There are about 3,000 benevolent organisations in the UK. Many were founded in Victorian times to give grants to people who have fallen on hard times. But for some, the word 'benevolent' sounds old-fashioned and, worse, isn't widely understood.
It was largely in response to these trends that the Bankers Benevolent Society rebranded to become the Bank Workers Charity this year.
"We wanted something new, fresh, dynamic and simple," says Alisa Hamzic, head of marketing at the charity.
"A lot of benevolent funds have gone through rebrands and have tried to move away from the word because of its Victorian connotations."
The charity's old name also failed to reflect the fact that it now works in partnership with other charities to help needy bank workers, many of whom have disabilities.
The organisation, whose origins date back to 1883, decided to consult stakeholders and beneficiaries, including ex-employees of banks, about the possibility of changing its name for the third time in its history.
The feedback confirmed what the charity, which awarded grants worth £2.3m in 2010/11, suspected. "Most people did not know what the Bankers Benevolent Society was and those who did had largely found out by accident," says Hamzic. She says the new name clearly describes what the charity does.
Five agencies were invited to pitch for the contract to develop a new visual identity. Firedog, a strategic creative agency, was chosen.
One of the most striking aspects of the new logo is the elongated 'w'. Hamzic says it overlaps with the other initials to highlight the fact that the charity now works with partners, including the National Autistic Society and Leonard Cheshire Disability.
Purple has been added to the brand colours and the strapline "the experience to care, the knowledge to help" has been devised.
Hamzic says the charity, which employs 11 staff, is not concerned that the charity's name could backfire because of the negative perceptions of bankers. "People understand that bank workers are just ordinary people," she says.
Since the charity rebranded, according to Hamzic, the number of calls to its helpline has quadrupled.
EXPERT VIEW - LUCIE RAUFAST, DESIGNER, FIGTREE
Rebranding a charity aimed at helping bankers is a pretty tough challenge in this current economic climate. Going from Bankers Benevolent Fund to Bank Workers Charity is definitely a good start. It does what it says on the tin and, for a small charity's name, this is vital.
The new identity is much more modern and makes them look reliable and friendly. But the logo is questionable. The straightforward new name was screaming for a simple answer and the BWC symbol certainly isn't that. The elongated middle character looks like a lot of things but unfortunately none of them is a 'w'.
I even wonder if adding the BWC symbol to the logo is necessary at all. If a rebrand helps clarify an organisation's purpose and direction, surely its new identity should reflect a new-found confidence?
4 out of 10