War Widows Association: 41 new members in 3 months

Helen from the War Widows Association reached out to me in late 2022. The WWA desperately needed a revamp of their website and visual identity, to bring the charity into the modern age and make it more appealing to new members. They also needed a new version of their online members area, to encourage existing members to connect and interact.

The new website was launched in early summer 2023, and after 3 months, the association had gained 41 new members. This is compared to the 51 new members they gained during the 2 years and 7 months that the old website was live.

Their new members area, complete with profile pages, events and forums, was active and thriving, with current and new WWA members creating their profiles and getting involved.

A snapshot of the WWA website stats from 21/09/2023

The Background

The War Widows Association is a charity providing support and community to anyone who has lost a partner or loved one who died whilst serving in the armed forces. They also campaign for better government support for their members, who are often suddenly left without financial and emotional support.

Problems with the old website

❌ Branding that didn’t align with the identity they wanted to project

❌ A members area that was hard to use, and didn’t get any engagement

❌ The website was difficult to navigate, and information was hard to find

❌ The website was hard to edit, and as a result had a lot of outdated information

❌ The tone of voice and visuals didn’t project the supportive, welcoming community they wanted to be

Here’s what Helen, committee assistant for the WWA, has to say about the old website:

The old website was dull and drab – akin to an online funeral. The email contact button didn’t work for the longest time, there were lots of menus and sub menus with not very much info in each. Most members gave up even trying to access the members area as there was very little info in there for them anyway. It was agreed the Association as a whole needed a brand refresh too.

New brand identity

While I got started on redesigning a more user friendly structure to the website, Tara, brand and graphic designer at Pie Heart Studio, got to work on a more modern and welcoming brand identity for the WWA.

We created:

✅ Tone of voice guidelines

✅ A refined logo in various layouts

✅ Typography pairings and a curated colour palette

✅ Custom website and social media icons

✅ Social media templates

✅ Email footer and printed material designs

Here’s what Helen from the WWA said about working with Tara:

Tara was excellent. She took on board everything that was said and she nailed the new logo in her first draft. She was extremely quick and very amenable to tweaks and changes we needed to put in place. I was very impressed with the branding guidelines document and we have sent that out a few times for getting quotes for Standards and badges etc and it’s so much easier to have something of that quality to send out to third parties.

Modernised website design with streamlined navigation

One main aim of the new website was to simplify the navigation, so that information was displayed in a logical way. This meant that members would have easier access to information about support, which many of them didn’t realise they were entitled to.

They also needed to be able to showcase their latest campaigns and projects

WWA support directory

WWA campaigns page

A fully functioning members area

It’s very important to the WWA that their members feel a sense of community and connection, as many of them were previously lonely and isolated.

The members area in the new website was designed to get members logging in, chatting in forums, attending online events, and being able to ask questions about benefits they may be entitled to.

We created:

✅ Simple, easy to use forums to generate member engagement

✅ A events calendar so that members could sign up for events both online and in person

✅ Members-only access to association documents and updates

✅ Email notifications so members could stay up to date with activities

Here’s what Helen from the WWA had to say about working with me to redesign their website:

I have really enjoyed working with you and you have been so patient with me as I learn how to manage the back end to be able to do all the updates and add all the news items etc. I have really appreciated you working with me on the timescales as the WWA is a fully voluntary organisation.

Support going forward

As well as working with Helen closely to make sure she could handle the day-to-day running of the site, the WWA have joined my WordPress Care Plan. This means that as well as hosting their website, I keep the site fully secure, backed up and updated, and I’m available for any future work or site edits that need a little more technical know-how. Every three months we’ll also have a strategy call where we review how well the website is supporting the charity, and how it could be improved.

Here’s what Helen has to say about their experience of my WordPress care plan so far:

As the Committee Assistant managing the website and members area day to day, your help and guidance has been great in training me up and making sure I know what I’m doing. You have been extremely patient with me as I learn how to use WordPress to a standard that I can manage the day to day updates and manage and moderate the forums and add new members to the private members area. Knowing you are there in the background is a great comfort cushion.

I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the WWA on their website. Together, we’ve created a dynamic hub that showcases the best of their charity, as well as being a functional community area for their members.

Does your charity website need an overhaul?

Is your website supporting and enhancing your charity? Is it accurately projecting your message, the important work you’re doing, and the impact you’re making? Can you proudly share it with sponsors, encouraging donations and support?

If you answered no to any of the above, feel free to get in touch with me – I’d love to help.

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