Case Study: DogsTrust

Original Date: October 3, 2017

Lyssa Gagné
7 min readAug 3, 2019

Executive Summary

This case study is to compare the design results in the 2008 Dogs Trust Annual Report to similar design solutions by animal welfare charities around the world. Dogs Trust was established in 1891, originally known as the National Canine Defence League. It is one of the largest animal welfare charities and humane society in the UK which specializes in the well-being of dogs. The main goal for the charity is to rehabilitate dogs that are abandoned or given up by their owners and rehome them.

There are several outreach programs that Dogs Trust maintains; freedom, hope, neutering, youth education, and overseas. Started in 2004, the Freedom Project offers free fostering services to families fleeing domestic abuse by offering their pet a safe place to stay until they reunite. This service is offered in the Greater London area and has helped 1100 pets. Over 20 years, the Hope Project has been supporting dog owners who are either homeless or in a housing crisis. The service offers advice and free veterinary care to dogs. The program also offers advice to hostels welcoming owners and their dogs.

The problem is finding design solutions that are impressive and give members value for their money but fit within the charities budget. This extends into finding cost-effective platforms to get their messages across. Marketing and design terms will be used in order to address the problems outlined in this case study. Such as marketing analysis, marketing strategy, marketing plan, and target audience.

Key points in the case study are finding a way to convey information easily, engaging, and affordable to a wide audience. Anthony Oram takes the information supplied to him by Dogs Trust and designs an impressive annual report. This report is a balance between an effective cost and design solution.



The main problem faced in the case study is finding a way to convey the charities information easily while being engaging and affordable. Majority of charities run on a limited budget, or none at all, and rely heavily on donations. In this case study, Oram has developed a design solution that is effective by using the copy, photography, and theme supplied by Dogs Trust. However, the case study fails to elaborate on the expenses and time spent completing the design of the annual report. It goes on to mention one Dogs Trust member giving feedback on the design of the annual report, “praise the design team for the ease with which she found the information, including the level of honesty and openness about the Trust’s finances” (Designing for the Greater Good, p. 86). (further explain the reason for this quote maybe)

Dogs Trust is a non-profit organization with the majority of excess revenue going to the dogs that they help. The expenditures and expenses from 2006 to 2007 can be seen in appendix A showing no drastic change.


Dogs Trust publishes a free Wag! Magazine three times a year with 650,000 members receiving it. Publishing a magazine can be costly especially a free magazine. There are various areas that costs are allocated when it comes to publishing this can be seen in appendix C with shipping and distribution being the most costly. Statisa states the average single copy of a U.S. magazine in 2006 is $4.46 US converted to £3.39 and in 2007 $4.53 US converted to £3.44. To publish the Wag! magazine freely for 650,000 members in 2006 (Appendix B), the cost could be around £2,203,500 and £2,236,000 in 2007.


The problem is Dogs Trust is looking for a way to convey their information in a design that is easy to understand, engaging, and affordable to the organization. There are a couple solutions that can be addressed for this problem. The first solution would be to continue to pursue designers that are willing to donate time and money towards the organization. Designers would be motivated by goodwill by designing for the greater good. Yet designers are only willing to donate so much of their time and for so long.

The second solution would be find the money and use either a design studio or marketing firm to conduct a proper marketing analysis, marketing strategy, marketing plan, and design. This can help reduce the cost and time spent doing unnecessary marketing for the organization. This would allow the organization to open up to a larger customer market that can boost membership donations and legacies.

If the organization is limited in funds publishing a free magazine may not be the best solution. To reduce cost, Dogs Trust could look at volunteers to help pull together the magazine. To counter the high costs of shipping and distribution, Dogs Trust could place ads from external companies in the magazine.

The best way to market their organization is through digital means by using social media marketing strategy as this allows them to reach out to a larger audience in an inexpensive way. This includes maintaining an internet marketing presence such as a website and connecting it to active social media accounts. In order to stay relevant, Dogs Trust needs to maintain research and monitor results of campaigns. If Dogs Trust fails to stay relevant or maintain its internet marketing presence membership and donations will gradually deplete

Another solution would be to build upon their current app by adding up to date ads, members having the ability to adopt a dog or donate in-app, have rewards for contributing in-app, and adding a live stream of current fostered dogs. The benefits of having a live stream allows the audience the opportunity to connect to the personality of the dogs.


Dogs Trust is looking for a way to convey information in a way that is easy to understand and engaging with the design being cost-effective. Anthony Oram’s design appears to be the best solution but there isn’t much evidence to back this theory. There is no evidence to support the design as being a perfect balance between saving money for the organization and giving members value.

There are various solutions presented in this report such as designers willing to donate their time and money towards designing for the greater good, outsourcing to marketing, using social media marketing strategy, and improving their current app to engage with members more.


There are three solutions that should be explored by Dogs Trust such as using a marketing firm, social media marketing strategy, and improving their app. Using a marketing firm will help Dogs Trust understand the right marketing materials and platforms needed in order to get their message across. As well, knowing their customer database and marketing towards their customer needs. Social media marketing strategy will be the most inexpensive way to get their message across to a larger audience. This will help bring in more donations and legacies. The more cash flow into the organization the more they can help pets in need, market educational material, and support their projects. Lastly, improving their app by adding key features can help bring in donations and even get more pets adopted out.


In order to proceed, Dogs Trust should consider doing a market analysis to find out their demographic, target market, market need, competition, barriers to entry, and regulation. Once that has been completed creating the marketing strategy, the thinking process, and marketing plan, executing the process, go hand in hand and without both resources are wasted. Implementation is merely taking action to achieve the goals in the marketing strategy and marketing plan. The marketing strategy can evolve into the social media marketing strategy. Just make sure to always monitor the results and stay relevant.

In order to improve the current app money will need to be spent. Appus, an app design, has a max estimate of $15,600 U.S. The estimates are based on a six-page app utilizing images, video, and a payment system. The breakdown of costs is outlined in appendix D. However, there are app developers out there that could cost between $75 thousand to $1 million U.S. The app can be seen as an investment for Dogs Trust as it has the potential to reach a larger audience and pull in donations from anywhere in the world.


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DogsTrust. (n.d.). Home Page. Retrieved October 3, 2017 from

DogsTrust. (n.d.). Outreach Projects. Retrieved October 3, 2017, from

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Hodge, S. (2008, Sept. 12). 10 Ways to Take Design Action and Make a Positive Difference in the World. Envatotuts+. Retrieved October 5, 2017, from

Statista. (2017). Average Single Copy Price of U.S. magazines from 2000 to 2011 (in U.S. Dollars). Retrieved October 10, 2017, from

Top, P., & Cleveland, J. (2010). Designing for the Greater Good: The Best in Cause-Related Marketing and Nonprofit Design. New York, NY: Collins Design.

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Yumpu. (n.d.). Download the 2008 Annual Revie Dogs Trust. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from



Lyssa Gagné

A Graphic Designer helping small businesses with brand solutions, visual marketing, and creative strategies.