Rebranding is a big deal for any organisation but huge for a charity with over 50 years’ heritage. Community Service Volunteers (CSV) was dear to the hearts of many, especially the generation of young people who volunteered with us in the 70s and 80s, as well as the hundreds of staff members  we’ve had from 1962 to the present day. So why did we want to change?

There were many reasons.  It was very hard to explain what the organisation does; you had to get into a long-winded description of volunteering programmes, volunteers and beneficiaries. Young people felt patronised by the name; they felt it carried a stigma of having to give back to the community after doing something wrong.  The name and logo just felt a bit old fashioned – it was time for a change.  We wanted a new image for the charity – something that would present us as modern, forward looking and energetic.

The rebrand came at just the right moment for our charity.  In the last two years, we have come through a massive transformation.  We had to become smaller and leaner to stay alive, we had to refocus our activities and we had to develop our culture of a modern, adaptive, agile organisation.  We had a senior leadership team in post and we had recruited new trustees.  Both the Board and the SLT were up for the challenge of updating our identity.

How did the process go?  Well, fast for one thing.  Our new Director of External Affairs and Income  Generation, Laura Doughty, led the project.  She engaged a terrific agency in Spencer Dubois to help us.  Their expertise, in the person of Max Dubois, was central to the success of a process which took only six months from start to finish.  With Laura’s guidance, Max and his team engaged with staff, volunteers, trustees and other stakeholders and eventually came up with a name and logo that were just right for us. You can find out more about this process in Laura’s excellent blog for Charity Comms.

The new name, Volunteering Matters, says what we do without need for further explanation.  It plays well for all our volunteers and beneficiaries within the communities we work with – older and retired people, young people, families and disabled people.  The logo gives a sense of direction and urgency and our strapline ‘Inspiring Communities, Changing Lives’ again sends a positive message about the social impact of our programmes and projects.  It comes at a time when volunteering is riding high in the national agenda – from the government’s three day volunteering pledge to the BBC’s Do Something Great Season and the identification of volunteering and social action as a key principle for the delivery of NHS England’s New Care Models progamme.

And how does it feel for us a year on?  We can hardly believe we are celebrating our first anniversary.  On the one hand, the time has flown and it feels as if it was only yesterday that we launched.  On the other hand – the name is so natural it feels like it’s been there forever.  We got used to the new name very quickly as did our stakeholders.  All in all a positive experience and a name and image which will last, I hope, another 50 years.