by | Jun 26, 2024

Reflections from a rider: Dionne Sturdy-Clow

An inspiring review of SMK’s Campaign Carousel™ from Dionne Sturdy -Clow, Gift Aid Officer at Charity Finance Group, reflecting on her learning journey.

‘’It covers a broad range of topics which really help you gain a comprehensive understanding of campaigns.’’

I wanted to get into the charity sector as I am passionate about advocating for social change. When a campaign’s role came up at the Charity Finance Group, it was an opportunity to contribute to something tangible, hopefully for the better of the sector and the communities we serve.

I’m currently working on the #TickTheBox campaign, which started in 2018 and aims for charities across the sector to celebrate what they can achieve with Gift Aid, increase participation, and public understanding and highlight the value Gift Aid has in the sector – £1.2bn to be exact! Don’t worry, Gift Aid really can be more exciting than tax…

I’m now working to bring the 2024 campaign to life, getting feedback from charities, corporate partners, and other umbrella bodies to shape new resources for Gift Aid Awareness Day and find the best ways to get everyone involved.

My role quickly taught me that campaigning takes a plan! As someone new to the communications team, I was definitely new to the campaigns space.

I had done a single session with SMK around the core of campaigns previously, so when I had the opportunity to participate in SMK’s Campaign Carousel, I knew it was perfect for me. It covers a broad range of topics which really help you gain a comprehensive understanding of campaigns.

The Analysing the Problem and Planning for Change workshop felt fundamental to increasing my confidence in this space. The sessions cover the conceptual side of campaigning, give examples of other campaigns that have gone well or used a particular model for success and best of all, give you tangible tools that you can take away and apply to your work.

It has also been important to engage with the idea of speaking truth to power and how to amplify the voices of those you advocate for, rather than speaking for them. I had the honour of meeting Shaista Aziz, an ex-counsellor who lived by this, which was a real highlight!

I also think there is so much value in connecting with other campaign professionals in the sector, as many are facing similar challenges. There can be some solidarity there.

I have particularly appreciated tools such as SMK’s Problem Tree, the Social Change Grid, as well as Entry Point Mapping; the course came just as I was at the beginning of my campaign, so I was able to use the tools I was given in real-time.

With these three tools, I was able to feel more confident in my campaign’s core purpose, who might be best to collaborate with and where to start. The Entry Point Mapping tool felt very individual as after establishing where externally I could connect people to my cause, I had to make sure I was identifying and utilizing my own organization’s strengths too.

For my work on Gift Aid Awareness Day (Thursday 3 October 2024), I hope to ensure charities and CASCs can access every penny of funding available to them as we work to close the gift aid gap, helping them do their amazing work and deliver incredible services to their communities!

I’m passionate towards campaigners – you only have to read a few case studies with SMK to see that they can bring real tangible change to our society. I hope that with the right tools, my fellow change-makers can go and find success for their organisation and cause – every little bit of change is still a step forward.

Dionne Sturdy Clow

Dionne is Project Officer at Charity Finance Group, building her career in the charity sector and passionate for advocacy and social change.



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