English speaking charity centenary website to drive digital change

New online hub brings the English-Speaking Union’s past and future into single focus.

James Hayes | 14th May 18
Two views of new ESU centenary website homepages displayed on a laptop and a smartphone. The website Chloe.Green@tech-trust.org s purpose is to link the charity’s history with its future focus.

The English-Speaking Union (ESU) has launched a website to celebrate the charity’s forthcoming 100th anniversary, and enable better digital engagement of audiences with the organisation’s history.

The ESU is an educational charity and membership organisation which advocates the power of the spoken word. In July 2018 the organisation will have spent 100 years promoting better communication between people of all cultures and countries.

The aim of the project was to link the ESU’s history with its future focus: primarily to equip young people with the oracy skills and the confidence to engage with the world, discuss their ideas, and share them with others.

The new website was developed with digital agency Manifesto. After an in-depth ‘discovery workshop’, the agency was able to identify what the site needed to deliver, along with the key audiences it was required to reach. The ESU also provided Manifesto with a range of personal stories and image archive to help illustrate the impact it has had since 1918.

The website will also serve as a ‘campaign hub’ that informs, updates and inspires interaction with the ESU. The hub establishes a new design direction for the website, featuring an animated, colour-defined content banner, full-width imagery, and strong typography. WordPress is the content management system, with a customised page-builder to facilitate the flexible use of images, text and video for ‘immersive storytelling’.

“We are delighted with the impact that the website is having,” said Sarah Matthews, Digital Marketing Manager at the ESU. “It is enabling us to extend our reach further, and to share both our relevance today and the importance of developing oracy skills in young people to improve social mobility. For the first time, we are able to share our alumni stories on a platform which reflects the direction the ESU is moving in.”

As well as achieving its primary objectives, the project has been a catalyst for driving change across the whole organisation, said Jim Bowes, CEO at Manifesto: “As soon as the ESU shared its history and supporting archives with us, we were excited to get stuck in and tell its story.”