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Case study: Helping Hands

Pro-bono support for a local homeless charity

  • Volunteered our time, skills and expertise to Leamington Spa charity Helping Hands
  • Produced a digital report, reviewing their current site and suggesting improvements
  • Created a tone of voice guide, brand, homepage and blog for the charity’s website team.
THE STORY

Helping Hands is a Leamington Spa-based, volunteer-run charity set up in 2013. These volunteers pride themselves on supporting the charity’s aim of ‘local people, helping local people in need’. They do this through their soup kitchen and House2Home projects, which provide hot food and other necessary items to homeless people with nowhere else to turn. The team also offers advice, skills training and job opportunities to those struggling to get back on their feet. Over the years, the charity has served up more than 1,600 meals to homeless people and helped more than 150 local families.

After fundraising for Helping Hands, the 44 team wanted to do its bit to help with the charity’s comms. An initial meeting revealed there were a number of obstacles to overcome with the charity’s website, which is a key touchpoint for all those needing to get help, and for those wanting to support or donate.

THE PART WE PLAYED

In 2017, 44 created a Community programme to provide pro-bono services to local charities.

“The programme enables us to help worthwhile causes through our communication skills. It’s a great opportunity for our team to gain new experiences and develop its knowledge too,” explained Corin Ashby, 44 Communications partner and architect of the scheme.

The 44 team were able to support Helping Hands with:

Digital strategy: 44 supported the project with a 20-page digital strategy report, which suggested how the website could be moved forward. Short-term improvements were set out and implemented by 44 – focusing on content, design, function and usability – and longer-term ideas were given to the charity team for future use.

A new tone of voice: The first step was to create a tone-of-voice guide that could give all volunteers one point of reference and help make the charity’s comms consistent. Along the way, 44 writers interviewed local people who had benefited first-hand from the charity – people like Lux, who went from a life where he could see no way out, to finding friends, a place to live and a full-time job.

A new homepage: A clearly defined homepage design separates those in need from those who’d like to support. A search bar now gives users the opportunity to find what they need quickly, while clear navigation connects the charity’s website with its other social channels. The most important and emotive information now sits at the top of the page, and brand-new icons clearly signpost other website sections.

THE DIFFERENCE

“The content support from 44 has really helped us to clarify our tone of voice and get the essence of who we are on the page,” said Juliana Pollitt, who volunteers at the charity and manages the web team. “The new homepage helps people to find the information they need, or to get in touch with the right people much more easily – all while looking good with clear colour schemes and icons. We’ve had some really great feedback already and it’s got us thinking about how we get the right info to the right places”.

Emily New, 44’s Senior Project Manager, who oversaw the work from start to finish, said: “It’s been great to help such a fantastic charity. The team does some brilliant work to support those who are facing tough times, and it’s been so rewarding to meet everyone and hear their stories along the way.”

Lianne Kirkman, CEO at Helping Hands, said: “It all looks fantastic. I’m so grateful to everyone at 44 who gave their time and effort. The content support has been invaluable and the site looks a million times better than it did before!”

HAVE YOU GOT A CHALLENGE FOR US?

Caring is sharing – and we’re on the lookout to share our content, design, digital, or campaign-planning skills with a charity or community group as part of our next 44 Communities project. If you know any deserving groups or would like to find out more – get in touch!

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