By Sarah Beauchemin

The internet is a crowded, noisy place. There’s more than one billion active websites and nearly 35,000 new ones are launched every hour.

This can be intimidating – and even disheartening – for organizations like nonprofits and family foundations that have critical causes to advance. How can you make sure your message gets heard? What does your website really need to maximize donor and community engagement? And which web agency can you trust to have your best interests in mind?

[call_to_action color=”” button_text=”Click here” button_url=””]
Visceral is currently accepting projects for 2017. Contact them to learn how they will help advance your cause.

Enter Visceral, San Diego’s leading cause-conscious digital agency that operates on the principle of “creativity with purpose.” Co-founded by Matthew Billingsley and Jay Buys in 2006, Visceral has helped the world’s leading causes – among them, The Wildlife Conservation Network, The David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and The Schmidt Ocean Institute, established by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt – create unforgettable online experiences for over a decade.

Photo courtesy of Visceral
Photo courtesy of Visceral

Making A Positive Impact In San Diego

Visceral was originally founded in Washington, D.C. where Billingsley and Buys lived at the time. Both were part of the digital team at a large, international PR agency, working on projects they felt lacked social and cultural value.

Hence, the duo started Visceral with the intention of doing more fulfilling work. The company relocated to San Diego in 2011, and west coast life has proven to be a great fit for the agency — it’s grown from 2 to 7 employees in five years, and was named one of the San Diego Business Journal’s fastest growing private companies in 2015 and 2016.

And Visceral didn’t waste any time giving back to the community in which they’d prospered. For example, they implemented volunteer days, which have included helping out at the San Diego Food Bank, The Fleet Science Center, and on Habitat for Humanity projects in Barrio Logan.

Buys himself has also helped the community by sharing his insight about doing good work with local San Diego high school and college students. In 2015, as a result of Visceral’s compelling work on the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) website, MCSF invited Buys to Camp Pendleton to speak to the teen children of veterans about how to identify a purposeful, fulfilling career path. That same year, he also presented to University of San Diego’s business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, about successful digital marketing and entrepreneurship strategies.

Photo courtesy of Visceral
Photo courtesy of Visceral

Positive Impact Starts With Employees

But Visceral’s ability to make a positive impact on the San Diego community as a whole is rooted in the positive strides it makes at home, with its employees and clients.

Dana Jensen, Junior Project Manager at Visceral, describes her employment at Visceral as transformational. “Visceral’s culture sets it apart from any other company I’ve worked for,” she said. “The fact that there’s such an emphasis on personal growth — as opposed to just the growth of the company — is refreshing and inspiring.”

And as a Millennial, Jensen explains that the cause-driven project work at Visceral resonates with her strong values of sustainability, ethics, and social progress. “To me, the clients make Visceral what it is. It’s incredibly motivating to work on projects where we can clearly measure the difference we made in our client’s organization,” she said, something that can be done by looking at factors like increased donations and social media engagement, as well as higher search engine rankings.

Photo courtesy of Visceral
Photo courtesy of Visceral

Understanding The Unique Needs of Nonprofits

[call_to_action color=”” button_text=”Click here” button_url=””]
Questions about how to improve your organization’s digital presence? Visceral has the answers. Chat with them today.

Visceral’s clients are also impressed by the company’s commitment to doing good work. Ann Lazarus, interim executive director at Metta Fund — an organization committed to improving the health of San Franciscans — is thrilled about their upcoming new website launch, now just weeks away.

“Visceral has extensive experience creating beautiful, engaging websites for nonprofits in particular,” Lazarus said of Metta Fund’s decision to hire them. “We needed a dynamic site that allows others in the philanthropy field to clearly understand our goals and want to connect with us. We’re really trying to create a larger universe by working in concert with others to tackle tough challenges. Visceral understood, and began working in tandem with our goals right away.”

In addition to a website overhaul, Metta Fund asked Visceral for help with their brand identity. “They designed some absolutely wonderful symbols and logos that distilled the essence of our foundation,” Lazarus said. “They transformed what we had into something far more original and effective.”

Moreover, Visceral’s receptiveness to feedback and engaged team members were important factors in the project’s success. “It was just easy to work with them,” Lazarus continued. “We never felt like they were pushing back or that they didn’t understand our mission. It’s obvious they have a strong internal rapport, which comes out in the thoroughness and quality of their work.”

Photo courtesy of Visceral
Photo courtesy of Visceral

Writing The Book On Doing Good

To commemorate their 10 year anniversary in 2016, Visceral didn’t throw a big party or go on vacation. Instead, Billingsley and Buys literally wrote the book on doing good, publishing “Repurpose: Be Good At What You Do & Do Something Good”, a candid story about the ups and downs and lessons they’ve learned by running Visceral for 10 years. Specifically, the book explains how doing good work leads to finding purpose and lasting happiness — and how that’s attainable for everyone.

Another 10-year-birthday present was Visceral becoming one of the first digital agencies to join San Diego’s growing B Corp community – companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab that meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Transparency Builds Strong Relationships

While all of the above standards are integral parts of Visceral’s operations, Buys emphasizes the importance Visceral places on transparency – not just with clients, but with the community at large. For instance, Visceral is one of the only digital agencies nationwide to publicly share what websites actually cost and why.

“Visceral wants to serve as the digital resource for San Diego nonprofits and cause-driven organizations,” Buys said. “We want these organizations to feel comfortable reaching out to us to ask questions without worrying that that information is contingent on a sale. Visceral isn’t about that. It’s about being present and building strong relationships with other people that are doing good work.”

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.