Henshaws – a northern charity


Henshaw’s is among Manchester’s oldest charities, having supported people living with sight loss and other disabilities for over 180 years. In 2017, Henshaw’s made the decision to introduce new customer relationship management software that could evidence the charity’s impact and help secure future funding. Bubble played a key role in collating research information, helping Henshaw’s find the right solution for their specific requirements.


In 2017, Henshaw’s began making changes to their digital provisions, creating the Knowledge Village, an online collection of videos, blogs, eBooks and other resources that offer expertise, tips and useful information for those experiencing or working with sight loss and disability.

To enable the Knowledge Village to function effectively, reach the target users and analyse important data, Henshaw’s needed the right CRM package to underpin the project. Previously working from spreadsheets, the team required a system that would streamline practices and help ensure they could spend their time where it was needed most.

As the charity’s former software package was due to expire, there was some urgency in sourcing a replacement that could cover all bases in terms of functionality and value for money, while being compatible with systems already in use.

With his background in IT, Bubble director Don Phillips joined the working group to assist in identifying the best solutions for the charity’s needs.

The overarching priority was to identify and implement a system capable of:

Assessing data and proving the impact of the charity’s work

Collating information that could be anonymously monetised in the future

Streamlining working practice to free up time and generate efficiency gains

The process

With Don taking a guiding role, the working group assessed the pros and cons of various CRM packages, both off-the-shelf and bespoke. Considerations included how the CRM package would integrate with the systems already in use at the charity, as well as what kind of data could be
measured and how easily new users could be onboarded.

A key system requirement was the ability both to measure the impact of Henshaw’s work and collect data to show how and where funds are used. This data would then evidence further funding as well as fulfilling the charity’s reporting obligations.

It was decided that the system needed some bespoke functionality for bookings while being user friendly, ensuring that staff would no longer need to work from complicated spreadsheets. A budget was set, funds were raised and a reputable IT company was sourced by Don to carry out the implementation.


The process began in 2017 and by early 2019, the new CRM system was up and running. The package has changed the way staff at Henshaw’s work, driving efficiencies and streamlining working practices.

As well as easing the process of getting new users into the system, the new CRM package also ensures that the charity is complying with GDPR regulations and its reporting obligations.

For Henshaw’s, being able to show impact was a key priority; evidencing the effects of the charity’s efforts can make all the difference when writing proposals for funding. The new system both measures the impact of the charity’s work and collects trends data and other information that could be monetised over time, providing a potential additional revenue stream.

Meanwhile, the Knowledge Village has become an invaluable resource; around 60 new users sign up to the newsletter each month – and the figure is rising. Bubble was delighted to help Henshaw’s deliver on its ethos of supporting people living with sight loss and other disabilities to go beyond expectations.

About Henshaws

Henshaws provide expert support, advice and training to anyone affected by sight loss and a range of other disabilities. You can find details of their full range of capabilities, services and products by visiting their website

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