Making a difference and finding purpose through volunteering

Tom Simmons

Following redundancy, Tom used volunteering as an opportunity to make a creative impact.


I’m Tom, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of WYS communications. I’m a creative problem solver. Throughout my career I’ve delivered integrated creative campaigns, brand identities, marketing strategies and engaging brand experiences for a diverse client portfolio ranging from start-ups to global brands including Puma, Bacardi, JD Sports, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Johnson & Johnson, Standard Chartered Bank, TCL Electronics and more.

I’ve previously sat on advisory boards and have lots of professional experience working with charities and non-profits. I wanted to volunteer as at the time, I’d recently been made redundant from a previous agency, so had both the time and expertise to make a difference.

Finding the right role to make a difference

I was looking for a role that matched my skillset so I could make an impact and in turn, have an experience that would give me a sense of purpose. I wanted to find the right place where I could make a real difference.

Through Reach, I found a voluntary role as Creative Lead at Cancer Education UK (CEDUK) – a start-up cancer charity educating and supporting people from BAMER and low socio-economic communities. When I saw the role, I knew I could add value. I’m an advocate for equality and challenging disparities and CEDUK shares that ethos. Everyone should have access to the same quality of healthcare.    

Improving the charity’s brand and communications

The charity did not have a consistent visual style, and the content and messaging were not designed to engage with their audience. I worked with the founder, Mary, and a team of volunteers to help the charity rebrand and redefine their vision.

We developed a refreshed brand guide including new logo, colour palette, a revised tone of voice, a new meaningful strapline, a positioning statement, clearly defined services, and an application guide.

This helped build a more credible organisation and provided a strategy and kit of assets for the team to bring cohesion to their communications and become more reactive in the future.

Finding purpose and adding value

My advice to anybody thinking about volunteering? Go ahead! Identify somewhere where you can offer real value and then both the charity / non-profit and yourself will reap the rewards. That value isn’t exclusive to practical skills. It can be because the organisation supports a cause you’re passionate about or have real life experience in, an area that requires a skill you want to learn and experience.

Be honest with both yourself and the organisation about your commitments and choose somewhere you’d be willing to offer a level of commitment that will benefit you both. There’s a great sense of purpose from making a difference and seeing the impact you have as a volunteer.