Non profit challenges: Does charity transformation ever work? – PODCAST

In our latest podcast, we explore why charity transformation projects often fail and offer tips to ensure successful delivery.

Non profit challenges: Does charity transformation ever work? – PODCAST

In our latest podcast, we explore why charity transformation projects often fail and offer tips to ensure successful delivery.


Meet the authors

Ruth Wilkinson

Sustainability, Purpose and Impact Lead

Sarah Rigby

Principal Consultant

Simon Blosse

Principal Consultant

Join Sarah, Simon and Ruth in the latest episode of Never Mind the Pain Points where they discuss: ‘Does charity transformation ever work?’.

The trio delve into the challenges that the charity sector is facing today, why many charity transformations fail, how agile ways of working can help deliver quickly and why starting with the impact that you are trying to achieve and communicating effectively is the key to success.

Listen here or read on for an edited transcript.

Hello, and welcome to Nevermind the pain points, a podcast dedicated to helping you unlock your business challenges. Pulling on our network of clients, partners, experienced employees and industry experts we wanted to share with you our views and opinions on common business challenges. As a consulting firm that deals with these pain points on daily basis we thought we were well placed to give insights on addressing these challenges. Enjoy the episode.

Sarah Rigby: Welcome to today’s podcast where we’ll be discussing: ‘Does charity transformation ever work?’. I’m joined in the room today with Ruth and Simon my colleagues, I’ll let you both do an introduction.

Ruth Wilkinson: Sure. I’m very excited to be talking about this subject today. It’s very close to my heart. I am a consultant at Clarasys specializing in sustainability and social value, but I’ve also worked exclusively in the charity sector before I joined Clarasys so have seen lots of charities, do strategy and transformation work.

Simon Blosse: Hi everybody, I’m Simon Blosse I’m a principal consultant here at Clarasys and I specialize in customer experience transformation and large-scale digital transformation. So hoping to bring that perspective to the conversation today.

Sarah Rigby: Cool. Thanks, Simon and Ruth. And finally, I’m Sarah Rigby. I’m also one of our principal consultants and look after our not-for-profit portfolio in Clarasys. Absolutely love working in the sector have been working here for about two and a half years with both small and kind of national charities and really, really enjoying it to date.

So if we just start by actually just talking about what’s happening in the charity sector today, what challenges are they experiencing? Which means that actually they are forced to transform as an organization?

What challenges is the charity sector facing today?

Ruth Wilkinson: Well, I think probably one of the biggest challenges that charities are facing is the kind of post-COVID world of struggling with funding.

Lots of charities have become very lean through COVID lots have made lots of redundancies, and they’re now trying to meet their mission and purpose and work towards that with fewer staff and more restricted funding.

Sarah Rigby: Yeah, it’s a really interesting point Ruth about delivering to their purpose and mission.

I think one of the things that we’ve seen with a lot of our clients is being able to actually measure that impact, having the data available to do so, and really having that informed decision making to make sure, or kind of ensure that they’re spending the money in the right places. That’s something actually, which is quite a challenge because that data can be quite limited or actually just nonexistent today.

Ruth Wilkinson: That really impacts, I think how the public perceives charities, what they hear and read from the charity sector, the people that they support and also how funders and the kind of public sector perceive charities, lots of charities get supported by local governments, local funding. And so if they can’t prove the difference that they’re making, that’s probably gonna be an ongoing struggle to compete for ever diminishing funding pots.

Sarah Rigby: And Simon from a customer experience point of view, what problems do you see, or challenges that charities are facing today in terms of the experience that they give their customers, which can mean quite a breadth of people in the charity sector?

Simon Blosse: I think the challenge that the charity sector particularly gets is that there’s an expectation to have the same standards of experience, no matter whether they are a charity organization compared to a business and I think in that context, the cost to deliver what a business can do for a charity is often a real challenge for them to meet.

And I think building on the point around the current funding being really restricted, it gets harder and harder to actually deliver to the expectations for both those benefiting from the charity, but also for those who are looking to support them and see their improvements. And I think that’s where the challenge comes in from a digital perspective as well especially -to give that experience that’s at the level of expectation costs a lot of money. And then there’s a challenge, I think about that money not going to the beneficiaries of that charity.

Sarah Rigby: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a really, really good point. I guess, touching on that, you started to talk there about digital transformation, just from your own experiences why do you actually see some of these transformations failing?

Why do a lot of charity transformations fail?

Ruth Wilkinson: I think one of the biggest challenges is the charity might know the need. They might see where their problems are. So they might know we need a better CRM, or we need a better website because we are losing people, we’re losing donors because they can’t engage with us. But the investment required to update that is so huge and to actually bring in the right people to do that, so to bring in a project manager, to bring in the right project team, to make the dedicated capacity within your existing team, to help you deliver that transformation, requires money. And so it’s almost a vicious circle that they can’t get that upfront investment possibly because their board of trustees isn’t behind it. Doesn’t kind of buy into the transformation or the need for it, or that they’re just not willing to take the risk and spend that upfront to transform, which is a really massive challenge. And I think if the better charities can do at kind of making that investment and then proving its success, the more likely people will be to be confident to take that forward.

Sarah Rigby: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. And I think as well from the charity clients that I’ve worked with a lot of the time, some of these charities who’ve been around for over a hundred years, the way they’re set up is a real difficulty for them. It’s similar in corporate clients as well, where you’ve got different departments operating in silos, but I guess the pressure for charities to be able to run more efficiently and effectively and work more collaboratively across the organization is a real challenge. If actually the way your operating model is set up prohibits you from doing so.

Ruth Wilkinson: I think there’s also a piece around people in the charity sector and kind of attracting talent to the charity sector. There is a perception that people work for a long time in the charity sector, so they become kind of boots under the table. And aren’t, aren’t necessarily kind of committing, which I think is, is a dangerous perception to follow because that’s not been my experience at all, I’ve worked with some really, really talented people, but you do have to pay at, at a level to attract that talent and to keep them. And that is obviously an ongoing challenge of the sector. And if you’ve got that talent then you can drive transformation much more effectively, because it does require really strong skills in change management, in project management and, you know, making things happen in a complex and funding-restricted environment.

Simon Blosse: I think the other interesting thing there is, it’s definitely something you see when you look at digital transformation is the pace of change that you need to keep up with. When you look at what customers expect, in this case, when you look at what your funders are expecting or what those who are benefiting are expecting from you. The pace is so fast and I think when you haven’t got the type of people that appreciate that pace of change is going to only increase or accelerate, it becomes very hard for projects to actually deliver what they want in the end, because by the time it’s being delivered, it’s moved on way too much and actually the expectations have moved on. And I think that particularly impacts the charity sector because it is a new thing to have to keep up with that pace, to keep up with the pace of digital transformation, digital change, because before it was a little bit more known as a beast. And I think that’s where you really have to focus on getting the right support, the right talent that understands that otherwise you’ll end up investing a lot of money and then ending up delivering something that still doesn’t meet the need, way too late.

Ruth Wilkinson: Do you think there’s a piece around the charity sector? Everyone working in that space is so focused on their mission and purpose and delivering that. And do you think there’s a sense that digital transformation is actually almost a distraction or actually transformation anyway, is almost a distraction from that core purpose of delivering mission and purpose?

Like often charities will say, for every pound we raise, we spend 97 Pence on our service that we offer for our beneficiaries. And there’s a suggestion that that three Pence isn’t spent on something useful. And transformation is where that three Pence is going towards. Like, do you think there’s a tension there?

Is transformation a distraction from charities delivering on their mission and purpose?

Sarah Rigby: I think from my personal opinion, you can’t separate them at all. You’ve got to see digital transformation as an enabler to enable you to achieve that mission and kind of stay aligned to purpose. Saying that I think you have to be really, really clear on what that mission is and why your organization exists. And from some of my experience working with charities, it’s not always crystal clear, which means you then get misalignment across the individual charity. And that actually makes transforming harder. So I think you have to have that clarity alignment before you can really get into the depths of a transformation, ’cause actually it’s gonna be even more challenging if you don’t have that.

And I think to your second point around, you know, from an external point of view, hearing I’ve donated one pound it’s actually not going to someone it’s going to effectively the organization to improve themselves. I think that is, that’s a really, really hard message and difficult for some people to swallow. However, I think internally you’ve gotta think about the long term and the sustainable part of the organization that you do need, to some degree, investment to make sure that you can survive for longer and actually you can still be around for your beneficiaries and ultimately to deliver on that mission that you set out for.

Simon Blosse: I think there’s a really key point there around being clear about what the transformation is delivering. I think that applies no matter you are a charity or in the private sector. And I’ve seen so many transformations end up failing, not because they didn’t set out with the right intentions, but they didn’t connect it to actually what the business was trying to do. And I think in the charity sector, that is essential because you’re going to have to communicate that not just internally, but with everybody, all your funders and say, look, we are doing this because we want to provide a better service for those that benefit from us. And to do that, we need to take probably more than three pence out of that pound and put it into this program because then we can make that pound do way more than it’s ever done before.

And I feel like that’s where you have to really think about the tying for your message of your transformation, to the culture of your organization, but also of what your funders are expecting. And I think that’s the message that you can apply from business, but also I think is the answer to really getting focused success.

Ruth Wilkinson: I totally agree with that. And I think that I’ve seen organizations approach transformation, very hierarchically. And actually, I think the charity sector has quite strong hierarchical cultural tendencies. And so it often feels for people on the ground, delivering the service, really committed to the mission and purpose of the charity that their senior leadership team are kind of handing down information about the direction of travel that they haven’t participated in. So I guess big advice that I would share would be try to make it as collaborative as possible. If that transformation is needed, how can you kind of empower your teams from the very ground level upwards in that transformation and being a part of it and kind of being ambassadors for that? They’re also probably the people that are talking to your funders and people in the street, if they’re doing face-to-face fundraising and they can explain why it’s so important to invest in that, and they’ll be able to make it a much more effective lead delivered message hopefully.

Why working agile can benefit charity transformations

Simon Blosse: There’s something that we always talk about, which is delivering in an agile way in Clarasys. And I think this applies so much to this area because if you aren’t focusing on delivering early wins in your transformation project it’s very hard for people to buy into this actually delivering value or benefit. Therefore, if you look at your programs that I’ve seen in charity sector that fail, they tend to be very much focused on we’re gonna do this in two years. And in two years’ time, we’re gonna have that. And that that’s a long time for people to think about, let alone to support for that period. Things change. We’ve seen the world change quite a lot as well. And I think the answer to that is to really try and look at how you can deliver early on certain aspects of your program that give people that incentive to go, oh, this is actually changing the benefits already. This is helping our charity be better. We’re getting more money in, or we’re getting more focus or we’re getting more results, but you have to think about how you can slice your programs into different ways to do that. And I think that’s quite a new thing. For a lot of the charities that we’ve seen to actually think about is how to deliver a large program in a very agile way.

Sarah Rigby: Yeah. I think you must have been in my mind Simon, cause I was literally just going to touch on that as well. And I think in terms of Ruth you mentioning earlier about boards of trustees being comfortable with spending money. And I think that kind of brings the two points quite nicely together because you know, quite a few of people who are on boards might not necessarily have come from a kind of a business background they’re there because they’re just so passionate about the cause.

Why is communication so important in charity transformations?

So being able to understand or kind of tell that story to an audience who actually might not be very familiar with big transformations themselves, is really important. So being able to tie it back constantly to the impact you’re trying to have, and actually being able to communicate with them, how can you turn the dial on that? And it doesn’t mean you have to invest in a big program from the outset it’s what’s gonna have the biggest impact to the impact you want to deliver in the quickest way. And being able to communicate that in a really simple digestible way is really, really important. If you wanna kind of, I guess, unlock additional funds going forward for that transformation.

Ruth Wilkinson: I think to build on that there are trustees out there who have got strong business backgrounds, but don’t see the charity as a business. And you almost have a different mindset I think where you come to a charity and think this is a specific thing, you know, there’s lots of debate about whether or not CEOs should be paid as much as they are and things like that but fundamentally my opinion is that charities should consider themselves like businesses. Businesses that are driving social value and making the world a better place. And if trustees can come to it with that mindset, they might be more likely to look at transformation projects and programs as a really worthwhile and important investment.

Sarah Rigby: So to add to that point, what we hear a lot from our clients is that there’s a lot of activity going on in charities and not really knowing what that translates to in terms of impact. So a great example is one of our healthcare charities. Because COVID hit, they had to completely shift what they were working on. They also had a big transformation program running at the same time, put a lot of pressure on their people and in reality, they just couldn’t do everything. So being able to take the time to step back, look at all the different pockets of activity going on in the organization and thinking what is, once again, really gonna turn the dial on that impact. And being okay with the fact that you can stop or pause things. You don’t have to keep running because, in the grand scheme of things, it might not get to what you’re trying to deliver as a charity is really important.

Ruth Wilkinson: I think that is so important to do, but I think culturally, there’s such tension with doing that because everyone that’s working in that space can see the need. So like they can see that the second they stop and pause something, people are gonna lose out. People are gonna suffer. And when you make a decision where someone’s life is gonna get worse because I’ve made this decision, I can totally see why, you know, and that’s why charities tend to grow really organically and new programs come in because someone delivering a program sees an unmet need somewhere else.

And they’re like we’ve just got to plug this gap because it’s immoral not to. We have some resource, we can do something to make these people’s lives better, or, you know, whatever their charity’s working towards. And it does end up kind of spiralling and your organization ends up being so big and you’ve got loads of kind of sporadic activity that might not actually be making as positive an impact as you could make if you were really focused on really core activities. But I can totally see why it’s so hard to do that because it feels very ruthless. It feels like you have to say, no, we are not gonna help you today. We’re gonna pause. We’re gonna stop. We’re gonna rethink. And we might not actually help you in the future. Someone else needs to help you. And that’s a horrible decision to make.

Simon Blosse: Are there ways that you’ve seen charities communicate this kind of thing better or haven’t communicated it in, in the worst cases? I’m just thinking around your point there that the key thing is to understand what’s going on, why it’s going on and how we’re improving it, because then you can go, okay, I can cope with leaving that one scenario because actually by us investing this month or this year in terms of this, we’re gonna be able to do so much more. I just wonder if there are ways that charities could communicate better how their programs or projects need to change the way they’re working in a way that’s gonna help benefit in the future.

Ruth Wilkinson: I think there’s two pillars to that. There’s communicating that internally to the people that want to do that work in that space. And that is something you can engage with at a more developmental level. Cause you can kind of sit down with your colleagues and say, ‘this is why we’re making this decision’, or even, you know, ‘these are our options available to us. This is going to have these consequences. This is gonna have these consequences. How would you take this forward if you were me?’. And then there’s communicating that to the people that are gonna lose out the beneficiaries for whom you might be stopping to support. And I think the best instances I’ve seen of charities doing this really well is where they’ve worked with partner charities to fill gaps and where, in some cases they’ve actually merged charities. So I’ve seen quite a few charities come together and merge, which is really, really excellent because there are lots of charities and lots of overlapping spaces, and they always compete against each other sometimes, which makes it really hard for beneficiaries to know where to turn to for support. So those strategic ones where they’re not thinking, you know, two CEOs who come together and they know actually one of us is gonna be leading this merged charity, one of us is gonna be off doing something different. That’s a really selfless way to actually improve the landscape for their beneficiaries, but I think the internal comms has to happen first before you do that and start to kind of do the, the externally facing element.

Simon Blosse: And so what about the donors? Is there any communication that should be done to them or given to them to help them understand how their money is going into this program. If they see that there’s a transformation going on, is that helpful or is it better to keep that as something that’s internal?

Ruth Wilkinson: You have to be really careful because donors will give restricted funds. So they will say I’m giving you this amount and it is specifically for this thing, ’cause I’m passionate about it. So absolutely. You’ve got to manage the relationship there. I’ve found that if you sit down and have a conversation and explain your reasoning and take them through that journey, they are almost always supportive because they care about your mission and purpose.

I’d say involve them in that conversation. If you can involve them in the kind of thinking around it, ask their thoughts, involve them because they’re interested and they care, and they’re likely to support you for longer. If they feel like part of the decision. However, there are gonna be a certain level of donors where you haven’t got the capacity to engage them. So if they’re donating a certain amount and under, you’re probably not gonna be able to sit down and talk to them, and that is where you might have a kind of wide scale movement of your donor body. And that is important to think about how you communicate that on a bigger scale through your newsletters and things. But again, as much as possible, I think at best, it says I’ve seen where CEOs have done a video or something, or even like a podcast where they’ve explained to donors the direction of travel and what they see happening and invited them to kind of do Q and A and things really make it about engagement, not one-way communication,

Sarah Rigby: I think as well, the communication piece is really important when you hear transformation, you think of something big and scary and it’s going to take lots of time and you get to the point where actually, it feels that you’re never gonna just be running kind of as business as usual. So I think it’s really important to both of your points, being able to stop and pause and actually celebrate when there has been a shift or kind of that step change. So it doesn’t have to be this year long program. And we’ve all gotta solve it until the end of the year. It’s actually being able to step back and recognize and say, within two months, and it may be something really small it may be a change on the website, but actually it means it’s easier for people to donate money or it’s easier for beneficiaries to find the right support. I think it’s still really important to be able to kind of acknowledge they are small changes, which contribute to the bigger impact, but it’s opposed to having to wait for the end of a program because that can be quite big for some charities.

Ruth Wilkinson: Do you think that speaks to the agile point? And I think we should unpack the agile a bit more because I’m thinking now I work in this space and have used agile project management I can totally see how it’d be amazing. But if you’d had asked me six months ago before I joined Clarasys where I just worked in waterfall project management in strategy and transformation in the charity sector, I wouldn’t really have known how to look at a big transformation and find a way to slice it. Like the charity sector’s not set up to do that. Leadership I think would struggle with that approach. Like how would you recommend someone in that position to kind of approach being agile in transformation?

Starting with what impact you’re trying to achieve can help you deliver

Sarah Rigby: I mean, I think it’s definitely something that I’ve experienced with charity clients cause it’s uncomfortable. You don’t have certainty of the end deliverable output, whatever you wanna call it and therefore I’m putting my money towards something I actually don’t know what’s gonna be delivered. So I think first of all, just acknowledging, being transparent with how is it going to feel. How is it gonna be different to say some existing waterfall projects which might not have failed or you might have paused halfway through because of budget issues? So I think it’s first of all, taking it back to the impact. So what impact are you trying to have? And that can help you prioritise how you deliver it. So if you take something such as beneficiaries, if you think you could use something like a Pareto  80 20 rule, if you are trying to impact certain types of beneficiaries, it might be you focus more kind of on the majority in terms of what you’re delivering so that you can start to deliver something to the 80%, which is the majority, not your 20% of beneficiaries, which may have a bit more kind of nuance and exceptions to the rule.

Ruth Wilkinson: I really like that concept because, and even you could take it beyond the 80 20, and you could say let’s segment our beneficiary base here based on how they engage with us. And so we know that say we are trying to improve our beneficial experience at a call centre base so they call us for help and we know that we segment them based on why they call us. And we pick the one, that’s got the biggest percentage of people in, so they call us because they have these specific needs and then we run the process, right? So we say like, okay, what are the pain points when they call us? What are they not getting from us that they need? What are the opportunities to make this experience better for them? And you run it with just that segment and to the end to implementation. Cause that would’ve been so alien to me if you’d said that to me. I would’ve been like, no, no, you segment them all and you work it all out and you do the whole journey for everyone and then you implement it all in one massive go and everyone’s brains explode because they can’t make that change happen all at once.

How to slice a charity transformation project up to deliver quickly and why it’s important to do so

Sarah Rigby: And there are so many different ways that you could kind of slice it. It might be by beneficiary type, or if you think about that end-to-end journe. A great example, me and Simon are working on something together at the moment and we are hearing from beneficiaries that it’s really kind of that initial part of their journey. So figuring out where to get support in the sector and what support they need to get. Once that’s identified, there might be a few bumps along the way in terms of receiving that support, but it’s relatively okay. So you could just focus on that first initial step in the journey. And that’s a different way to slice it than beneficiary type, but there’s a load of different ways that you could break down a transformation so it feels less scary and you can see the value and your trustees can actually have confidence in what you’re doing as well.

Simon Blosse: I couldn’t agree more. And I think there’s something interesting here around how that then helps you sell the concept of transformation because the reason people get scared by the word transformation is because, as we say, so many fail, and so there’s so much money that can get put into a project and then nothing really materializes that’s visible to people.

And I think what you can do to slice your program in an effective way is really think about what have our beneficiaries been telling us what have our donors been telling us that is a key message that we can almost cling onto and go, right we are gonna make sure that that changes really quickly. And we can showcase that as being stage one of our journey on this big transformation, it could be a particular type of caller coming in. It could be a particular step in a beneficiaries journey. If you really focus your energy on that as an initial hook and then actually land it, it’s amazing how much less people start challenging you about a transformation that, oh yeah, we can see there’s something happening, there’s a change already in the way I’m able to enter my data into to get help. It’s so much easier for me to contact someone that can help me. I feel like there’s a journey you’re going on and you can start using that as a way to both communicate success, but also to get people to get buy-in internally within this whole transformation project.

Transformation is constantly evolving

Ruth Wilkinson: Do you need to almost live by a mantra that it’s not never finished, but like, I think that’s the perception because we aim for business as usual that we’re like, right, we know we need to change this huge thing. We’re gonna do an end-to-end, finish this in a year kind of thing. And at the end, we’re gonna tick it and say, yes, customer experience, done. But in that sense, you almost need to say, we’re not gonna finish this ever. We can always improve it. So we are gonna take the highest impact thing that we can do, chunk it down and take that through the process so that we’re constantly adding value and making it better, but you’ve got to be able to acknowledge that it’s not gonna be over.

Simon Blosse: Exactly. And I think that was that point I was saying at the beginning about how expectations are changing so rapidly and digital is just changing so rapidly. So all of that comes together with this never-ending challenge. So you have to somehow put your stake in the ground and go we’ve made a change happen along the way. And be not fearless as such, but just be a little bit brave about, we don’t really know what’s going to be needed next year, but we need to make sure we’re keeping up with the pace of change, we’re keeping up with what’s expected of us as a really good charity organization, much like any business is having to do, just stay in the game. And I think that’s the key message here is like, as you say, there’s no such thing as, oh, we’re gonna get to that state and then finish all our projects now because we can just be in our standard business as usual, and nothing else is gonna change. I think that’s a new message really as well. I think there’s a lot of expectation. Oh, we can just become leaner. We can just get our processes sorted. We can just deliver what the basics are and then we can run. It’s not gonna be like that.

Why consider the beneficiary journey throughout Charity transformations

Sarah Rigby: Yeah. And I think building on your point as well, Simon, you touched a lot there about the journey, the beneficiary journey, the donor journey. I think being able to, you know, we always look at things through that lens. So when we would advise charities to do that as well, the reason you are transforming is for your beneficiaries. So being able to see everything from the eyes of a beneficiary, and, you know, if we changed or tweaked this process, what impact is it gonna have on the beneficiary? That really helps as well prioritize where do you put your efforts. Because there might be some things which would be nicer if they were fixed from an internal point of view, but actually, is it really gonna have the impact to your beneficiaries? If it isn’t, I’d challenge why are you investing in that.

Simon Blosse: I think there’s something really important there as well about the many faces you have to provide when you’re running your business or running your charity. But in this case, during your transformation, you have to think about all the different faces you are facing off to when it comes to your donors, your beneficiaries, and tailoring the message about what you’re doing. And also what benefits you’re giving to each of them is a real success when you do it right. Because then people go, okay, I can see how my money is now gonna be used better if I’m doning or I can see how I’m gonna be getting more support if I’m a beneficiary. If you give out the same to everyone, it doesn’t really make sense and also loses their interest. And I think there’s something you can also do there, where if you want to really work out how you engage back to your point about maybe doing some Q and A’s with your beneficiaries, if you then bring them into that, they then feel part of that program and then you can actually use their voice as much as your own to really help drive the success stories ’cause they can be like, yeah, I came up with this idea and look, they’ve done it. It gives you a real kind of human touch to a transformation program that can often be forgotten.

Ruth Wilkinson: A massive area of development in the charity sector is how to be led by your beneficiaries. How to really, we add this kind of different terminology used, but the words that I’ve always used is like co-production. So how do you produce your work with the people that you are there to support? Because there are so many cultural challenges around representing your beneficiaries when you might not have lived the experience and talking about them as victims and creating a sense of negative perception when you talk to donors and the public about the people that you support. So the more people can do that, the better. I think there’s a challenge around that in that we’re talking about applying a business mindset and, you know, being at the kind of transformation end of stuff, and being agile and delivering project management and to actually effectively engage your beneficiaries in that will be really challenging and it will take additional time and effort. So it’s gonna have to always be a balance between what you can feasibly do versus what you actually think is the best option for your organization.

Okay. So we’re coming up towards the end of our time on this podcast. I thought maybe to finish, we could do ‘what are our top three tips that we would give to someone listening today who is thinking about transformation in their charity?’.

Top tips for charities thinking about transformation

Simon Blosse: I think I’d say my top tip is definitely to think about who you are doing the transformation for. And then really focus in on shaping it around those initial wins for that person or those types of people. Because then that gives you that success story that I mentioned that really gets both interest, but also you can then use as a real message to give both internally and externally.

Sarah Rigby: My top tip would just be to keep it simple. So don’t try and boil the ocean. Don’t try and do everything, cover every single situation and scenario, because if you do that, you risk never actually delivering on something. So keep it simple and start as soon as you can. Stop talking about it.

Ruth Wilkinson: Mine then is I think communication is absolutely key. Take the time to think about how to engage people effectively in your transformation and engage with your comms team definitely. But the more you can talk to people internally from the ground up and your beneficiaries and your funders about your transformation, the more support and energy you’ll get and the better ideas you’ll generate as well.

Sarah Rigby: Super. Thank you both for joining us today and thank you to the listeners out there as well for listening to us, if you wanna discuss any of this, get our thoughts kind of beyond this, please reach out to us at Clarasys. We’d love to speak to you.

Ruth Wilkinson: We have a dedicated not-for-profit email, which is where you can get in touch with us to talk about all your not-for-profit transformation interests.

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Never mind the pain points. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe on your favorite podcasting app or site. We would love your feedback. So please leave a review or drop us an email at and for more information about us, visit our website

Do you need help with a charity transformation? To learn more about how we can help the not-for-profit industry transform, please get in touch.

Want more? 

READ: What does agile change management look like in practice?
LISTEN: Why is considering customer experience in digital transformation essential? – PODCAST
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