Home-Start Family Services is a not-for-profit organisation that helps children and families thrive by providing practical parenting support & training, family case management and community connection. They work in NSW and VIC and are part of Home-Start International.

Project Overview

Home-Start had been badly burned by another digital agency that promised them the world when it came to building a website. They got an online template framework and a bunch of How To guides and were left to try and work it all out for themselves.

Without digital marketing or communications skills in-house, the staff were floundering. After 18 months of trying to build a website on their own, they were finally connected to us by their IT provider.

Home-Start runs on the smell of a borrowed oily rag, so despite knowing they needed professional help, funding was tight. The organisation receives some government funding but much of their work is funded by grants. The funding officer said to me when we started the project “When they ask us to put our url on a grant application, I always leave it off because our website is so bad”.

Home-start The Marketing Side
Home-start The Marketing Side
Home-start The Marketing Side

What we did

We started the project from ground zero, taking the time to understand the breadth of services they offer and how that differs depending on the needs of the community in each area, and the funding they have in place.

With Home-Start workers distributed across locations in NSW and VIC and a broad range of programs, it was a major challenge to create dynamic content that showed the correct offerings in the right locations. We also needed to build a site that was easy to update and change as events, locations and service offerings came and went. We gathered and wrote the stories of families’ experiences and also what working with the organisations has meant to volunteers. A key component was making it easy for people to make a referral to Home-Start if the needed assistance. Like ant NFP, a portal for donations was also part of the build, alongside information for people who were keen to volunteer.

We knew demonstrating the impact of the organisation was going to be a key part of securing funding and grants in the future, so they became a major focus.

Initially, Home-Start’s budget was so tight, the website went live with graphics and simple stock imagery. We did some basic work on refining and expanding their logo and branding. Initially, there was very little to work with and what we did have wasn’t particularly child or family-friendly.

Once the website went live, the effect was immediate. As well as causing the CEO, staff team and volunteers to tear up with pride every time they looked at the site, there was a more vital, deeply satisfying financial impact.

“We’ve never had so much money! Every time I put our website on a grant application, we get approval! It’s so wonderful!”
Not only had we built a site that made it easier for people to get help, by showcasing the amazing work they do and quantifying their impact, we’d increased their income and helped them serve more people.

Subsequently, we’ve done a full-day photoshoot with kids and parents that’s given Home-Start amazing photos to use across their website, digital platforms and internal training resources. Plus we’ve collaborated on a video project that shows the value of volunteering, is used on the website, as part of their internal training and was featured at the Home-Start International conference in Malta.

In 2024, Home-Start have become an ongoing client as I continue to work with them each month in a small capacity as a Marketing Consultant.

Home-start The Marketing Side

What our client said

After a bad experience trying to build a website with a different company we were thankfully led to Jodie and the amazing team at The Marketing Side. Jodie got to know our organisation and the people within it. She’s passionate about building you a product that makes you happy and is great value. The team are ethical, creative, professional, highly skilled and a joy to work with. Thanks to you, Home-Start now has a fabulous website that’s user friendly and beautiful to look at. We put our trust in this team and have been rewarded. I’d recommend The Marketing Side to anyone.
Home-start The Marketing Side
Michelle McDonell
CEO at Home-Start