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Rebranding a benevolent charity

One of the newest Corporate Members to join ACO, IE Brand is a leading brand and digital agency for benevolent charities. Their team was behind the recent rebrand for another ACO member, Clergy Support Trust (formerly Sons and Friends of the Clergy). IE explain the process the charity went through to ensure a successful rebrand, with buy-in from all stakeholders.

“Sons & Friends of the Clergy”, as they were known, have been doing great work for hundreds of years, offering grants and wellbeing support to members of the Anglican clergy and their families. But the charity had identified that their name, which resulted from the merger of two charities in 2012, was potentially confusing to target audiences. They asked IE Brand to test this hypothesis and explore alternatives.

Should you change your charity’s name?

In general, we’d advise caution. It takes a lot of time, very deep pockets, and you have to take your existing audience with you, before you can even think about telling the rest of the world. It’s only worth doing as a result of compelling research, and if your existing name is proving to be a liability.

IE’s experienced brand consultants carried out in-depth stakeholder research among the charity's audiences – primarily their beneficiaries, but also the Church, supporters, partner organisations, and the wider world and media. As well as face-to-face and telephone interviews, we also created a quantitative e-survey to validate our findings with over 1200 participants, from previous beneficiaries, through to people with no prior knowledge of the charity.

The research showed that a number of people had unhelpful or misleading perceptions of Sons & Friends, largely due to the name, and there was general support for a name change. Therefore, IE Brand recommended they rename to become Clergy Support Trust.

Ensuring stakeholder buy-in at the highest level

We worked closely with Jeremy Moodey, the charity’s Chief Executive, to ensure buy-in from the charity’s Court of Assistants (or board of trustees) at key stages of the project.

As IE’s Managing Director and Brand Consultant, Ollie Leggett, explains, “Internal buy-in is absolutely critical to the successful completion of any rebrand. Ask yourself: who could scupper this project? Try to weed out the hidden veto holders within your organisation, and invite them to participate closely in the process. If you don’t, then they may delight in popping up at the eleventh hour to drop a grenade in the path of progress.”

“Whatever you do, and whoever you speak to, always remember one golden rule: Don’t ask anybody’s opinion if you’ve no intention of listening to what they have to say.”

Recommendations for health and wellbeing

IE’s recommendations went beyond the name and brand identity. Our research showed that workload and mental health problems affect a significant minority within the clergy. We concluded that Clergy Support Trust could strike a better balance between financial help for beneficiaries and support for their wider wellbeing.

As part of the brand’s relaunch, Clergy Support Trust announced its multi-annual strategy, setting out how it hoped to do more in the area of clergy wellbeing. The new strategy envisages grants and other charitable support totalling over £12 million over the next four years, and sets a target to double the number of Anglican clergy families they help.

Make it easier for beneficiaries to ask for help

Many people are reluctant to ask for help. They may think it’s pointless, fear burdening their colleagues, not know what help is available, or be concerned about appearing vulnerable, incompetent, or dependent. Worse still, they may feel 'suffering' is simply a part of the job.

To make it easier, we recommended a new feature for Clergy Support Trust’s website. The new Eligibility Checker enables visitors to discreetly confirm whether they might be eligible for a grant, reassuring people that they can apply for help with confidence.

Brand messaging, visual identity and logo design

Once we’d obtained support for the new name and revised strategy, IE Brand went on to develop Clergy Support Trust’s new brand messaging, visual identity and logo.

The brand messaging is based around the question, ‘How can we help?’ It’s a simple reminder of why they exist, and appears across all of their comms. The modern logotype emphasises the three words at the centre of the charity’s work, while a library of photographic assets revolves around lifestyle imagery showing real families.

An outstretched hand

Put together, these elements create a confident and compelling brand, and reflect a new sense of organisational confidence and ambition for the charity.

Jeremy Moodey commented: “IE Brand helped with stakeholder engagement and in establishing the case for change through beneficiary research. We’re delighted with our new name and visual identity, which will enable us to reach more clergy families in need.”

For more tips on why, when and how to rebrand your charity, email Ollie on hello@iebrand.co.uk and request a copy of IE’s not-for-profit brand white paper.

IE Brand  | iebrand.co.uk  |  0121 693 8700