The HALO Trust is a global humanitarian charity. It employs about 6750 staff, working to create safe and secure environments in war torn communities by clearing landmines, managing stockpiles of weapons and destroying unexploded ordnance. The charity is funded by governments and a growing cohort of private donors. It makes a big impact on the lives of many but with previously limited resource at headquarters, HALO was missing opportunities to showcase the difference it makes. New leadership in 2015 brought an increased focus on fundraising and strategic communications.
To conduct a communications audit, review HALO’s approach to communications and identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Then, to develop a sustainable communications framework and scope the resource and budget required to deliver strategic communications for the long term.
Strategic communications – what we did
Marcie Bell conducted the communications audit and recommended a range of tasks, taking account of HALO’s audience, strategic objectives and the competitive environment. The key recommendations included:
- Brand refresh
- New, responsive website with intuitive user journey and full content management
- Fresh approach to content, using photography and video to bring HALO’s work to life
- Hands-on training and development to build capacity and enable relevant members of staff to manage day-to-day tasks
Marcie worked with HALO’s leadership team to make the case for the above tasks and secure approval from the trustees. As Interim Communications Director, she subsequently worked alongside HALO staff with support from Associates Liz Bell and Louise Lovegrove to manage the website and branding projects, which were put out to competitive tender. In tandem with this work, Marcie directed HALO’s media relations manager in raising awareness of milestones and fundraising campaigns. She also worked closely with the fundraising team to develop HALO’s case for support, campaign plans and fundraising materials.
- The new brand identity (from logo to photography style, colour palette, language/tone and messaging) was implemented consistently, online and offline. Newly branded kit was phased in across all programmes
- The new website was well received by staff and trustees:
- The recruitment area and streamlined recruitment process introduced via Workable made it easier for HR to manage applicants
- Fundraising microsites were created in-house for two campaigns, using the modular content management system
- New visitors to the website increased by 44% in the first six months
- A new cloud storage platform was introduced to share digital assets and enable better story-telling
- HALO’s social engagement became more effective:
- An independent review found that HALO content was the most engaging in its competitor landscape
- Referrals to halotrust.org from social networks in March – Sept 2016 increased by 158% when compared with same period the previous year
- The global media coverage achieved for milestones and campaigns was shared extensively in the networks
- Marcie worked with HR to develop the job spec and screen applications for the Director of Communications and Digital Marketing and Communications Manager.
As the new CEO of HALO, it was an early priority of mine to modernise HALO’s ability to communicate. I wanted a contemporary and engaging feel to content. I also knew that HALO did not have the expertise in-house to deliver this. Marcie worked with HALO for over a year to deliver this objective. I found her and her Associates to be outstanding; with a tireless work ethic, a deep understanding of the field of communications and an extraordinary ability both to attend to the detail and see the bigger picture, The Foundry House made a substantial difference to HALO. Partly in consequence of that work, HALO is thriving with an increased workforce and increased turnover. I would strongly recommend Marcie and The Foundry House to any future potential client.
Chief Executive, The HALO Trust