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New year, new beginnings

Updated: Jan 30

The start of a new year is naturally a time to take stock, a time of change and new beginnings; not only of the seasons as we leave the darkness behind and look forward to spring, but also in terms of hope and intentions for what we will do – what we can achieve personally, how we can grow within the workplace, and what things we will leave behind.


This brings to mind a talk that really struck me, given by Shahida Aslam, Director of Operations at the Helena Kennedy Foundation, at Loyalty Day 2023. Shahida spoke about our need for kindness and kind leadership – that being nice shouldn’t be seen as a weakness but rather something we can all incorporate into the way we work. I took from her insights the benefits of treating people more empathetically in the workplace and how being kind to our colleagues reflects on how we as a team then treat our clients and supporters. And then, importantly, how loyal they may become as a result of how we behave towards them.


I’m resolving to adopt this in my work. My new mantra is:

“Kindness is something to cultivate.”  — Shahida Aslam

Shahida told us about the integral ideas of gratitude, being intentional and consciousness, and reminded us that you can be nice and be a leader. She went on to highlight how leadership strategies that centre around kindness can transform charitable organisations and grow supporter loyalty. We’ll be exploring more around this in our work this year – about how kind leadership is about putting people before the process and that’s the same with our supporters.


“Kindness or being nice shouldn’t be seen as a weakness.” — Shahida Aslam

Shahida expanded on this, sharing how leaders are meant to be compassionate yet we expect them to make difficult decisions. A leader can be empathetic, and a key point is that being nice or kind in our behaviour shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, far from it.


While we fully recommend you view the inspirational video of Shahida’s talk, we want to recap in brief the integral ideas she sets out:  


Show gratitude

 “We need more kindness” — Shahida Aslam 

It’s important to show appreciation for the efforts of our colleagues, teams and supporters. Shahida went on to say that charities rely on goodwill to help grow supporter loyalty so we need to show genuine gratitude, and when we thank – we need to mean it. We should acknowledge the contribution of others and be authentic. Her remarks will resonate with many of you as the topic of thanking supporters comes up regularly in our seminars. Is our gratitude genuine and heartfelt? How can we be more authentic in our thanking? I’m sure we’ll be covering this further in our discussions, blogs and webinars moving forward.


Be intentional

“Spirit of helpfulness.” — Shahida Aslam

As kind leaders we should be good listeners. Be genuine and when we do have to tackle the hard things we should do this coming from a place of love. The feedback sandwich is a great model to adopt – talk about the great things, tackle the hard thing (with love) and then share something amazing. And Shahida touches on what many of us may try to do with staff around how we give feedback, yet how often do we genuinely put this into practice when it comes to our supporters? How can we listen more to what they say and tackle the hard issues from a place of love.


Be conscious

“Confident leaders lean in more to their kindness.” — Tracey Pritchard

As conscious leaders, Shahida reminds us that we need to understand the impact of our decisions. Treat everyone with respect; be humble – acknowledge our mistakes; support and mentor our team; be human and transparent and recognise that sometimes tough decisions have to be made but frame those conversations.


“We need empowering kind leaders to help us create empowering communities” — Joe Jenkins

So let’s head into 2024 with purpose and show some kindness to ourselves and our staff. The kinder you are to your people, the kinder they'll be to supporters.


Want to find out more about how we can help you grow supporter loyalty? Please do get in touch


Be kind,



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