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Because of structure, not despite: joining up the supporter experience with The Children’s Society

As part of last year’s Loyalty Day, we welcomed Joe Jenkins, Executive Director of Social Impact at The Children’s Society, to share how charities can use their structure as a help, rather than a hindrance, to deliver a better supporter experience and grow loyalty across the organisation.

For Joe, driving change involved recognising that the organisation’s competing agendas, overlapping responsibilities and internal bureaucracy had led to a non-agile workforce at The Children’s Society - one which held back progression and limited learning.

“We need to be joined up in how we work, if we want to be joined up in [the] supporter experience.”

What happened next?

Following this revelation, Joe and his team looked at other organisations and models that had successfully overcome these hurdles. Over the course of 18 months, they created a knowledge-based model, which encouraged the sharing of information and expertise within ‘knowledge groups’ rather than more traditional departments and silos.

This system empowered people to unlock the potential of their collective outcomes. They created knowledge groups and communities of practice to deliver activities and share learning.

What are the benefits of a knowledge-based model?

Here’s a just few of the reasons Joe outlined on Loyalty Day for adopting this approach to learning:

  • Teams are broadening and deepening their knowledge, intelligence and expertise by joining knowledge groups with colleagues outside of their directorate.

  • Removing some of the bureaucracy that comes with a hierarchical model means that work is faster, easier, more fulfilling and more impactful for teams.

  • These groups also unlock potential for colleagues to develop personally and professionally alongside their role.

Whilst still a work in progress, adopting a knowledge-based model at The Children’s Society has led to a more responsive, resilient workforce - one that is much more able to adapt to a changing external environment, and where teams are realising the potential of being more than simply the sum of their parts.

How does this link to loyalty?

At About Loyalty, we know that providing an outstanding supporter experience is key to nurturing satisfied, committed and trusting supporters. By removing some of the internal barriers to collaborative working at The Children’s Society, Joe’s team have enabled the easy sharing of best practice in supporter engagement across the whole organisation.

Project learnings and valuable supporter insights are no longer ringfenced to a single fundraising team, which ultimately leads to a more consistent and excellent experience of the charity for all supporters.


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