Photonics & WINTERSUX Help Create a World Without Type 1 Diabetes

Lily of Team Lily standing at registration booth at Wintersux event in 2020

Every once in a while, we need some fun, creative indulgences to help set ourselves free from our clients’ day to day causes and take time to promote our own. This past year, our creative indulgence was the rebranding and promotion of an event called WINTERSUX. The event is held to raise awareness and funds to support the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and its annual OneWalk fundraiser. This year, the JDRF OneWalk’s goal is to raise $1,058,500 to help find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle—and it’s serious and stressful to manage. There is nothing you can do to prevent T1D and there is currently no cure. T1D has affected the life of our Development Director, Tom Hutchinson, and the JDRF cause is near and dear to his heart. His father had T1D, and a couple of years ago, his granddaughter, Lily, was diagnosed with it as well. This year’s event honored Lily and her Team Lily fundraiser for the 2020 OneWalk.

While JDRF’s focus is on curing Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), they also pursue new treatments to keep people with T1D healthy until the cure is found. They push for increased government funding for research and work with academia, clinicians, insurers, and regulators to get new therapies and devices to market quickly and safely. Therefore, raising funds is crucial to this effort.

The Event:

Now in its 4th year, WINTERSUX is a summer-themed event held in the dead of winter. Attendees= come dressed in their summer attire, listen to summer tunes, and party for a cause. Business sponsorships, donated raffle items, split the pot, t-shirt sales, and cash donations are the financial drivers for the event. In addition to the sponsorships, many services were donated to the cause, including a DJ and a venue, while the venue also made a cash donation.

Built upon the fun newly rebranded graphics, website, and social media marketing that Photonics created and deployed, this years’ event filled the room of 300 to capacity with old and new attendees, making this the most successful WINTERSUX event to date.

How We Filled the Room:


We redesigned the WINTERSUX logo to align with the energy behind the brand and event. This new branding provided a platform to build more awareness about the summer-themed event. We also developed a Team Lily logo utilizing JDRF’s messaging, “Help Create a World Without Type 1 Diabetes.” Alongside the message, a posterized image of Lily depicts freedom of the disease once a cure is found. The Team Lily logo was used throughout social media and made an appearance on the back of the WINTERSUX shirts.


We redesigned the WINTERSUX website to align with the new brand and provide history and event information. The website needed to include access to the JDRF Team Lily donation page and the online t-shirt shop. We also used the website to provide recognition to event sponsors and key donors.


We created a social media strategy starting 3 months before the event, utilizing Facebook and Instagram. Our goal was to build a following for WINTERSUX using fun messaging to build anticipation for the event. To do this, we scheduled bi-weekly posts on both platforms to build event awareness. We wanted to build a summer mindset throughout the winter when the weather was less than fun. In addition, we created a Facebook event for further awareness, tracking both our reach and RSVPs.

Surviving COVID-19: Tips for Nonprofits & Small Businesses

man writing notes on paper with laptop

Put your Continuity and Recovery Plan to Use

During times like this, it’s important to refer to your continuity and recovery plan. It’s important for all organizations to have a well-documented disaster recovery plan to help employees deal with emergency situations. In this case, it happens to be a worldwide pandemic. Don’t have a business continuity plan in place? Here is a quick-start activation process from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center to help create a plan of action for your organization.

Seek Financial Assistance, if Necessary

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber recently released information regarding Economic Injury and Disaster Loan (EIDL) options during this time. Both Ohio and Kentucky governors submitted an application to allow nonprofits and small businesses to apply for these funds to assist with economic hardships related to COVID-19. These EIDL funds are 30-year, low-interest loans of up to $2 million. Connect with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber through their Business Response Helpline at 513.579.3111 or your local chamber for additional information.

Starting April 3rd, 2020, the US government will begin accepting applications for another financial assistance program called the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan. This a program signed into law to assist with payroll costs in an effort to maintain employees and compensation levels. Those qualified include nonprofits, small businesses, independent contractors, and more. Applications are now available. For more information on the PPP loan, click here.

Rethink your Fundraising Plans

While some are suggesting that this isn’t the time to be asking for money, it is still time for stewardship. Connecting with donors is going to be tricky during this unprecedented time. Exploring new marketing and communications avenues, such as social media campaigns or webinars, could help you to stay in front of your audience. If you need help implementing a stewardship plan, try connecting with a marketing agency that offers a variety of digital services. There are many local companies, like Photonics Inc., that work with nonprofit organizations on marketing strategies and deliverables to problem-solve issues just like this. We can help you communicate through social media, email, and other digital outlets. We have spent over 30 years assisting local nonprofits, like OneSource Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, to develop brand and marketing materials in a timely and attractive manner.

Partner on Local Initiatives

Supporting and taking care of our community through this time is of utmost importance. Partnering with tri-state organizations and local companies can help our community while also helping you to reach new audiences and build brand awareness. Connect with your fellow nonprofits or check out’s ideas for helping on a local level during the crisis for additional ideas.