Our name change makes headlines

Mon, 25/02/2013 - 12:15 -- ashlee

An article about our name change to centred has made the home page of Third Sector.  The Third Sector article can be accessed here
Read the full Q&A with Third Sector below
Why is Kairos changing its name to centred?
We agreed that the name Kairos was problematic several years ago – for reasons that have gradually increased with increasing technology issues – people often cannot spell it when they hear it, and so enter it incorrectly into searches. We always liked the ancient Greek meaning of ‘perfect moment’, this was also complicated by the religious meaning, which linked us back to our early days, when we were indeed linked to the Methodist Church. centred is no longer a spiritual or religious organisation and changed its charitable objects a long time ago in this regard. Nevertheless, there was still confusion. It is also not great to share your charitable name with other organisations.
Two years ago we went on a journey of enquiry with friends, family and participants and agreed upon centred as a truly classic name for all that we aspire to as a community organisation. This was a concentrated piece of work with the intention of a full re-brand indicating wider strategic change.
centred sounds grounded and is emotive. We hope it embodies our equalities principles and our commitment to work across a wide diverse LGBTQ community, friends, family and allies. The process of exploring a new name was very enlightening, and people that took part reported that they appreciated the process. Their input gave us a lot in terms of look and feel for the future brand.
Have you had any problems before with the name Kairos? What were the consequences?
Just as described above – administrative and association issues.
What does the name centred stand for?
As our strap line says, it is about being different, equal, together – the name alludes to the need sometimes to centre oneself as an LGBTQ person, when various prejudices and oppressions throw you off; it is about coming together (all at the centre, rather than on the perceived margins) as a very diverse community of queer people, a community often perceived as quite homogenous; centred is about working together as deaf, disabled, Black, Asian, older, younger people, and people across lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer communities. And centred is about our purpose, to create aspirational spaces – where temporarily or permanently people come to share what is positive about the community, learn, challenge, feel affirmed, be creative, as organisers, activists and arts activists.
What has been the cost and the process behind the name change?
For a relatively small charity (5.1 FTE), it has been a long and highly creative process, which reached its pinnacle with the legal change in June 2012. Funding for any VCOs own infrastructure has become harder to achieve, and so processes such as these often cannot be given top priority. It has also been a positively challenging process – I recommend it. All of the discussions we have had to have moved our thinking and ideas on and brought people into discussion that we might not usually hear from. The name feels recognisable, and some how ‘well known’ – people have been saying ‘oh I have heard of you’ when we only announced the name quite recently.
In terms of cost, we desperately needed a new website anyway – and have not been through this process for ten years, we have gone for a Drupal open source platform, with a Civi CRM CMS to follow shortly, so have kept the costs down there (design and build of the open source site, plus design work £5,500). As with many brilliant and creative smaller organisations, we have a talented designer in-house, though this is not his main role, and so design costs have been kept relatively low and the process has paralleled who we are, our values and what we do closely. Also, during the past few years we have really stepped up in terms of disability knowledge, access and inclusion, so going through these processes have encouraged us to improve our communications generally. We still have a way to go, but the re-brand process has really helped that work. We like to think we were quite creative (fingers crossed) by using guidance from Companies House and Charities Commission, we managed the processes with both very efficiently, and so no external legal costs were incurred; and funders have been very accommodating. Our small but significant family of donors (4% of income) have been very loyal in changing over their standing orders. Time would be very difficult to cost, but in total, over the two years, I would probably estimate at £10,000 in time. Almost all of these processes however, are processes that improve access, performance, and I would strongly argue, morale. The new name is a breath of fresh air – the team has very much pulled together behind it: board, staff, volunteers and stakeholders.
centred has recently published its London LGBT Almanac 2nd Edition; we sell this publication to raise funds to distribute it free to the sector.