These heroes are paving the way for innovation in the sector

Innovation spaceship

Adam Bryan | 25 July 2017

I must say how impressed I am by the radical transformation the RNLI are going through. Far more than a move to opt-in, they are dramatically changing the way they operate as a charity, as well as how they raise income.

Not only have RNLI dispersed their centralised fundraising department into business units, they also moved away from data driven fundraising. 

Some say it’s easy - they can afford it, although they did the maths and worked out that if they continued as they were the funds would run out in five years. What they did do is look hard at how they can make a difference as an organisation and they made some difficult decisions. 

Following a lean business strategy with a steely commitment from staff and senior stakeholders to change, RNLI’s journey hasn’t been smooth sailing, and I’m sure they would admit to making some mistakes, but these go with being a genuine innovator. 

RNLI are only partly through their journey and it's certainly not for everybody, (but what is these days), we wish them every success. 

Whenever I hear about inspiring fundraising, the team from Open are never far away. 

They were the 'fundraising brains' behind the first Facebook Live 'telethon' for ACLU, featuring Tom Hanks, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. A modern-day telethon aired earlier this year using Facebook Live, with a potential global audience of billions to raise funds for the organisation that has been legally challenging much of Trump’s political agenda. ACLU have now been nominated for an Emmy Award for their fabulous efforts.

You can watch the Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU video below:


Open also supported fundraising for the heart-warming concert in aid of the victims of the terrible Manchester Arena attack, raising funds for the British Red Cross.

Ali-Walker, from Open, featured in our first Facebook Live stream, discussing the emergence and importance of DIY Donors (#FREDtalks launched with partner Be Inspired Films). 

Leadership, diversity and innovation are words we hear a lot in this day and age. This story has all these elements and has resonated with me. It features the Danish restaurant, Noma, widely regarded as the best on the planet. The founder, Rene Redzepi, recently announced they were promoting an employee of 14 years, Ali Sonko, an immigrant to Denmark, to be a co-owner of the company for being the ‘heart and soul’ of the establishment, and for his ‘enduring smile’. A lovely way to recognise and reward loyalty and it shows that kindness and compassion have a place in being world class.

Adam Bryan, Director of Partnerships and Innovation


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