Digital Wonderlab just get the world of charity, and how we work. Money is difficult to raise, it is very time consuming and it needs to be invested wisely as many people are involved. I always felt that the team had our back and provided a safe pair of hands throughout the process. They brought in the necessary partners we needed to complete the first stage of our digital journey
Our objective was clear: we needed to find a way to encapsulate 23 years of history, borne out of tragedy, and transform this into a charity suited to the needs of the 21st century. We have achieved exactly that working with the team at digital wonderlab.
The brand story
A leading light in positive mental health support for young people
Mental health and wellbeing charity Charlie Waller Trust provides support and practical guidance to young people going through challenging times, and educates those with responsibility for them – parents, teachers, employers, GPs and Practice Nurses. Its vision is for a world where people understand and talk openly about mental health.
For over 20 years, the charity - previously known as CWMT (Charlie Waller Memorial Trust) - has been at the forefront of conversations around depression, anxiety and mental health difficulties, providing guidance and advice to schools, colleges and workplaces.
The Charlie Waller Trust works closely with a number of organisations, including The Association of Colleges (AoC), in the provision of its valuable mental health services. Today it is one of the UK’s most respected mental health charities reaching more young people at scale than ever before
As the charity has continued its rapid growth trajectory in the past 5 years, from a smaller to a medium sized organisation, this has meant challenges with the systems and ways of working which needed to be addressed and through digitisation for the benefit of the beneficiaries.
A sizeable digital transformation was needed - one that would maximise the use of technology to support essential activities, enhance the delivery of training services and expand the charity’s reach, connection and personal relationships with its audiences.
Working in partnership with Rednine, we embarked on an ambitious digital transformation project for the long-established charity; a sizeable task that needed to be handled sensitively throughout, looking to the future while at all times remaining respectful to Charlie’s story. Our goal from day one was to modernise the charity by harnessing the right digital technologies to positively impact new and existing audiences.
The challenge for the team was to take the charity’s big ideas and distil these down into a clear digital strategy to future-proof the organisation. The need for a new CRM and robust internal applications was quickly identified, while collaborative working sessions with external stakeholders, trainers and support staff underscored the importance of creating a more flexible, secure and integrated approach to working.
It emerged that the digital capabilities of the charity’s teams also needed addressing, to bring its UK-wide network of trainers and support staff closer together. This became much more apparent and urgent when unexpected Covid-19 ‘lockdown’ restrictions suddenly made the charity’s mental health support work more valuable and sought after than ever before.
Additionally, working closely with the AoC demonstrated an opportunity to move from the paper based mental health assessment process in place, to form a partnership that enabled Charlie Waller to take this assessment online in order to broaden its scope, better understand needs and improve the mental health support it provides to colleges.
The Approach and solution
A purpose-led transformation that blends the personal with the digital
The speed of development and change within the charitable sector is astonishing, so we knew that our solution must directly support the strategic needs of the charity’s HR, finance and marketing teams - both now and in the future.
By taking the time to get to know the charity and its history intimately, it was evident that its communications approach and digital presence needed to move towards an audience-centred benefit-led proposition, and prioritising the user experience above all else was paramount.
Through mapping processes, engineering effective and efficient information flow, and making sure that the right systems and technology were captured and ready to put in place, the Charlie Waller Trust started the process focusing upon its new brand identity and web presence during the summer of 2020, supported by the newly created Umbraco CMS which gave the charity marked improvements to managing their new website. Alongside this, online donations were integrated through Braintree and GoCaradless which facilitated the on-going fundraising abilities they needed to offer their supporters, improving the way in which they could interact with the cause they care so much about.
In the face of the ongoing pandemic and a global mental health crisis, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate to fully digitise and launch their new image which help position them and their services and resources for the modern world. The charity’s purpose - to engage, inform and educate young people and those who care for them – has become more accessible and visible than ever before.
Introducing C-MET: College mental health self-evaluation tool
In collaboration with Charlie Waller, Digital Wonderlab also helped to develop C-MET: a simple, effective way to measure and improve mental health and wellbeing in colleges via an interactive online platform.
The comprehensive online platform covers 10 domains for a whole college approach to mental health and wellbeing, from leadership and management to staff development and support to the opportunities that exist to develop and promote social and emotional skills through the wider curriculum. Interested parties receive a validation code to access the platform via Charlie Waller’s website to be able to benefit from full access to the self-evaluation tool.
The easy-to-use tool is accessed by users via a highly visual dashboard, broken down into the 10 key sections, providing the chance to see progress at-a-glance and assess which areas the college is improving well in, and which areas have room for improvement. Previous scores are logged and shown via the dashboard, allowing colleges to chart their year-on-year improvements in specific mental health areas.
The platform, which is evidence-based and supports Charlie Waller’s whole college approach to mental health, is dependent on honest and reflective assessments of the current situation, asking users to describe their performance in core areas and provide evidence to support each statement. Each question is assessed via a RAG (red, amber, green) scoring system.
At the end of each section, users are signposted towards a host of recommended resources to help improve mental health understanding, as well as offered the opportunity to contact Charlie Waller to request free, evidence-based training or access further e-learning materials.
Completed assessments result in an action plan, which can be downloaded as a PDF for ease of presentation and internal sharing with college Boards, helping to further build awareness of the importance of mental health and wellbeing within colleges at a strategic level. Any college that scores over 70% in its assessment is given the opportunity, directly via the platform, to be showcased as a case study and also apply for the AoC’s Beacon awards, celebrating the best and most innovative practice among UK further education (FE) colleges.
Enhanced visibility, awareness and engagement for essential mental health resources
Charlie Waller Trust successfully launched its new brand identity and web presence during the summer of 2020. In the face of the ongoing pandemic and a global mental health crisis, the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate.
The charity has truly developed and embraced a strong culture of digital collaboration during this transformative process. A wide range of operational and efficiency benefits have been felt by the organisation, through access to cloud-based security for all, productivity apps to support internal and external users and a CRM that aids the charity’s fundraising and training capabilities.
The new website, combined with the refreshed brand identity, strongly positions the Charlie Waller Trust within the UK’s vibrant mental health charity arena. Crucially, it provides more awareness and visibility for the charity’s work, opening up opportunities for essential mental health conversations to take place across the UK.
Additionally, C-MET serves as a valuable opportunity for both Charlie Waller and the AoC to better understand current needs for mental health training and support within the marketplace, and to guide mental health training accordingly. This highly-accessible mental health assessment toolkit, launched with Public Health England, has been positively received within the market and has now been made widely available and adopted by colleges across the UK - with plans to extend its reach to schools and workplaces in the near future.
We've worked with many charities to ensuring both their brand and fundraising activities are not just confined to their website, our eBook "Your website should not be an island" explains more.
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