FIVE MINUTES WITH JONATHAN DOUGLAS
Managing director at global giving platform Givergy talks about the brand’s growth throughout the charity sector, its tech development and the role brand and internal communications play in its corporate strategy
How has branding helped grow the Givergy brand?
The initial company was called iBid and it was developed out of a live golf scoring technology. Now, we support a number of events in the charity sector. We have 97 full-timers and over 250 global freelancers that go along and do these events. Our employer brand allows us to live and breath Givergy and what we stand for and allows that energy to go everywhere.
We started in the UK in London, providing technology which at the time was just tablets at tables at these big gala dinners and allowed people to place their bids on items and to place pledges for the charity through these tablets, rather than using paper. We were dealing with charities that on one night of the year have a gala dinner. So we thought, why not allow them to make money throughout the rest of the year, not just at that event? That’s why we started up Givergy. com, which was launched in September 2015 at the Hurlingham Club.
How was the new brand developed?
We rebranded at the same time as launching that product because we didn’t just want a black-and-blue brand called iBid. We wanted a more consumer-facing, warm, friendly, vibrant brand. That was Givergy. Givergy was born and we used Living Group, the creative agency, to develop the name. It comes from ‘giving,’ ‘technology’ and ‘events’ and the energy that surrounds all of that and pulls it all together.
The colour palette is still blue, which represents the slightly cold and hard blue of technology and then a really soft pink which is the relationships with the clients and the relationships with the charities.
Did the rebrand change the way you communicated?
It changed the way we approach things because we now offer a number of different products and we’re still very much a tech product, but we are also very much a service product at the same time. It’s those relationships that, given the rebranding, we really want to educate the market about. We don’t just come in and provide you the technology; at every level, we are trying to consult with them to help charities raise more money. It’s a very consultative atmosphere, which is better for the brand, but it’s also crucial for internal individuals to understand as well that while perhaps we are this technology product, we are very much a service with fantastic products to offer to lots of different types of charities and across lots of different types of events.
Why is internal communications important?
We’re doing an internal positioning piece because we have 97 employees in nine global offices and as we all know, brand starts within and with the internal culture. And that’s the most important thing.
When we started the business we said whatever culture we have today will be with us throughout. Another reason why we’ve expanded so quickly is because we’ve kept this internal brand so strong. Everyone knows what our vision is, everyone knows what our core values are. Everyone throughout the chain knows exactly what we stand for and what we’re trying to achieve.
What are your plans for Givergy’s future?
If you just ask an average punter what do you use for giving, they’d probably say JustGiving or Virgin Money. They’re all fundraising sites, we’re not in that space at all. We want to own the silent auctions, the events, the prize draw space and give charities a way they can raise money through our platform, and then perhaps go into other avenues that a charity can raise more money through.
But to become known as the go-to brand to help raise money at an event or online is our aim. We’ve never expanded using licensing, I don’t believe in giving your brand to someone else because it puts it at a massive risk, especially when we’re such a relationships- and services-based company.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced when expanding the business?
We want to be everything, but as a brand, you cannot be everything overnight. Although we do encompass a lot of different markets now and have a lot of different products, you have to stay true to what you are trying to do, which is raising charities more money.