Why and how should you rebrand your small charity?

If you decide to change a significant part of your charity’s brand, such as a logo, name or adjusting the message you communicate, then you’re re-branding.  It’s extremely important to be doing it for the right reasons and to execute it well.  Not only can it be expensive to execute a complete rebrand, but it can also be risky if stakeholders are not on board.

Why rebrand?

Sometimes a small charity will see a particular reason to rebrand, perhaps to seize an opportunity or prevent a future threat. You could be expanding your offering, have merged with another charity or have developed some negative connotations due to something outside of your control.

Skylarks was previously known as Me Too & Co.   We are a small, independent charity that provides activities, support, and information for children and young people with additional needs, including their whole families. Me Too & Co was very successful, was chosen to be our Mayor’s Charity of the Year and awarded The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS).

Unfortunately, the brand became confused with the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. We have also evolved since the charity was first set up in 2006 and it was felt that it was time for a change.

The rebranding process

Whether it’s a new message or a new logo, a rebrand needs to start with key questions about the charity.  Our charity is a unique service, completely parent led with all our staff and trustee’s having children with additional needs themselves. As an organisation we strive to have a holistic approach in the way we support our children and families, this again is unlike any organisation locally. We started our rebrand by looking into why we do what we do.

Creating a brief at this point is an invaluable tool.  We used it to reach out to professionals who may be willing to support us. A locally based company, Haymarket Media Group, facilitated workshops with Members, Volunteers, Service Providers, Staff and Trustees. Each user had a unique experience of the charity and would help form our new identity moving forward. 

During our process, we realised that as our charity is so diverse and delivers a vast array of services one name would not fit all. We looked at names which instead encompassed identified themes such as freedom, soar, nest, care and reach. These names were presented to a panel who each voted on the name it is today – Skylarks.

We needed to check with Companies House that the name was not already registered, while also checking with Charity Commission for any similar named organisations. You can slightly change your name it to make sure it is different from any other organisations.  For example, Skylarks is actually ‘Skylarks Charity’ with the trading name of Skylarks.

We created a new word mark, a logo associated with Skylarks using a crest/wing and kept some consistency with colour from the original Me Too & Co brand.

The practical things to do after a rebrand

Once you have a new name, logo or message, there are some practical things a charity has to do.  Of course, there is communicating with all your stakeholders or perhaps having a rebranding event.  But there’s also dealing the practical issues around potentially having changed your charity’s name. 

Our board of Trustees all had to sign a resolution stating that we will be changing our name from Me Too & Co to Skylarks.  Like us, you will need to apply to Companies House for a change of name, fill in a form and pay a fee. You’ll then get a Certificate of Name Change which can be used to update the Charity Commission via their website.  You must then notify HMRC of any changes to your name via the online portal and you’ll also need to inform your bank.

As a small charity, this process used a lot of our resources and over a year to complete. However, by having a new identity that can be used consistently all the way through, this should reinforce people’s understanding of our charity and the wonderful work we do.

For more information about Skylarks, or to get in touch about support with your own charity rebrand please visit our website; www.Skylarks.Charity or email us at info@skylarks.charity

ENDS

As Development Manager for Skylarks, a small independent charity based in London, Aaron Guiver leads on the research and development of the charities projects and programmes, supporting its strategic direction, along with raising awareness of the charitable activities it delivers.

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