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Visit the site Showcasing a major funders work with people facing disadvantage and discrimination

The Baring Foundation – a grant maker supporting projects in the arts, international development and the voluntary sector – came to us for a new website after we developed their new brand. The refreshed brand focused on Baring’s key attributes of being trustworthy, knowledgeable and making a difference, and they needed a website which reflected those values.

The brief

What’s really interesting about The Baring Foundation’s website is that it isn’t really about Baring itself but is about the impact it has – it highlights the work that Baring funds, the knowledge it shares, and the positive effects its programmes have on the people who the Foundation exists to support.
Simon Fairway, Digital Strategist, The Bureau

Baring knew that their current site wasn’t fit for purpose. It was out of step with the refined brand and beyond that was very basic in terms of functionality – it didn’t have the tailored approach to data and taxonomy that they needed.

Just like the Foundation’s new brand, the website experience needed to be clear, thoughtful and progressive without being overstated or showy. It had to successfully provide exactly the right information, without fuss, to Baring’s core audiences of campaigners, practitioners, policy-makers and other funders. And very practically, it needed to easily migrate and then clearly organise a huge volume of existing content from the legacy site.

Our approach

We already knew from the rebrand that we’d be in safe hands with The Bureau, and the website couldn’t have gone smoother. Getting key stakeholders involved in consultation was essential, as it meant we could be totally confident about going ahead with The Bureau’s recommendations.
Harriet Lowe, Communications and Research Officer

Thanks to the branding work we knew the Foundation very well and so had a great starting point for the website project, including a notional homepage design.

The key thing to get right was a clear way of presenting the Foundation’s three distinct programmes of work without hierarchy. We built on our previous consultation through further interviews with a cross-section of key audiences and then held two information architecture workshops: we wanted to really pin down the information that Baring’s audiences needed to see and the ways that they found most intuitive to get to it. Once the IA and wireframes were in place and approved the rest of the project all easily fell into line and we completed the project relatively swiftly – from kick-off to launch took just 4 months.

The Foundations role as a thought leader is supported by blog, which offers a forum for staff members, grantees and others to offer an opinion and stimulate a debate. The latest organisational information is available through a news section.

Impacts and highlights

I’ve just had a look at your beautiful website, which has such clarity, straightforwardness and energy.
Julia Unwin, former CE of the Joseph Rowntree Trust, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society

The resulting site is deceptively simple. The three core areas of focus are always present through an enlarged navigation. A mega-menu provides a short rationale for each focus and uses the same structure across all three, ensuring a consistent experience. Behind it all is an extensive database of different content types, including grant information, case studies and projects. The  intuitive experience of navigating the site, along with its visual style, is exactly in tune with The Baring Foundation’s personality – transparent, knowledgeable, and putting the impacts of Baring’s work ahead of the Foundation itself.

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