty treatments are unavailable, forcing them to travel away from home for care.

By providing lodging in the heart of Charlotte’s medical community at minimal rates, we make it possible for more patients to access treatment for cancer, organ transplantation and cardiac issues. Many guests indicate that had it not been for Hospitality House, they would have been unable to receive life-affirming care.

“My husband and I are so grateful for Hospitality House. We would not have had the option to pursue his cancer treatment if we had not been able to stay close to the hospital, as was required for his particular care. We would like to say thank you to the staff for being so helpful and welcoming, to the donors for being so generous, and to the community groups and volunteers for their assistance with meals. You made our 'home away from home’ experience as positive as it could possibly be!”

– Hospitality House of Charlotte guest, May 2023

How did the EmpoWWer experience benefit Hospitality House?

The EmpoWWer grant allowed us to bring to fruition something we could not have otherwise realized. Wray Ward helped redo our website, but they also provided the insight necessary to leave us with more than just an attractive homepage that creates a great first impression. They optimized our SEO, ensured the website is easy to navigate, and designed it with clear calls to action and a great user experience on all devices.

We are now able to communicate more effectively with our donors and volunteers.

How does your EmpoWWer grant continue to serve the organization?

We continue to utilize the new fonts that the Wray Ward team adopted for the website in all of our marketing materials to ensure consistency moving forward.

Also, thanks to Wray Ward’s help with SEO, grantors have been able to locate our organization more easily online. We were the recipient of $45,000 in funding from a grantor who located us online following our website project completion.

Additionally, our young professionals group membership has increased, with a number of new members indicating that they found our Hospitality House Young Professionals group through a Google search.

As a nonprofit organization used to doing almost everything in-house, what was it like to work with an agency?

Working with an agency was new for us. The Wray Ward team provided expertise that we do not have access to in-house. That knowledge yielded targeted, productive meetings with experts who were able to draw on years of experience to produce a top-notch result.

Not only was the Wray Ward team energetic and knowledgeable, but they also guided us through best practices that inform the way we continue to look at our collateral materials.

What did you enjoy most about your collaboration with Wray Ward?

There were so many things I enjoyed about this collaboration! First of all, I was amazed by the professionalism of the Wray Ward team. Although we were recipients of pro bono work, we never felt like it. The team came to meetings prepared and led us through the process seamlessly. They also made it fun: Meetings were productive and had a levity that allowed us to get to know one another and enjoy the process.

Most importantly, I was blown away by the team’s compassion. The Wray Ward team took a true interest in our work, with many of them volunteering at Hospitality House to make meals for our guests.

What’s next for Hospitality House?

Expanding our capacity to meet the needs of a growing population traveling to Charlotte for care. We have a nightly average of 10 hospital referrals that we are unable to lodge due to limited capacity. As our hospital systems continue to expand and offer state-of-the-art medical treatments and technologies, it is important that we ensure health care is accessible for all.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Doing great work is not enough. We must be visible and targeted to various audiences to be effective. Wray Ward understands that and is committed to using their expertise to make a difference in our community. I am incredibly grateful for that.

What’s next for EmpoWWer?

EmpoWWer opens for applications each fall. Read more about the Wray Ward EmpoWWer program, including other past grant recipients and how to apply.

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