Stewarding a growing charity through a period of digital transformation.

NACOA, the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics, are a national Bristol-based charity founded in 1990 who address the needs of young people growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcoholism. Our work with NACOA is a story of digital transformation. Through not-for-profit work and funded grants, we have built up their capabilities in the digital space to help them support the children of alcohol-dependent parents. 

Evolving NACOA’s digital services

Over the last eight years, Modular has supported and collaborated with NACOA on a number of projects, and we’ve developed their digital services from a basic website to the interactive, content-rich digital platform that exists today. Beginning with some branding work and a simple, static website, we went on to develop a new, multi-purpose flagship WordPress site with companion campaign sites incorporating message boards, online resources, live chat, and an e-commerce system for online donations. 

Launched in 2020, NACOA’s new site was their first fully functional content management system, which gave them far greater control over their content than they had previously. Incorporating e-commerce donation and membership mechanics, together with many other functions  – including a campaign sub-site for the annual Children of Alcoholics week – the new website marks the start of a new period in NACOA’s transformation in the digital space. 

NACOA - making a difference with emotional design

Developing a fully interactive service

Initially, NACOA used a traditional phone-based support helpline. By working closely with the team, we have helped them extend their reach within an online community through incremental steps. We achieved this by creating audience-focused digital resources, interactive message boards, and an online chat service. In 2016, NACOA took on another similar charity’s message boards. We took on the maintenance and upkeep of these boards, allowing continuity for existing users. Over time, we gradually phased out the old platform, replacing the boards with a newly designed feature inside NACOA’s own site which provided much better consistency of brand and improved user experience. We also integrated and configured new digital mechanics to ensure trust and simplicity throughout the sign-up process. 

Emotional, Trauma-informed design 

We have worked closely with NACOA to understand and appreciate the circumstances of their audiences, making sure that these are taken into account in every aspect of the website design and build. Diverse needs are accounted for, and trauma-informed design ensures that user needs are met with content laid out in a sensitive and clear fashion.  For example, we built a tool which enabled NACOA to list lived experiences posted by users as individual, blog-style articles. This also allowed us to tag them with themes, which in turn can be filtered by people on the site. This meant NACOA could feature individual experiences by themes, such as Christmas, summer holidays, and so on. A search feature was also added to facilitate access to the ever-growing list of experiences. This has become the most frequently used section of the site, with an average audience participation time of 10 minutes by visitors.

Expanding NACOA’s reach through digital transformation

One of the most significant and positive metrics accompanying the launch of the new website was a significant increase in both online donations and membership sign-ups, which has had a huge impact on revenue and opened up new avenues for NACOA to influence change and to grow as an organisation. Adding a personal element of reassurance and community to the site, we have also been continually developing a shared ‘experiences’ section to the site where users can communicate and share lived experience. Along with the various new features we’ve created which make publishing and managing their content in the CMS easier, this has revolutionised the way NACOA can deliver support to the children and young people who need it.

Amazing team 

To be honest, we could not have done anything without the help of the amazing NACOA team. We are constantly astounded by the continued energy, passion, time and dedication they commit to NACOA. Their pledge, ”You are not alone” drives everything they do. It was front and centre of the website and continues to drive their digital ambitions. We love this website because not only does it have heart and soul, it has buckets of love and care baked into it as well. 

If you are looking to Launch a new website or have an existing website that needs Adopting, reach out to Emma on 07584 652 285 or email for an initial chat.

We can talk about what you need now and in the future so we can develop a strategy to Sustain and Nurture your site for years to come.

Emma Millington

Emma Millington

Head of Customer Relations - Passionate about demystifying tech so we can all speak the same language