Terence Lovell is Chief Engagement and Marketing Officer at the blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan. He started his career on the first-ever graduate trainee programme at Barnardo’s. From there he moved on to Save the Children for five years, where he was responsible for the launch of Christmas Jumper Day and his time there culminated in a role to jointly lead the supporters and communities department. Prior to his current role, he was Director of Development at Teach First.
It’s not all about what a supporter can do for us. When we talk about ‘supporter value’ we are really trying to shift the mindset from “what value can a supporter bring to Anthony Nolan?” to “what value can individual supporters derive from us as a charity?” And that might be about information we provide, it might be ways that we engage, activities we offer, and everything in between. It’s also about how we tailor the experience around the individual and really understand their motivations and needs.
We want to create passionate advocates. What is really important for organisations to crack, is “how do we enable our community to want to champion our work to inspire their community too?” And then, “how do we then further build relationships with new people?”
The coronavirus has forced us to be more creative. Undoubtedly, coronavirus has changed the world for all of us, and the impact on fundraising and large-scale events has been really significant. At Anthony Nolan, we have been massively impacted by the cancellation or postponement of fundraising events. From large fundraising events like the London Marathon, and our Daisy Ball to local groups and individuals that bring together their communities to raise funds. We have seen, and I think we will continue to see, some really great creativity both from the teams and also from our supporters in how they have moved into an online space. I’m excited to see how we can use what we have learned over the last six months to help further engage and retain a sense of community within more virtual and digital settings.
You must cherish supporters. We are so grateful for every supporter that has stayed with us through this period and continue to financially support and enable us to keep our life-saving work going. Without them our work wouldn’t be possible, which is why we need to really cherish those supporters and build that relationship further.
We shouldn’t be on the back foot. As we have sadly discovered through this pandemic, the critical role that charities play should never have been placed into question. Actually, we are a core part of the whole social ecosystem, and we should be seen as that. So that raises the question: how can we build that and renew ourselves more strongly as organisations?
We need to truly innovate. As a sector, we have continued to share best practice and learn. But to innovate, and I mean truly innovate, I would love to see the sector think way outside the box of things that we have done to date; we need to do more to challenge ourselves.
Words from me will not always have the best desired impact. Let’s say you want more young black men on the register, how you are going to inspire them to look into it? We need to engage with those young black men in the right way, where they are. We need to talk with them and understand how we can best connect. What would they say? How would they describe what we do? I would really love to further embed supporters’ voices in all our activity. It makes me challenge us more and more now as I have reflected on that.
Saving lives is not a bad job to be doing. Every day, three people who need a lifesaving stem cell transplant get a chance thanks to Anthony Nolan. Without us, working with potential donors, partners and supporters there would not be a cure, or that possibility for them to have a second chance of life. And from my perspective, having the opportunity to give people that hope, is really, really powerful.
You can follow Terence on twitter @tejlovell and Anthony Nolan @AnthonyNolan
Cause & Effect is a series from Hope, in which leading figures who have been involved in building and promoting good causes tell us what they’ve learned from their experiences. Interview by Michael Isaacs.