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Spotlight on Barnardo's: integrating supporter journeys to improve the supporter experience

Updated: May 30

Barnardo's charity logo

In one of our Chase Index member workshops earlier this year, we heard from Mike Dore, Senior Integration Manager at Barnardo’s, about their One Supporter Journey initiative.


This new project underpins a vital part of the organisation’s vision: to ensure that every Barnardo’s supporter has a consistently excellent experience, across all audiences and products.


Thank you for sharing, Mike!



 


We’ve been a member of the Chase Index since 2019, tracking our loyalty scores across thousands of supporters and digging into exactly what makes them tick. Over the years, our results have guided us towards a valuable opportunity to improve our supporter experience - by growing supporters’ commitment to our cause.


About Loyalty’s research has shown that commitment is a key driver behind increased loyalty, which is linked to increased income over time. We hypothesised that, by focussing on practical actions to build a stronger emotional connection with supporters, we would be able to grow commitment, grow loyalty and by extension, grow lifetime value for every individual who supports our work.


Where to start?

Across fundraising, marketing, retail, volunteering and campaigning, we estimated there were more than 75 supporter journeys already shaping how each team at Barnardo’s engages with supporters!


We knew that we would need buy-in from many departments within the organisation to make lasting change. But we also knew that, by streamlining this vast number of supporter journeys, we would be able to work towards a more consistent, excellent experience for every individual – inspiring more people to donate, volunteer, campaign, shop and support us any way they can.


And so… the One Supporter Journey initiative was born!


We secured endorsement from senior leadership to include the One Supporter Journey (OSJ) project in the new 3-year strategy, marking it as a ‘priority change project’ within the Fundraising and Marketing teams. My role as project lead was created, alongside a technical lead to oversee the digital integration that would be needed to streamline our supporter journeys, and we officially launched in September 2023.


Taking these steps to align with the strategic vision for Barnardo’s ensured that we had the right structure in place to make effective change. We were able to raise awareness across the organisation and secure support from key stakeholders at an early stage in the process, which has helped to maintain momentum as we progress the project.


It has also been a great advantage to run this project alongside the development of our new audience segmentation, as the audience segmentation will help to inform the OSJ project and enable us to speak to supporters' motivations and values more clearly.


It's been a great advantage to run this project alongside the development of new audience segmentation, which will enable us to speak to supporters' motivations and values more clearly.

There’s no doubt that integrating supporter journeys will help us to work more purposefully, with less duplication of resources and therefore more capacity to deliver impact as a charity.


But most importantly, it can create a more collaborative and coordinated approach to engaging with supporters, which will go a long way towards creating a more personalised supporter experience.


If you’re about to embark on a similar journey, here are my five top tips…

1.      Bring stakeholders in at the right time. Consider which teams will be impacted by the changes this project will create, and seek feedback from them before making a decision which could affect their day-to-day work. For example, do you have a full list of who will be affected by moving from one email marketing platform to another?

 

2.      Manage stakeholder expectations. As an advocate for the project, I dedicated time to actively promoting One Supporter Journey across Barnardo’s – meaning we had a long list of interested parties who wanted to get involved! We had to prioritise the audiences with opportunity for the biggest impact and clearly communicate the risks associated with trying to do too much, too soon. However, managing expectations at an early stage means that we could factor in the involvement of other teams at a later date much more effectively.

 

3.      Roles and responsibilities need to be clear. Working in an integrated way means that you need to ensure the right people with the relevant expertise are in place, regardless of job title or team. This culture needs to be embedded across the project and teams, and making roles and responsibilities clear at the outset will help to achieve this.

 

4.      Know when to delegate, upskill or outsource. Consider what can be done in-house, which skills are missing that your team needs to gain, and where it would be better to bring in external support where there is budget to do so. This will save you a lot of time, down the line!

 

5.     Speak to someone who’s been there before! When I started this process, I reached out to people in the sector who were one or two years ahead of where we were for advice and guidance. This helped me to visualise what “excellent” would look like, and how we could achieve this with the OSJ.

 

Thanks to everyone who joined me for this workshop. It was great to share some further discussion with you afterwards, and to hear from those of you who are also reviewing your supporter journeys – or are seeking the buy-in to do so.


We’re pleased with what we’ve achieved so far, but we are still in the initial stages of what will be a long term, multi-year journey to becoming fully integrated with our supporter journeys. Phase I is now complete, and we can look ahead to the changes and challenges that await us in Phase II!



 


It was truly inspiring to hear from Mike about how much work has gone into prioritising the supporter experience at Barnardo’s. Alongside the refresh of their brand identity and the new three-year strategy, this project is a momentous opportunity to strengthen the connection between Barnardo’s and their supporters.


Supporter commitment grows when they can tell that you are genuinely aligned to the same vision and purpose as they are. By reviewing the messaging and means by which Barnardo’s engages with individuals at every stage of their journey, Mike and his team are well on the way to nurturing a loyal supporter base – a community who feels connected with their cause and empowered to continue supporting their work long into the future.

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