Doing ACE work with The Children's Society

One of the reasons Rally exists is that we believe fundraising needs a reboot. While we aren’t going to claim that particular channels or techniques are dead, we do believe that strategies of the future require new ideas and fresh approaches in order to engage the public at scale.

And thankfully we’re not alone!

Joe Jenkins and Natalie Dendy at The Children’s Society (TCS) think in a similar way to us. They have the ambition of building a community of people around TCS who share their values and who will take the actions required to deliver TCS’s mission to ensure children are free from disadvantage.

The strategy to do this had been developed, but the key question was where to start! Often the first step towards delivering new ideas is the hardest one to take. Working with Natalie and Joe we came up with a plan for TCS to take that first step.

Natalie, Director of Supporter Giving & Engagement, said “We’re really committed to driving forward a new approach to attracting supporters at TCS and we knew that implementing it would require us to work differently. So Rally and PDG were the perfect choice to come in, shake things up and help us take those first brave steps towards our vision.”

The plan was simple, bold and ambitious.

We handpicked a team of four from around TCS to sit in the ‘Agile Christmas Engagement’ team - or ACE as it quickly became known.


ACE’s objective was to test engagement approaches online that would rapidly provide a series of learnings and data points to influence the delivery plans for the new strategy.

ACE was given time, a budget and most importantly the autonomy to make all the decisions needed to drive the project forward. That’s right. No sign off from anywhere other than those in the group.

We were asked to come in to lead the team, provide a framework to work within and ensure everything planned was grounded in best practice. Of course we said yes.

Between mid November and Christmas 2018 we worked with the ACE team to conceive and deliver a huge volume of activity, all of it online.

We ran a workshop to capture ideas from all corners of the organisation and to set the project’s parameters.

We created a series of test hypotheses that would give TCS learning to fuel the new strategy.

We tested new tones of voice and uses of content, new ways of delivering engagement and new methods for the public to take their first steps towards becoming a TCS supporter.

We tested with existing audiences and created new ones to approach with our activity.

In 7 weeks, we created a data and insight driven experimental culture that gave TCS valuable insight into their future supporter attraction strategy.

TCS now have a series of hypothesis with learning against each of them that they can now take forward, refine, repeat and find the path to scale.

Joe Jenkins Director of Supporter Impact & Income, said “I’m delighted with how ACE turned out, it shows that if you take steps to simplify processes, integrate teams and give them more responsibility and accountability, it’s possible to take large steps forward and amass critical learnings”.


All images provided by The Children’s Society: © The Children’s Society/Declan Slattery