Charity begins at home.


As a result of helping to promote the successful Walking Festival held in Coldstream last year I ended up joining the board of the Coldstream Community Trust. This is a whole new area for me and a steep learning curve to be involved in a community committee. The pace that things happen is certainly different to what I am used to, however the attention to detail, committment, contribution and effort by all involved is no different.
We have many projects on the go and some lend themselves to utilising my area of expertise. I have greatly enjoying creating short term identities for events and a longer term identity for the Community Centre.  Of course, getting things approved by a committee is a challenge, even when you are doing the work for free!  However, that is what volunteering is about, and learning from others is always interesting, being exposed to different experiences and knowledge is stimulating, and ultimately rewarding.


Not standing still

Most businesses know that to stand still is to go backwards, and in marketing especially, reinvention is an on-going necessity. Marketing messages need to remain relevant to both old and new audiences. And those audiences are constantly changing ones.

Businesses need to learn to promote their brands through new channels without alienating their existing audiences.

Charities face the difficulty of managing such change whilst remaining relevant. Large national charities have marketing expertise and professional fundraisers to work with but smaller charities seldom have that luxury. Yet move forward and adapt they must.

Recognising that this skill is not available in house is one thing, investing in developing it is another. A charity committed to fundraising, must not rely on luck to secure funds or obtain large donations from rich people. They must see the activity as a key part of their business and must treat it as an integral part of the infrastructure.

One such charity is Muirfield Riding Therapy, a charity close to my heart as I started out there as a hands on helper many years ago. I have watched this admirable charity grow and develop and never stand still. The decision was taken to rebrand many years ago, using the word ‘Therapy’ in the title, despite some spirited opposition. The vision of the rebrand was to broaden their appeal and their ability to raise funds. I assisted with the re-brand and developed brand guidelines to ensure clear communication with everyone involved.

Recently Muirfield Riding Therapy has invested in a new campaign, including a campaign logo, the objective of which is to develop the social media marketing, in addition to broadening its appeal, especially to the younger audience. Although using new channels, the traditional routes have not been forgotten. Sub-campaigns have been planned and the charity has worked with specialists to develop and target these campaigns. The website has undergone a ‘refresh’ to reflect these changes.

Muirfield Riding Therapy is a charity that many businesses could learn a thing or two from: engaging, inclusive, good communicators and compassionate. And never standing still.


A Return to The Sick Kids

Many years ago I created the brand for the initial Help The Sick Kids charity in Edinburgh. It was a small child in red and white pyjamas writing on the wall – sound familiar?

I was a young, single designer with no children and probably for that reason, didn’t find my visit to the hospital at all distressing. The successful campaign was great to work on and was my first experience of working with a professional fund-raiser.

Later in my life, I returned to the Sick Kids hospital but this time as a parent, spending a stressful night there with my very young son. It was only then that I fully appreciated the wonderful work that the doctors, nurses and other staff do.

Like most parents who’ve been there and many that have not, the hospital is very close to my heart, so when my company was asked recently to provide design support for a fund-raiser at Archerfield Links for the Sick Kids Friend Foundation, we were delighted to get involved.


Our work involved the design of all of the collateral for this weekend’s Sick Kids Invitational Pro Am at Archerfield Links, which also features a charity auction, aiming to raise a substantial amount of money to fund the Drop In Centre for one year. The auction ‘lots’ are amazing and show just what great support the charity gets – now it’s up to everyone at the event to do their bit and place their bids.