One thing I’ve always been proud of is my work with third-sector organisations. The purpose of my work is to make an impact for my clients, whether that’s selling products and services or brand awareness and promoting their businesses. When you design for charities you are usually using your design skills for the greater good. It adds an extra dimension when you know you’re contributing to a worthwhile cause.

Experience with charities

I was thinking the other day about my nearly 25 years in the creative industry. It seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. From starting as a junior designer, designing adverts for the magazine division of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, to rebranding blue chip clients like Ogilvie Group or marketing material for businesses such as ScotRail, I’ve been lucky to work on some great projects. Out of all of them, one sticks in my mind… the Wee Box campaign for SCIAF.

Describing what I do to my parents has always been a challenge. They knew I studied art and then worked as a graphic designer but what that entails, has never been something my parents have ever encountered.… until Lent 2010. Prior to opening Contribute I worked as a senior designer for a Glasgow design agency. We received a call from SCIAF and were asked to pitch for that year’s main fundraising campaign. As someone who knew the campaign since childhood, it was a pretty big deal. When we won it my boss passed the day-to-day running of the project over to me. From my initial layouts to the full fundraising campaign, I designed and oversaw it all. The Sunday the packs were distributed to parishes throughout Scotland my mum was to be found at the back of the church pointing at the posters that I had designed and clutching her SCIAF ‘Wee Box’ telling her friends and the priest that “her Gerard” had made them. Throughout the 40 days of lent all I could hear was my mum talking to people about what I had worked on. I had the pleasure of working on two SCIAF campaigns and my mum held onto those ‘Wee Boxes’ for years, they were literally falling to pieces and she was still using them.

Awareness raising for charities

My mum was a proud parent but underlying the praise a mother had for her son was the realisation of being involved in a major campaign. For many people in Scotland, if you were to say the SCIAF ‘Wee Box’, they would know instantly when the campaign would happen (lent) and what the fundraising would be used for. Some of them would just need to see the box to know what it was and who it was for. The level of brand awareness SCIAF have is due to their consistent message being heard by their target audience over a long period of time. It’s not just SCIAF, think about charities such as Marie Curie or Shelter. You just need to say their names and you know instantly what it is they do and what their fundraising efforts contribute to.

The importance of design for charities

Over 25 years I’ve had the pleasure of working on projects for organisations such as Chest Heart Stroke Scotland, MS Society Scotland, Marie Curie, and Alzheimer’s Scotland to name but a few. In the past few years, I’ve found myself working with more and more supported living organisations. At a time when social care in Britain is facing its most challenging period, it’s more important than ever that organisations take control of their communications and outward-facing profile. Organisation’s are not only facing a recruitment crisis, but they now operate in an ever-changing sector where they also need to highlight and promote the work they do and highlight the positive impact they make. Being able to capture their work and promote it in a way that people will engage with takes time and consideration and most importantly, experience in delivering their message.

Over the coming months, I plan to make some changes to Contribute so I can focus more on the wide variety of third-sector and charity organisations that I already work with. It’s always been important to me that my work makes a positive impact and it’s great to work with organisations whose values are closely aligned with mine. Plus, I need to produce something else that my mum can tell her friends about!

Does your charity or third-sector organisation need our help?

If you think comms has always been an issue for your organisation, if you want a new fresh look, or if you want to talk to your target audiences in a new way, get in touch. We design for charities both large and small. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.