How the fortunes of a community charity were turned around with new branding and a digital presence (Case study) » Charity Digital News

How the fortunes of a community charity were turned around with new branding and a digital presence (Case study)

Established in 1979 by the former Director of Social Services for Derbyshire, Glossop’s Volunteer Bureau was set up as a charity in order to co-ordinate much-needed services for local people that could be developed and run solely by volunteers.

Within five years, The Volunteer Bureau set up the first Community Transport Bus in Derbyshire, enabling vulnerable people to get around the town, attend medical appointments and make other vital journeys. As the service continued to grow, The Volunteer Centre moved to much larger premises in the town centre, where today a small dedicated team coordinates a range of essential services for isolated people across the community, offering practical and emotional support.

In 2016, the future of all its voluntary groups became more challenging, with cuts to public sector funding and greater competition for grants and contracts. With health and social care services changing – and in some cases reducing the scope of their services – The Volunteer Centre found itself entering the next phase of transforming and adapting its services in order to survive.

The decision was made to undergo a complete re-brand and name change to The Bureau in 2016, working with local integrated marketing agency FIG, who designed the new logo and website.

Following the launch of the new website, the charity is now able to fully extend its reach to both the partner organisations and health commissioners, GP groups and volunteers with whom it works alongside to deliver its aims.

Recently launched, the new digital presence has been praised for providing a much needed resource for the community to navigate all the different groups and volunteer services that exist across Glossopdale, and a resource for people who want to volunteer their time and find out about local opportunities to work together and improve the lives of people in the town.

As a charity passionate about supporting people and services within the Glossop community, the Volunteer Centre name was holding the organisation back as it failed to demonstrate the large number of frontline services they offered, which spans much more than just volunteering opportunities and includes a friendship, driving and shopping service, seated exercise classes, tea dances and social events to combat loneliness.


Crystal clear

In these austere times, with many public sector organisations facing funding cuts, it became even more vital that the charity made its aims and the scope of its services crystal clear, if it was to survive. Following a fantastic show of support by local residents, councillors, volunteers and staff to keep the centre open, the charity decided to simplify its name to ‘The Bureau’ to better represent all the different volunteer led services coordinated under its umbrella.

Having worked with the Volunteer Centre for a number of years, FIG was chosen to undertake this major rebranding and repositioning work on behalf of the charity, using its branding, creative design and website development expertise to create an engaging, positive brand, and a new website which is approachable, friendly and easily navigated to provide comprehensive support to the local community.

Julie Farley, Chief Officer at The Bureau comments: “2016 was a really tough year for the charity, with a proposal by Derbyshire County Council threatening to put the future of the centre into jeopardy. We’re absolutely thrilled to be in a much more positive position this year, the new website is already really boosting our efforts to both reach out to those who can benefit from our services, and also those vital partner organisations which help us to deliver them.”

Julie continued: “The website perfectly captures everything we wanted from functionality and easy navigation, to a quirky look that was above all welcoming and offered a positive visitor experience that encourages people to return. We’ve received great feedback about it from a range of health commissioners, partner organisations, GP groups and volunteers.”

FIG managing director Helen Duncan added: “A strong digital presence is crucial for any charity operating in these digitally-led times and to fully communicate key messages about the causes which it supports, whilst also being clear and transparent about its aims in order to secure vital funding.

Helen added: “We love working with charities and it has been especially fulfilling to work with The Bureau and to see the benefits of its services flourishing in the town in which we live and work.”

Related reading

Google Design Sprint