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10 tips on how to make your virtual fundraising event stand out and increase smash your donations targets.

You’ll probably never face a more challenging time for your charity that right now. Not surprisingly, there’s a huge amount of fear and anxiety among charities at the moment. You may have seen a big reduction in charitable donations and decreased participant sign ups due to your fundraising events being cancelled. Many of your key staff may have also been furloughed and your charity income may have been hit hard. It’s difficult to not be disheartened and worried about how it will all end. 

This is why SO many charities are reacting and adapting by shifting their focus to virtual fundraising. As charity sector specialists we’ve helped to create events, their identities and merchandise for many successful charity events.  We believe in sharing with our community and so we thought we’d put together our top tips on how to navigate the virtual fundraising landscape! 

 Follow these tips and you’ll learn what aspects underpin a successful virtual fundraising event & have every chance of not only surviving the crisis but coming out even stronger than before. 

1. Define your target audience.  

As with any event or piece of communication, it’s important to know who you are talking to. If you’re used to holding any type of event, mass participation or otherwise, you’ll know the type of person you attract to those events. You may want to target those same people, or use your online presence to reach a whole new audience.  Either way, it’s best to know who you’re talking too, the more refined and pointed, the more accurately focused your event can be. 

2. Set yourself a realistic fundraising target.  

It may sound obvious but generally speaking, the more money you would like to raise, the more people you need to get involved. If your charity has a wide reach, you can set yourself a higher target. But be realistic too, a wide reach could be better served with several smaller events. The key is that you know your targets in order to know the shape and size of an event. 

3. Set yourself a non-monetary objective too. 

Your virtual fundraising event doesn’t have to be purely about raising lots of money this time around.  You can use the event to increase awareness of a particular service that your charity provides or maybe you have demographic that you would like to be more involved in your charity. Your virtual fundraising event is a mini advertising campaign so maximise your investment… just don’t try and do too much. 

4. Identify key dates. 

The beauty of virtual fundraising events is that they can be done any time.  But not setting a definite timeline or date can be detrimental to involving your fundraisers.  Online events work best when they have a defined period.  This not only makes them easier to manage, it also gives more clarity about when your fundraisers should take part. Whether it’s a day or a few weeks, setting that time makes everything a lot easier to plan around. You’ll be able to introduce the event, encourage participation and increase donations far more easily. 

5. Have an idea.  Or don’t. 

Charity teams are full of creative people and you’ve been creating fundraising events for years.  If you’ve got an idea that’s been dormant for years or you don’t know how to get it off the ground, give it a go as a virtual event, they’re much lower risk than those physical events that require space, property, insurance… (you know the drill).  If you’re scratching your head, we can help. 

6. Give your virtual fundraising event a clear identity.

With a crowded market, it is hard to stand out and with no clear identity it’s easy to be overlooked. Having a clear identity will make your event stand out from the crowd. A clear identity for your event will also ensure that people notice the event and not mistake it for any other comm’s you have out at the same time. Be clear with what your event is about and convey that through your identity.  

7. Have assets to send to your fundraisers. 

If you’re asking your fundraisers to do something online, ensure that they look good or have the tools to do what they need. Share assets that they can use on social platforms to make their space stand out from all their other content. 

8. Have a plan for marketing your event.

It may look simple and easy but you need to give some consideration about how best to reach your audience.  Ensure that your demographic will see your content where you intend to share it and consider where to use paid media in order to reach a wider demographic and new supporters. Acknowledge that you will need to be in front of your audience in a productive way throughout your events timeline. 

9. Thank your supporters just as you would at a physical mass participation event. 

You know that your fundraising supporters appreciate the thank you they receive across your events.  For some they have achieved a lifetime goal, for others, it’s a chance to cement relationships and to feel part of a team.  We know that merchandise continues to solidify relationships with supporters, receiving a medal recognising the achievement or a t-shirt that reminds the team of the camaraderie shared, is often an emotionally well received thank you.

10. Do you have existing resource to manage a fundraising event? 

Do not underestimate an online (Virtual) event, it is important to give all aspects consideration and be able to support the online necessary platform. The good news is that they are easy to manage and a doddle to learn.  But if you need any additional support, we can help. 


Need Additional Support? Drop us a line to see how we can help you with your online, virtual fundraising events. 

We recently created a video for our client, the NSPCC, and it got us thinking about how brilliant video can be as a marketing vehicle.

The NSPCC video was designed to demonstrate the wonderful benefits of running the marathon on their behalf. It captures everything from the cheers to the tears, the strength and the triumph, and can be shared and shared to inspire other budding runners to sign up.

Carl, our video production guru, says “Videos are great ways of explaining stuff. Whether it’s a product or service or a complex message, a video is a slick, visual way of communicating it to your audience.

You can give your perfect pitch anywhere, anytime, without even having to be there!”

What’s more, websites with video are actually 50 times more likely to be ranked on Google’s first page. What do you think people will click on first: the text link or the inviting video thumbnail?

In fact, there are loads of stats that prove video is one of the best ways of getting an audience to engage with you:

  • 55% of people watch videos online every day (MWP)
  • Almost 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store (ThinkWithGoogle)
  • 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it (Animoto)
  • 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with colleagues weekly (TubularInsights)

So there you have it; video is officially awesome!

If you think video could help you with your next marketing campaign, then get in touch with us today!

When keeping up with the ever-evolving market, brands often seek to refresh and rebrand themselves. Whether this is a minor tweak or a complete overhaul, as designers, we always get excited to see how agencies tasked with the job have brought a vision to life and the creative direction they have taken.

We asked the design team for their thoughts and opinions on some of the most recent rebrands and redesigns to hit the market.

John Lewis Partnership

Pentagram has recently given the iconic British company John Lewis Partnership, home to John Lewis and Waitrose, a revamp. Placing emphasis on their business model, whereby every employee (all 85,000 of them) have a stake in the company, ‘& Partners’ has been added to the names.

Inspired by the original pattern for the brand that was originally created in the 60’s, the parent brand, John Lewis and Waitrose are unified by the use of ‘brandlines’ – with a variety of weighted lines for each entity.

So, what do the Bluestep designers think?

“The new style has transferred well across the brand materials whether that be the logo to tote bags, using the same essence of their brand allows continuity, but keeps the different section of the companies fresh. By rebranding the companies together, it brings the two closer and more recognisable as a joint venture whilst still keeping their own personalities.”

“I particularly love the new typeface and linear font created for JL. This is used on the new bags that have the enlarged text bleeding off – a modern design element which you wouldn’t really expect from such a traditional brand. I like the use of lines – makes for a flexible identity which can be applied to a variety of applications and is a nice way to connect the two parts of the partnership by both using the parallel lines but in different orientations. However, it looks a lot like M&S in my opinion with a similar typeface and the use of black and green.”



The global ride-sharing and ride-hailing app Uber has revolutionised the way people get from A to B. Uber needed an identity that would work and translate universally across cultures, and so sought the help of Wolff Olins. The result is a stripped back, simple brand look.

Over to the Bluesteppers…

“I really like this – much simpler and cleaner than the old one, gives it a much-needed modern refresh! You can tell they’ve drawn inspiration from transportation icons in the arrows and rich blue colour that you see on road signs for easily legible text – a nice way to coherently transition the brand by using elements that are already commonly associated with the road/ transport/ travel.”

“I think the choice of a softer typeface and the move away from an all-caps lockup allows for a different tone of voice and universal brand message, this can only help with all the bad publicity that the brand has received in the past year. A more dignified and classier look will add a little more luxury when travelling and using the Uber brand where its seen to be a quick and cheap alternative to calling a taxi. This rebrand is a nice step forward from the rebrand that took place in 2015, which was highly criticised. “


Bringing things closer to home, with their head office in good old Northampton, we couldn’t pass on talking about Carlsberg’s (albeit small) changes to their brand identity. This new look has been rolled out onto the bottles, cans and glassware, creating a unified new product family. This comes at a time where the brand is releasing revolutionary innovations, such as the ‘snap pack’ in a bid to reduce plastic waste.

Here’s what designer and part-time beer drinker Andrew has to say:

“The revamped logo has seen small but effective changes, with small tweaks to the typeface and enhanced colour pallet, it sees the brand become lifted and refreshed. With the introduction of a clean and crisp typeface to partner the elaborate logomark, it brings a whole new look and feel, which almost brings hipster vibes with the cleaver typesetting and brand colours. Carlsberg has stripped back all the extravagance and have allowed for the brand to speak for itself with flat colours and a signature mark of approval on every bottle.”


So, what do you think? Do you agree with what our designers have to say?

We have worked on a handful of great rebrands here at Bluestep, which you can find out more about over on our case studies page.
If you are looking to give your brand a little re-vamp, get in touch with us today!


Images in this post are courtesy of ‘Brand New’

In June, Bluestep took a trip to the Birmingham Design Festival. We learnt loads and it was a great place to get our creative juices flowing.

One thing we got to know more about is Variable Fonts and our Web Developer, Alex, is on hand to give us the low-down.

What are Variable Fonts?

Variable Fonts are a new technology that I learnt about at the Birmingham Design Festival in early June, thanks to a talk by Sahar Afshar. The main idea and benefit behind a Variable Font is that all the weight and italic options are included in a single font file, as opposed to regular fonts requiring separate files for each combination of weight and italics.

Take Proxima Nova, for instance, the font used by the Bluestep website. Typekit has 48 available fonts for Proxima Nova, which include every possible combination of 3 width options, 2 italic options and 8 weight options. These fonts range from Proxima Nova Thin to Proxima Nova Extra Condensed Black Italic (I think you can get one of these from Starbucks) and every other combination in-between. We only use 2 of these fonts on the website currently, but if we wanted to get a bit more adventurous and use more of those options, that’s an extra file that the website needs to load for each font that we decide to add.

However, if there was a Variable Proxima Nova font (which doesn’t exist sadly ☹) we’d be able to have all 48 options readily available with the website only needing to load a single font file. Additionally, due to the nature of Variable Fonts, we could go beyond that 48 and potentially have infinite possibilities.

Instead of multiple files for each combination of weight, width, italics etc., Variable Fonts utilise axes to manipulate these properties with more granularity.

Take the Variable Font Acumin Variable Concept for example. Acumin has 3 axes, Weight, Width and Slant, each of which can be changed independently of one another. The Weight axis ranges from 100-900, Width ranges from 50-115 and Slant range from 0-12. Even if these ranges are only looked at as going up in ones, that’s still 624,000 possible variations. Values can also be set as decimals in some cases, which technically allows infinite variations. Infinite options in 1 file versus Proxima Nova’s 48 options in 48 files.

As mentioned earlier, Variable Fonts are particularly interesting to me as a developer as it means that we only need to load one font that we can manipulate on the fly, as opposed to needing to pick and choose which weights are the most important. Ultimately, this means a lot more options for us as developers and a (slightly) faster website for the user.

Variable Fonts aren’t just restricted to web development. Adobe Creative Cloud 2018 released in October 2017, and with it came Variable Font support in both Illustrator and Photoshop, meaning even more possibilities for Graphic Designers.

The Future of Fonts

Soon, Variable Fonts will likely be used all over the web, whether it’s for the vast design possibilities or simply getting a boost to website speed.

There are already so many Variable Fonts out in the wild, wild web, some of my favourite sites for previewing them are V Fonts and Axis Praxis. You’ll notice that some offer less than 3 axes, while others offer a lot more. Some of which get really wacky.

What’s beyond Variable Fonts? Well, that would be Colour Fonts. We’re not quite at the point where Colour Fonts are ready to be widely used (Google Chrome doesn’t even support it yet!), but as with Variable Fonts, the prospects are very exciting!

We like to stay ahead of the game and pride ourselves in producing some great work. If you would like to chat design or digital, get in touch today!

Bluestep are delighted to have supported the Swedish lift manufacturer Aritco in the design, marketing and production of their latest exhibition stand at the Homebuilding & Renovating show 2018. 

Aritco wanted to create an exhibition that stood out, attracting the high level of footfall at the event and draw people in to find out more about the brand and the product offering.

We were responsible for designing everything from the exhibit to all the printed literature, ensuring that the modern and premium style of the brand was communicated throughout the event.

The customisable characteristics of the Homelift product were the focal point for all our creative, allowing Aritco to easily communicate the number of different editable features available to the visitors. The stand theme ‘express your taste’ helped illustrate the elegance of Scandinavian style within interior design.

We had a great day at the exhibition. The Bluesteppers headed to Birmingham to see our work bought to life and ensure all the design elements were put together and ran smoothly. Our resident motion graphics designer and part-time photographer, Carl, packed his DSLR and was on hand to take some professional shots of the day.

As a result of our combined efforts before and during the event, the stand was visited by thousands of guests at the NEC arena and has already generated over 160 new sales leads for Aritco. It has been recognised as the most successful exhibition in the company’s history!

To further support the campaign, Bluestep initiated and assisted Aritco with the launch of the #MyAritcoHomeLift competition. An exciting opportunity that will give one lucky individual the chance to win their very own custom designed Homelift!

Our digital team also created a landing page and organised the promotion of the campaign via social media, using both organic and paid posts to create a buzz amongst the target audience, reaching people in the hundreds of thousands.

“By the Sunday afternoon, we had run out of brochures and competition forms. Every single detail came together so well. Bluestep really brought all the elements together for us both offline and online and as a result, we’ve had some great sales leads.”
Reshma Miller – Marketing Manager, Aritco UK.

There are many opinions floating around the internet regarding SEO, and it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. We have identified some common myths surrounding search engine optimization and tried to debunk them once and for all.


“It’s a one-time thing.”

Doing SEO once is only part of the job. If you don’t keep on top of and working on your website, you can expect to see your efforts soon fizzle out. There are a variety of reasons as to why you can expect to see your rankings and favourability to drop if you do not keep up with your SEO.

Firstly, algorithms are constantly being updated. As the ranking factors change with time, if your website does not keep up or previous tactics become redundant or even frowned upon, it may well be the case that your site drops down in the rankings.

Link rotting can also occur, as the backlinks that you built once upon a time become old, are no longer live or get hacked, resulting in a negative effect on your website and its trust.

If your competitors are hot on SEO, you and your site run the risk of being victim to this, as they shoot up to the top you will find yourself being left behind. Similarly, over time your content will become more and more outdated. Content freshness is thought to be a great way to improve favourability with ranking algorithms.

Ultimately, as the well-known saying goes, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t work overnight, and things constantly change. For long-lasting results, it is best for your business to implement a long-term SEO plan.


“I’m not an online retailer, it doesn’t matter if my site isn’t secure.”

In short, every website should be secure, regardless of its purpose.

Google in particular wants its users to browse the web safely and stay secure online, so it is no surprise that websites have been prompted to make the switch from the HTTP protocol, to HTTPS.

By obtaining an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate on your site, it essentially means that the users information is encrypted, and any information sent or received from this site is private and protected. If this is the case, Chrome will display a green padlock stating it is secure. If this is not the case, Chrome will state ‘not secure’ next to the URL, and even display warning symbols.

It is a misconception, however, that only sites dealing with transactions and customer passwords need to be secure.  Obtaining an SSL certificate comes with many other benefits. Firstly, it is a key trust signal to your web visitors. As web users become more sophisticated and aware of online safety, displaying that green padlock is much more appealing to your visitors than being told they are not secure, which could potentially lead to higher bounce rates. From a ranking perspective, it has also been confirmed by Google themselves that HTTPS is a signal used by their algorithms. Whilst it may not have much weight in comparison to other ranking signals, it is still a great help.


“Google Ignores Meta Descriptions, I don’t need them.”

Whilst it is true that meta descriptions are not a factor considered by Google’s ranking algorithms, it is still important not to neglect it.

Meta descriptions are like your shop window display. As this is the snippet of text shown on the search engine results page, it is an ideal opportunity to sell the click.

This is an excellent place to put a keyword or two (although don’t overdo it!) and give a quick summary of who you are or what the page is, and more importantly, how it solves the search query.

If you don’t have meta descriptions, Google will choose random text from the page and display this. Whilst this is fine, it is not always the most appealing.


“I’m already doing PPC. I don’t need SEO”


Quite the opposite! In fact, SEO & PPC should be used to complement each other. Whilst PPC allows you to control where you sit on page one, based on how much you’re willing to pay, this is not always the cheapest option.

SEO allows you to target for those keywords that are perhaps out of your price range. As well as being more cost effective, especially in the long-run, organic results are sometimes favoured by searchers who prefer to ignore the ‘ads’.

In addition, optimising your landing pages that you feature on your paid results will ensure that you are directing your users to the right page and reduce the risk of bounce rates.


“SEO is dead.”

Ah, the classic line. A common statement thrown around every year, time and time again, is that SEO is in fact useless. However, this is simply not true. As long as there are search engines, there will always be ways to ensure your website performs better on those search engines pages.

As algorithms become more sophisticated and. Quick wins and the tricks that may have worked in the past, such as keyword stuffing, are no longer an option. It is vital to adhere to the algorithm updates, especially as they will only become more advanced. Constantly being aware of what the changes are is vital and is where SEO’s come in.

Search is growing year on year, so we don’t see it going anywhere any time soon!


Phew, we covered a lot there! Hopefully we cleared the air on a few SEO myths there. If you are looking for some help optimizing your website for search engines, our digital whizzes would be more than happy to have a chat. Just get in touch!

As Twitter celebrates 10 years of the hashtag, we thought we'd give you a helping hand with your online presence by listing our top 8 social media do's and don'ts!

We don’t know about you, but we’ve come across social media pages that seem so stagnant, they stand out more than the ones smashing it. Your social media strategy is key when it comes to engaging with your target audience and creating relevant and original content they’ll want to see.
So, with that in mind, we’ve come up with a few handy do’s and don’ts on social media to help keep you afloat and stay fresh in a saturated market.


Know your audience
This is a bit of a no brainer, but have you ever wondered why some of your posts aren’t getting any likes? It might not have gotten a little blue thumbs up this time, but that’s not to say the rest won’t. It’s a trial and error situation, so work out what content works and what doesn’t work!

Stay active
We’re all guilty of checking those follower numbers now and again, and staying active will stop them from dropping off. Post two to three times a week, judge it as you go and see how much content you should post, but don’t leave it weeks (or we’ll unfollow you).

Have personality
Spice it up a bit! Be out there, push boundaries and try to use more visuals. A tweet with an image has a 150% higher chance of being retweeted. Just take a look at our Twitter, we’re down with the kids, right?

Talk to your customers, there’s no harm in a quick chinwag. It’ll make them want to engage more often, plus your posts will show up in their friend’s feeds which could lead to even more comments.


Remove comments
It’s tempting to get rid of negative comments but you don’t want to be that company, and sometimes it can just cause more damage than it’s worth! The best way to deal with these is to apologise and ask them to speak to you directly.

Like your content
It’s gutting to see something you’ve put your hard work into and to see it get zero likes. But don’t like it yourself, everyone knows you like your own content because you posted it.

Over promote your products
Only posting about your own products/services can get verrry monotonous. Try to keep up with trends and see what everyone else is talking about.

Repeat & spam
Seeing the same image and the same style post over and over will never get the likes you need. Try to use a variety of different media and writing styles to see which works best.

On that note, head on over to our social media pages and give us a cheeky like to see what we’re up to. Or if you’re interested in our campaign management services then drop us a message and we’ll be happy to have a chat about how we can help.

New kid on the block, Carl, brings a whole host of ideas and talent to the Bluestep design studio, and we’re already excited to see what kind of cool, quirky animations come jumping from his Mac.

Audio engineer, animator, musician, mushroom hater and website obsessive. Carl has many strings to his bow and we’re extremely privileged to take on another young, fun and super-talented Bluestepper!

Bulking up the design team’s endless talents as our animation designer, Carl’s creativity and tech- savvy knack mean he’ll be able to apply himself to a range of our existing projects and help take our clients to the next level.

Carl was first attracted to Bluestep because of its genuine desire to raise awareness of topics that matter in a unique and creative way, with a team that’s constantly bubbling with ideas!

A graduate from Southampton Solent, Carl made many international friends during his studies, which means he is now a regular jet-setter around Europe, exploring and touching base with old faces.  Adventurous Carl is rarely seen without his headphones, and aside from being a talented creative, he also performs in two bands and shoots music videos. His relationship with the music industry takes up a lot of his spare time and most weekends he can be found gigging or behind the camera.

Welcome aboard, Carl!

Today Bluestep Boasts a 50% turnover year on year, A strong team of 23 Talented individuals, A beautiful picturesque office in the countryside, and an impressive catalogue of case studies. But how did it all begin?

January 2010
Ben Skinner sets up shop at his kitchen table equipped with one printer, one stapler and a house phone. Having to put his out of office on to make a cup of tea or hang out washing, Ben dedicated the majority of his days to researching, cold calling and building rapport with contacts.

August 2010
Discovers there is a problem within the NHS sexual heath sector – not enough 16-24 year olds are getting tested for STIs. Ben creates a non-clinical, fun solution in the form of funky, branded boxer shorts. Idea is taken up nationwide by NHS CCGS and Bluestep goes on to sell millions across the next few years.

November 2010
PR is booming especially after the Sun newspaper try to get the boxers on a page 3 girl!

December 2010
Harry joins the team, packing boxes and driving the delivery van, and the team begins to grow with the addition of a designer and PA. The guys sub let their first office – called The Hovel – no bigger than our existing meeting room!

July 2011
Ben spends a lot of time driving around the country meeting with potential clients, networking and building up a contact list. The healthcare side of the business grows which results in Bluestep taking on more people to manage the workload.

January 2011
Client base begins to grow including big names such as Thomson and STA Travel, and Blue Step are commissioned by Jack Wills to supply retail merchandise for the Royal Wedding.

December 2011
Move to Stone Barn and expand the team further, building up a strong sales team who go on to form the charity team, supplying products and merchandise to some of the UK’s largest charities.

September 2012
Time for a bigger office! Move into Tithe Barn in Blisworth, armed with a design team, account management and sales team.

January 2013
50% growth sees Bluestep rocket to fully fledged agency status.

March 2014
Relationships with the UK’s CCGs lead to further work in marketing promotions and campaigns. Build up marketing team to help manage and execute campaign work.

June 2016
With a growing team of 20+, Ben is looking to fill 3 new roles which have arisen as a result of an increase in client expectations and needs.

October 2016
With the majority of its client base now in the City, Bluestep opens its first office in London.

Okay, no more puns…I promise. Seriously though, apps are taking the marketing world by storm. With most big name brands already well established on the app download chart, more and more independent and SME businesses are following suit.

It’s 2016, so get involved. Show your customers you’re ahead of the game. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss out on the biggest mobile trend of the decade:


Apps are a constant reminder of your brand, constantly visible on a mobile screen. Think about how many times you look at your phone every day. Your customers are doing the same. Get your logo on their home screen.


Mobile apps make for a much faster way to engage with your services as opposed to traditional web browsing. Offer booking or purchasing facilities (depending on the nature of your business) making it quicker and easier for customers to connect with you.

Cost effective 

Think of all the letters, leaflets, posters and SMS messages you could save money on, just by installing notifications on your app. Notifications can communicate discount codes, events, reminders and news directly to the people you want to see them.

No more spam! 

No more getting stuck in customers’ spam folders or incessantly checking your open rate on direct mail and mailchimps. Interaction is easy and seamless.

Stand out 

Stand out against your competitors by showing you’re ahead of the game and well versed in modern technology and consumer wants and needs.


Customised rewards and discounts, first hand communication, loyalty schemes and regular contact are just some of the ways you can build a flawless customer loyalty program into your app.

Fancy getting ahead of the game? Bluestep can help! We offer full design and development services for apps.

Get in touch and let’s talk about how an app can help you.