Our Blog

Category: Design Tips for Charities

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tip: Up to date information

Most charities have feeds to their website for latest news and events, or from social media channels. It can look very unprofessional to have information on your website that is out of date or irrelevant.

By keeping your website up-to-date it is not only good practice, but also shows that the charity is active and that you are putting your supporters’ donations to good use. It is also very good for search engine optimisation.

We know it is not always easy to do, but the results are worthwhile for those who update their websites consistently.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tip: Increase the impact of your newsletter

Just one of the many jobs we regularly do for some of our charity clients is to design their newsletter or magazine. There has always been a stipulation that as a charity you should not be throwing money at an overly designed item when the funds could be used to further your mission. In part this should be taken into consideration, but please remember that no-one wants to read something that looks unappealing, so although you might not be spending a lot of money on your newsletter, is what you are spending on it seeing any return at all?

Here are some of our helpful tips for charities when looking at the design of your newsletter:

Don’t be afraid to ask

Remember you are a charity and the aim of the newsletter is to see a return on your investment. So if you are talking about an appeal make sure you let the reader know how they can donate.

Add some colour

Colour helps a newsletter look more appealing and something you have put thought into. If you only want to slightly increase your printing costs, it might be simply making it a two colour print job rather than one.

Change your text from being quite neutral to a more direct mail style of copy (using the word "you" a lot).

Don’t make articles too long

Try and keep your article length at a reasonable level for people who just want to skim read. This could mean the introduction of a stand first that would sum up the article but in turn entice the reader to read on.

Keep the article relevant to the charity

We see it time and again with charity magazines: lots of articles that focus on what’s going on internally in the charity. Your readers are not going to want to know it was Dawn’s birthday last week, they are going to want to know what you are doing with their donations. Our advice is, if you think an article is not relevant, don’t put it in.

I hope this helps when you are looking to produce your next newsletter. If you do want to chat through any of your ideas or see how we could help improve the return on investment, please give me a call on 01603 340 750.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Designing a pop-up banner

Pop-up banners are a great tool to take to charity exhibitions: they fold away very neatly so they are easy to transport and look great.

This is an item that Adept is often asked to produce for our charity clients and we always give the same advice: keep the design simple. No-one is going to want to see the charity history on the banner; we want the banner to set the mood and promote your brand. By keeping the design simple it easier to achieve this. A large striking image is often key to helping set the mood: if you can find an image that sums up the work of the charity, this would be a good place to begin. If your charity supports work in Africa, an image of a happy African family who you have helped is good.

As mentioned before we also want your brand to be strengthened by the banner so your logo and brand identity must come into play and not get lost. Remember that the bottom portion of the banner is unlikely to be as seen, so don't stick your logo in the bottom right hand corner.

Keep the text on the banner short – a maximum of around 15 words is about right. We want to give passers-by enough information to draw them to your stand, not bore them.

Make sure your website address is on the banner – you may be so busy on your stand that not everyone gets to talk to you, so by giving them your website address you can give them the means to find out more information about the charity.

The quality of printed banners can differ dramatically. You may have seen the adverts for pull-up banners on the internet for £60 and your design agency is quoting £195, but if they are like us, they have seen the quality of both. If you are looking to use these banners on several occasions the more expensive metal cased banners are much better. The cheaper ones are often plastic and do not roll down very easy after use, making them ideal for one-off use but they are not cut out for regular use.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Design an advert for your charity

Firstly lets face it, advertising space is not cheap, so when you decide to buy some our advice is, Make it count. There is no point filling the space up with an advert that has had very little  thought behind it. So this week we will look into how to make your charity adverts more effective.

Take for example an advert that is to raise awareness of a new campaign, the advert is ¼ page A4 so we have to be even more precise about what we say as we have not got that much space to play with. Firstly we need a good snappy headline that sums up the campaign, this can be backed up with a photo or visual element if necessary or simply stand on its own. We now need to unwrap this headline with a short paragraph of up to 12 words. Your logo needs to feature in a strong prominent position so that the viewer does not forget who’s advert they are looking at. Lastly we need to know where to point them to get more information or a place to act now, this will most likely be your website so when they get there back this up with a clear route of navigation.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tip – Headings and Sub-Headings: using them wisely

This week we continue to look into some important elements that help make up a good charity newsletter. This week’s topic looks into using headings and sub-headings to keep the reader interested.


Use strong, bold headings: after the nameplate, the headline that identifies and relates to each article should be the most prominent. These are the elements that keep the attention of the reader, enticing them to read on. The headings should be obviously larger than the body copy of your newsletter and your sub-headings.

Using Sub-headings

If you are featuring a long article, we recommend that you break the article down into sections. To differentiate each section, use a sub-heading that relates to it. This makes the article look more appealing to read and also gives the reader some anchor points so they can read the article in stages rather than all at once.

Here are some good examples of newsletters using headings and sub-headings:

A good example of a strong heading:


A page extract to demonstrate the use of sub-headings:


Next week we will look into using a stand first in your charity magazine or newsletter.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tip – Table of Contents, does your newsletter really need one?

This week we continue to look into some important elements that help make up a good charity newsletter. This week’s topic looks into what our opinion is on the use of contents pages.

As much as we would like to think that as soon as a charity’s newsletter hits their supporter’s doorstep, the response is to pick it up and read it cover to cover, the reality is that they may just flick through it or go directly to the information or story that they want to read.

By including a table of contents, usually on the front page, which lists articles and special sections of the newsletter by page number, it gives the reader easy access to any article that they want to go directly to.

Our experience when working with charities has led us to believe that because charities can often be conducting a number of projects, their supporters are often interested in a particular project that appeals to them. By using a table of contents you can announce to the recipients that in this issue is an update on a project that you are interested in. This in turn will entice the recipient to read the article and increase the connection that they have with you as a charity.

The next tip will be looking at how a good use of headings can make all the difference to the readability of your publication.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tip – Giving your newsletter an identity

Last week we discussed printed vs. digital newsletters: over the next couple of weeks we are looking into the important elements that make up a good Charity Newsletter.

The best way for me to do this is to give you pointers to help you on the way:

Give your newsletter a name

We always recommend to new and existing clients that they give their newsletters a name; this gives the publication its own identity and a lot more promotional clout. We always recommend that the name of the newsletter is in the nameplate: this is the top banner on the front of a newsletter that identifies the publication. By giving your newsletter its own identity it becomes a bigger part of your charity. It is the voice of the charity and should shout, “Look what we are doing with your support”, but also “Please keep supporting us so we can keep making a difference”.

Here are some good examples of where charities have given a unique identity to their newsletter by giving it a name:

From the Field


We design and produce on a quarterly basis FARM-Africa’s newsletter very cleverly named ‘From The Field’.

Hope News

Dogs Trust

The Dogs Trust is a very large charity and has many different projects, which often have their own supporter base. The Dogs Trust names its newsletters accordingly: two newsletters we design and produce for them are ‘Hope News’ for the Hope Project and ‘Freedom News’ for the Freedom Project.

Tear Times


Tearfund have a quarterly publication called ‘Teartimes’. This has become a big part of their marketing mix and consistently shows good returns once sent out.



Again, a good example of how a large charity which has lots of newsletters relating to different campaigns has named its publications accordingly. Here for example, is their newsletter ‘Relay’ which is specifically about their campaign for Child Protection in Sport.

The next tip will be looking at contents pages, myths, facts and more.

Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Charity Design Tips – Digital vs. Printed charity newsletters

With a big push on digital media, people often think that there is no longer any need for printed charity newsletters.

In our experience, printed newsletters are a vital tool to keep you connected with your supporters and sustain your fundraising throughout the year. They remind your supporters that you are still there, and show progress and success stories. Our clients all report good results when they send out printed newsletters.

Digital e-newsletters are very useful for short sharp updates, for getting urgent information out quickly. However, if you want your supporters to sit down with a cup of tea and read your news at length, then a well-designed, printed newsletter will do the job nicely! And who knows, a future supporter may pick it up to read too!

Next week’s Charity Design Tip… how to design a good charity newsletter.


Posted by

Ben Kemp

Marketing Director

Tips for designing a charity leaflet

This tip will be based around an A4 folded to DL sized 6 page leaflet.

The front cover of the leaflet has to make the recipient want to pick up the leaflet and look inside. Our recommendation is to use a strong relevant image to really grab people’s attention. Working with the image should be a short sharp heading explaining the topic of the leaflet; this is another device to temp the viewer further into the leaflet. Your logo should also be clearly placed on the front, as a vital part of your brand; your logo gives the charity a trusted presence and helps to increase your brand awareness. 

The back page of the leaflet should always have the main contact points for your charity. If you wish for the leaflet recipient to visit your website next make sure the website address is clearly visible, if you want them to phone you, make sure they can see which number you want them to call.

For the first page of the leaflet we would recommend a brief introduction paragraph explaining your mission as a charity. This will leave space to feature a case study or prominent quote from someone the charity has helped. This helps the reader to relate to you as a charity and inspire them to help your cause.

All headings throughout the leaflet should be bold, clear and consistent. You are still trying to hold the attention of the reader so make sure they have lots of things to entice them to keep looking. Use images where appropriate, if you are trying to cram images into the leaflet for the sake of someone in the office who took a photo and would love to see it in the leaflet, stop and think whether it is interfering with what you are trying to say, often less is best, especially with a direct mail leaflet.

Try to use the right hand side of the leaflet as a reply form, this allows people to fulfill whatever 'call to action' you are making in the leaflet, whether that is making a donation, offering to volunteer or asking for more information about the charity.