Helping more children start their day with a healthy meal
We talk with Emily Wilkie, Head of Fundraising at Magic Breakfast, about how Rebecca, Flo and the team at More helped them scale-up their work to meet rising demand.
What was your challenge at Magic Breakfast?
Our mission at Magic Breakfast is to ensure no child starts the school day hungry. At the time we spoke with More, we provided breakfasts to children in 470 schools directly, and had also taken on a huge government-funded programme which over 2,400 schools subsequently joined. Yet we knew that the state-funded programme would be coming to an end and the only way to continue helping those children would be to scale-up our fundraising significantly. The pandemic had led to many more children needing our support, and shone a media spotlight on child hunger. We needed some external help to understand how we could prepare ourselves for growth, make the most of emerging opportunities, and become a truly fundraising organisation. Thanks to the far-sighted investment of a good friend of Magic Breakfast, this was made possible.
How did Rebecca and Flo help you?
We brought in Rebecca and Flo from More to conduct a thorough review of our existing fundraising. They got to work – interviewing a number of internal and external stakeholders to really understand what fundraising meant to Magic Breakfast and how we had got to where we were. It was so valuable, and we hadn’t actually done anything like it before. They also helped us future-proof the organisation for fundraising through an audit of the systems and infrastructure that we had in place.
What else did they do?
We needed a clear story to tell our donors, so the team brought in Ben to help craft our case for support. The process of putting this on paper allowed us to step back and identify gaps in our big picture thinking and strategy. The team helped us recognise that we needed to position Magic Breakfast as part of greater, more systemic and lasting change in the care system, and the risks involved if we didn’t.
What stood out for you at this stage?
Talking with our external stakeholders and funders as part of the review, and in response to the case for support, was incredibly valuable. We were able to hear from the individuals and organisations who mattered to us about what Magic Breakfast meant to them, why they gave to us and, crucially, what held them back from supporting us on a much greater scale. That analysis gave a really clear insight for our internal strategy, but it also helped our trustees and senior management understand the importance of those relationships.
How did the team at More support you to get results?
More’s collaborative coaching style really shone through. Flo, Rebecca and everyone at More harnessed the insights of the Magic Breakfast team and included those in their suggestions, so that there was a collective rather than dictatorial voice to the solutions. That really came to the fore in the workshop on our supporter journeys delivered by Jonathan and Rosie. They were able to share external perspectives from other organisations while also listening our views, enabling us to develop and implement a new supporter journey together.
How did the team support your mass giving?
Of all our work, we were probably least equipped to understand the potential for growth of our individual giving fundraising. As part of this, Jonathan carried out a survey of our existing supporters and their motivations, as well as a look at our systems and data capture, to ensure we weren’t missing opportunities. The work showed that a significant portion of our mass giving supporters aren’t aware of our campaigning for lasting change, yet they are attracted to Magic Breakfast because of their outrage at the problem. It really sharpened our focus on incorporating all aspects of Magic Breakfast into the narrative, so that we also talk to supporters about creating long-term change.
What was it like to work with More?
Everyone at More was really supportive from beginning to end. It was very clear that everybody really cared about the outcomes of the work and about how they were going to be used by Magic Breakfast. There was never a sense of ‘we’ve been contracted to do this and so therefore we have to’. It was more: ‘we really want to ensure this is of value to you and that you have the tools you need to succeed in the future’. Everybody is a leading expert in their field, whether that’s cases for support, individual giving or institutional change. It was very motivating to be working in partnership with people who held a high benchmark for the work and believed in our ability to deliver on it. The pandemic could be quite isolating for people working at charities, so to be part of this network with links to other organisations helped ensure that we were aiming high.
What was the impact – for your fundraising, and for children?
The work forced us to recognise that we were at a watershed moment. We had some fantastic supporters who really wanted to work with us. But to unlock all the opportunities out there, we really need to focus on future-proofing our systems, building our strategy and investing in stewardship. If we didn’t pay attention to fundraising, we weren’t going to raise the money to support all the children who needed us. As a result of this work, we’ve increased fundraising substantially, and have doubled the number of schools that we support. We’ve invested in gaps in our systems, such as overhauling our GDPR processes, integrating our databases and improving our CRM. We’ve also been able to deepen relationships with our most senior external stakeholders and partners, such as Amazon and Heinz. Trustees are more trustful, engaged and involved with fundraising and they’re more willing to open up their networks. And all of it means more children will get the healthy food they need to start their school day.
I feel really proud to have played a part in Magic Breakfast’s success over the last few years. What they do is extraordinary. And Emily is extraordinary, too. She was doing a mammoth job at a crazy time, but has great instincts. She listened and responded to everything we said, and put it into action, too. It meant our advice could go much further. Fundamental to the success of this work was her ability, with our support, to engage trustees and senior leadership in fundraising.
Partner, More Partnership
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