We’re hiring!

28 July 2022

Join our team to help create a society where all young people can thrive in life, not just in exams. We’re currently hiring for the following positions:

  • Head of Partnerships Development
  • Marketing and Communications Manager (Content and Storytelling)
  • Marketing and Communications Consultant
  • Fundraising Consultant

Head of Partnerships Development

Reporting to: Development Director

Direct reports: None

Contract:  Full-time, Permanent (or 4 days/week, if desired)

Location: Hybrid working between Paddington, London and remote

Salary: £50k – £55k (pro-rata), depending on experience

We are looking for someone to attract, nurture, convert and develop funding relationships and opportunities with organisations in order to grow the impact of Big Change. 

Application deadline: Midday on Tuesday 30th August

Interview dates:

  • 1st round – Monday 5th September
  • 2nd round – Monday 12th September

Marketing and Communications Manager (Content and Storytelling)

Reporting to: Development Director

Direct reports: None

Contract:  Part-time, Permanent (3 days/week / (0.6FTE)

Location: Hybrid working between Paddington, London and remote

Salary: £38 to £45k (pro-rata), depending on experience.

We’re looking for someone to engage and build support from our key audience of supporters and donors. This includes working closely within our Development Team and alongside our Impact team to both source stories and content to support their work.

Application deadline: Midday on Monday 22nd August

Interview dates:

  • 1st round – Thursday 1st September
  • 2nd round – Wednesday 7th September

Marketing and Communications Consultant

Can you help Big Change to create a cross-organisational marketing communications strategy, one that helps build a common understanding of who we are (across all of our audiences), what we stand for, what we do and why they should support our work? 

The Big Change MarComms team would like to work alongside a marketing and communications consultant to develop a new strategy. They will help to create a roadmap to achieving our planning goals, including objectively evaluating our MarComms activity and the planning work already started/considered.

Ideal start date: Early September

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Fundraising Consultant

Can you help Big Change unlock the potential of cold prospects that are beyond or within our current networks to create a society where all young people can thrive in life, not just in exams?

We require the services of a fundraising consultant to assess our current prospecting approaches and help us to identify new efficient methods.  This could include an objective review of our current methods and pipelines; recommendations for pipeline growth & development; and recommendations for prospecting tactics

Ideal start date: Early September

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.


Head of Partnerships Development | Role Description

Reporting to: Development Director

Direct reports: None

Contract:  Full-time, Permanent (or 4 days/week, if desired)

Location: Hybrid working between Paddington, London and remote

Salary: £50k – £55k (pro-rata), depending on experience

Background:

Big Change was founded 10 years ago to rethink how charity could be a catalyst for positive change. Since then we have been learning by doing: backing pioneering projects at an early stage that are setting young people up to thrive in life, not just in exams.

We’re now embarking on bold new areas of work to transform our education system, including an ambitious, multi-year collaboration with other funders and partners in the sector. Our commitment to these big ideas requires us to work collaboratively with forward-thinking and influential donors and partners who understand the need for long-term system change. This new role will be responsible for building and stewarding relationships with corporates and trusts and foundations, and to build networks with other funders to co-fund our system change work in education. Some of our existing funders include the LEGO Foundation, Paul Hamlyn, Esmée Fairbairn and Blagrave.

Big Change is a small, collaborative and supportive team of around 15 people. 100% of our team believe their work has a positive impact on well-being and society. We set clear expectations and celebrate the successes of teams and individuals. 90% of our team would highly recommend Big Change as an employer. Have a read of what our team members have to say about working at Big Change here.

Overview of our benefits:

  • Annual personal development plan and L&D allowance
  • Cycle to Work and Season Ticket Loan schemes
  • Flexible working
  • Free lunch! (when in the Battleship office)
  • Pension scheme with up to 5% matched by Big Change
  • Monthly phone allowance
  • Unlimited leave
  • Volunteer days

As we are incubated by the Virgin Group, Big Change employees receive access to a range of Virgin Group benefits, including Virgin Tribe membership (access to deals and discounts across the Virgin Group and beyond), internal events as well as additional learning and development opportunities.

Role Summary

The purpose of the role is to attract, nurture, convert and develop funding relationships and opportunities with organisations in order to grow the impact of Big Change. 

The role holder will be responsible for engaging and managing effective relationships with major trusts/foundations, corporate partners and sector peers. They will research and map potential funders, develop attractive propositions, nurture prospect relationships, create compelling bids, deepen ongoing relationships and report on the impact of Big Change’s work.

The Team

The post holder will be joining at an exciting time in the team and organisation’s development as we significantly grow our impact work. There is scope for them to shape the role, define the role of partnerships within the organisation and the strategy of the Development team. The Head of Partnerships will sit alongside a Head of Community who leads on our Strive challenge events, Catalyst and Next Gen Catalyst Circles (funding core costs) and a Fundraising Executive who supports the team. The Marketing and Communications function also sits within the Development team and is made up of two managers who develop engaging content, plan and coordinate marketing and PR activities to support fundraising and the impact team.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

Leadership and oversight

  • Co-develop (with the Development Director) a partnership fundraising strategy to further build and engage a network of trusts and foundations, corporates and other funding organisations who share our values and could be funders, partners and allies in our work over the long-term. Create and execute a delivery plan that can bring the  partnership fundraising strategy to life. 
  • Contribute ideas, constructive challenge and funder perspectives to the evolution of fundraising strategies for the three key areas of work for Big Change in the UK – Subject to Change (a national initiative to transform education), the Big Change Prize Fund (a £1m annual fund that will back leaders who have bold ideas with transformative potential) and Big Education Conversation (a national and international campaign for conversations exploring the purpose of education).
  • Work closely with the Development Director and wider development team to ensure that the income generation goals are achieved.
  • Work closely with the Impact Team to understand our impact goals, the projects that deliver them – as these are what we need to raise funds for – and spot emerging fundraising needs/opportunities. 
  • Ensure that manageable processes and a KPI framework are the basis for fundraising performance management, incorporating measures and approaches that protect and replicate Big Change’s entrepreneurial culture.

Partnership development and stewardship

  • Provide a creative and rigorous stewardship approach that develops long term commitment from donors, including working with the Development team to create a series of engaging events and opportunities for funders to get to know us and our work. 
  • Strengthen relationships with existing partners by unearthing and acting upon opportunities to deepen/increase support and providing, where possible, opportunities for their involvement in Big Change’s work beyond their initial gift.
  • Support Big Change’s leadership and board, as well as key ambassadors, to cultivate relationships with donors and partners.

Prospecting and new donor development

  • Develop and deliver an approach for identifying and targeting new business opportunities.
  • Cultivate and convert relationships with new business prospects by developing a strong case for support and bespoke proposals and pitches.
  • Co-develop and co-deliver (with MarComms and Impact teams) a programme of engagement activity and communications which raises awareness of and interest in our work to key prospect groups.
  • Develop, refine and manage the pipeline of donors and prospects, championing the use of the CRM system (Beacon) across the team.

Reporting, finance and governance

  • Work with the Impact team and funders to set up the necessary monitoring and evaluation requirements and provide engaging and timely reporting to donors.
  • Support the Development Director to coordinate, track and report on fundraising progress against targets, preparing reports for the senior leadership team and Board.
  • Ensuring fundraising activity, prospect research and donor relationship management is compliant with legislation and best practice.
  • Work with the COO to incorporate realistic central and thematic budget forecasts into the fundraising process, monitoring income against these forecasts and focusing fundraising on emerging gaps.

Other

  • Other duties as may be reasonably allocated by the leadership team or Board, from time to time.

Key Stakeholders

Internal

  • Development Director (line manager)
  • Impact Team leads across key areas of work  (e.g. Subject to Change)

External

  • Funding partners & prospects
  • Subject to Change strategic and delivery partners
  • Prize Fund strategic and delivery partners

Knowledge, Experiences and Core Competencies

Skills and Competencies

  • A fundraising and partnerships mindset with the ability to identify opportunities, understand funders needs and develop creative partnership ideas which meet the requirements of both the donor and reflect Big Change’s role as a catalyst for change.
  • The ability to work across teams to identify opportunities for business development and innovation through funding partnerships.
  • Expert at building relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, working closely with other team members to identify when they need to be involved to enhance and lead on the development of certain relationships.
  • A brilliant communicator with first-class bid-writing skills, capable of working with others to share complex ideas verbally, visually and in writing.
  • A strategic, process-led individual with very high attention to detail.
  • Ability to prioritise and manage own workload, meet targets and milestones, proactively highlight challenges, and take responsibility for personal development.
  • Creative thinker who challenges assumptions on how things are done, while being pragmatic and action oriented.
  • High levels of computer literacy, as well as proficiency in donor / CRM, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Essential

  • Significant experience in a fundraising and/or partnerships role. 
  • Proven track record of stewarding relationships over the long term and securing significant investment from trusts or corporate partners.
  • Experience working in organisations/on programmes or initiatives seeking to create long-term, ambitious changes across or within systems.

Desirable

  • Experience in the youth or education sector
  • Previous experience of establishing and supporting donor collaborations.

How to Apply

If you’re inspired by what we do, and have the skills and experience to take on this role, please apply via email to jobs@big-change.org and include the following:

  1. CV (max 2 pages)
  2. A short cover letter (max 1 page)
  3. Please also complete this short Diversity, Equity and Inclusion monitoring form

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

We’re keen to ensure that all of our opportunities are accessible to everyone, so if you have any specific circumstances or accessibility requirements which prevent you from completing an application online, please contact us by email on jobs@big-change.org and we’d be happy to help. 

Approach to Diversity 

We aim to put diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do, from the young people and project partners we work with to the way we behave and operate as a charity and to the people we bring into the organisation. We welcome applications from people of any gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or religion and belief, and particularly from people with diverse backgrounds or have overcome challenging experiences.


Marketing and Communications Manager (Content and Storytelling) | Role Description

Reporting to: Development Director

Direct reports: None

Contract:  Part-time, Permanent (3 days/week / (0.6FTE)

Location: Hybrid working between Paddington, London and remote

Salary: £38 to £45k (pro-rata), depending on experience.

Background:

Big Change was founded 10 years ago to rethink how charity could be a catalyst for positive change. Since then we have been learning by doing: backing pioneering projects at an early stage that are setting young people up to thrive in life, not just in exams.

Big Change is a small, collaborative and supportive team of around 15 people. 100% of our team believe their work has a positive impact on well-being and society. We set clear expectations and celebrate the successes of teams and individuals. 90% of our team would highly recommend Big Change as an employer. Have a read of what our team members have to say about working at Big Change here.

Overview of our benefits:

  • Annual personal development plan and L&D allowance
  • Cycle to Work and Season Ticket Loan schemes
  • Flexible working
  • Free lunch! (when in the Battleship office)
  • Pension scheme with up to 5% matched by Big Change
  • Monthly phone allowance
  • Unlimited leave
  • Volunteer days

As we are incubated by the Virgin Group, Big Change employees receive access to a range of Virgin Group benefits, including Virgin Tribe membership (access to deals and discounts across the Virgin Group and beyond), internal events as well as additional learning and development opportunities.

Role Summary

The purpose of the MarComms function at Big Change is to create the conditions in which our external relationships can thrive, with a particular focus on the relationships that generate the income we need to fund our work. This means increasing prospects’ understanding of what we do, increasing their propensity to support our work or deepening partners’ existing relationships with us. 

We build awareness, understanding and credibility of our work, and we do this mainly through impact storytelling – bringing-to-life the unique contribution we make to transforming learning (so that young people are set up to thrive in life). This could include dramatising a project partner’s impact through the eyes of a young person, sharing the opinion of a highly influential advocate, or proudly promoting the impact and influence of a provocative insights report. We communicate what we know our partners and funding prospects want to see – what we know will build credibility and deepen our relationships. 

Our primary target audiences are funders and potential funders: individual donors and organisations that support our work now or those who might do in the future. Our secondary audiences include the wider education sector and partner organisations, where our credibility as a catalyst for change in education is important.  Working closely alongside the other Marketing and Communications Manager (focus on planning & coordination), the role holder will lead the creation and production of engaging communication materials across all mediums and platforms. They will tell the story of our impact in ways that engage our key audiences and build an understanding of our work.

You will:

  • Have significant relevant experience in a charity or public sector comms role, ideally with a strong level of understanding of the education sector and/or youth space.
  • Be able to turn complex information into simple shareable stories and assets that build engagement and interest.
  • Have a proven track record in both engaging and building loyalty amongst existing donors and supporters as well as building awareness and credibility with potential donors and partners.
  • Be adept across communications channels – from managing a website and key social media channels to developing marketing materials and donor reports.
  • Ideally have experience of developing content and engaging with relevant sector media.
  • Be a dynamic self-starter and bring a learning mindset as we learn together as an organisation.

Key Roles and Responsibilities

This role is central to engaging and building support from our key audience of supporters and donors. This includes working closely within the Development Team and alongside the Impact team to source stories and content to support their work. 

Rather than wait for stories to emerge, they will proactively and tenaciously uncover and develop stories from Impact teams and from the agencies that support their work.

Bring to life Big Change’s work through impact storytelling

  • Curating and communicating the story of Big Change’s impact through all mediums and platforms;
  • Bringing to life the breadth and complexity of Big Change’s work in ways that key audiences can understand, find motivating and want to support;
  • Coordinating and controlling the content calendar to ensure that communications through Big Change owned channels are coherent;
  • Creating and sharing content for our key communications channels, including socials, newsletter, website;
  • Developing compelling sharable content from our work and that of our partners;
  • Creating and curating relevant content with our team and with project partners to build our thought leadership and profile;
  • Amplifying our projects’ stories and network’s voices on Big Change channels and broader sector channels;
  • Leading relationships with external suppliers to create engaging materials and content, including designers, PR freelancers, printers;

Building our profile and engagement with potential partners and supporters

  • Developing key marketing materials and supporting engagement and fundraising efforts;
  • Supporting regular community engagement around our Development activity e.g. Newsletters, reporting, storytelling, community events;
  • Supporting and advising the Development team to maximise the effectiveness of their communication;
  • Ensuring our donor reports are presented in a compelling way and delivered on time.
  • Driving attendance to events via our channels (social, newsletter, website, direct emails);
  • Equipping our fundraisers (those individuals taking part in our Strive challenges) with the tools they need to tell our story
  • Identifying engagement (e.g. event and publication) opportunities to build the profile of Big Change’s work, team and impact with potential supporters;

Supporting the Marketing and Communications Manager (planning & coordination) on the delivery of Big Change communications strategy

  • Supporting the development & delivery of Big Change’s marketing and communications strategy, implementing our Comms plan and using your expertise to feedback and improve;
  • Ensuring compelling and consistent key messages around Big Change and our mission;
  • Supporting the tracking of the impact of our communications including regular monitoring of the website and key channels to improve and adapt;
  • Monitoring the channels of our key partners and allies as well as sector influencers to keep abreast of key conversations and opportunities;
  • Identifying key networks, sector partners and media (traditional and influencers) and possible opportunities for Big Change to build relationships.

Key stakeholders

  • Marketing and Communications Manager (planning & coordination)
  • Leadership Team, including CEO, COO, Snr Director of Impact and Development Director 
  • Development team, including Head of Community, Head of Partnerships and Fundraising Executive
  • With Impact team – including Big Change project partners
  • External suppliers e.g. graphic designers, video producers & editors, communications agencies, website support

Knowledge, Experiences and Core Competencies

  • Understanding of fundraising and philanthropy and willingness to learn about this area of work within Big Change and support the development of our funder pipeline through targeted marketing and comms;
  • Comfort in working with a broad range of stakeholders, both internal and external to create and deliver ambitious projects;
  • Tenacious and proactive approach to uncovering stories;
  • Willingness and ability to understand Big Change’s work and impact, and to identify ways to create clear and compelling outputs such as partner profiles, impact summaries and opinion pieces;
  • Strong project management skills, and a great organiser, with an eye for detail and the ability to prioritise work and juggle multiple things at once;

  • Impeccable writing and copy-editing skills with demonstrated experience in preparing engaging presentations, proposals, reports and other communication for diverse audiences (the hiring process will include a short skills test);
  • Knowledge and experience of: social media platforms, Mailchimp, WordPress, Canva, Adobe Creative Suite and Google Analytics, are desirable;
  • Ability to identify solutions in a fast-paced environment, work autonomously and be proactive in approach;
  • Understanding of and comfort with managing both online and offline media channels;
  • Good understanding of GDPR in relation to marketing and communications;
  • A good sense of humour and fun, and willingness to jump in and help when needed.

How to Apply

If you’re inspired by what we do, and have the skills and experience to take on this role, please apply via email to jobs@big-change.org and include the following:

  1. CV (max 2 pages)
  2. A short cover letter (max 1 page)
  3. Please also complete this short Diversity, Equity and Inclusion monitoring form

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

We’re keen to ensure that all of our opportunities are accessible to everyone, so if you have any specific circumstances or accessibility requirements which prevent you from completing an application online, please contact us by email on jobs@big-change.org and we’d be happy to help. 

Approach to Diversity 

We aim to put diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do, from the young people and project partners we work with to the way we behave and operate as a charity and to the people we bring into the organisation. We welcome applications from people of any gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or religion and belief, and particularly from people with diverse backgrounds or have overcome challenging experiences.


Fundraising Consultant – Request for consultant support

Can you help Big Change unlock the potential of cold prospects that are beyond or within our current networks to create a society where all young people can thrive in life, not just in exams?

We require the services of a fundraising consultant to assess our current prospecting approaches and help us to identify new efficient methods.  This could include an objective review of our current methods and pipelines; recommendations for pipeline growth & development; and recommendations for prospecting tactics

Ideal start date: Early September

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Why we exist

To prepare all young people for their futures, we need to set our sights on transformation, not reform. Reform focuses on incremental improvements to a system that is no longer fit for purpose. Whereas transformation creates and moves us towards a new purpose and vision for young people’s learning. 

Established during the last industrial revolution, for a Victorian society and economy, the English education system doesn’t support the breadth of young people’s talents and potential, with a narrow focus on “in the moment” academic achievement, rather than on what young people and communities need for their future success.

This ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work for young people or those who support them. Diversity and individuality are not valued, injustice and unfairness is baked into the system, and teenagers’ wellbeing too often comes at the cost of “doing well” in high-stakes exams.  

Too many children are left out through exclusion or left behind, locked in a game of catch up that they cannot win. Despite a decade of focused effort to close socioeconomic achievement gaps, progress has been slow, and may have been wiped out entirely by school closures.

  • Every year, a third of 16 year-olds fall short of achieving a grade 4 in their GCSE English and maths. This is a product of the way our exam system is designed.
  • Every year, 100k or 18% of students leave school without 5 good GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. 
  • At the current rate, it will take 500 years to close the attainment gap for poorer pupils, who are an average of 18 months behind their wealthier peers.

To truly support the next generation to thrive, we need to be bold and reimagine what is possible, then work together with young people to transform their experience of education and learning

“The courage to lead is to say that just because the model is normal, just because it is embraced and operated by the vast majority, doesn’t mean it is the right model for the times we are in. It’s having the courage to stand up and say: “I think we have to do things differently””

Simon Sinek, Big Change Advisor

What we do

Big Change is a small but disruptive force for positive change. We work with organisations to see a society where every young person is set up to thrive in life, not just in exams. We take a systemic approach to transforming education and learning for young people in the UK and, increasingly, working with international partners to drive global change.

We achieve impact well beyond our means by playing the roles of catalyst and convener.

  • Catalyst: we find and fund pioneers and projects that deliver bold approaches on the frontline of change. We are able to take calculated risks that other funders cannot – in doing so, we reach the parts that others cannot (or will not). Our funding demonstrates that a new way is possible. 
  • Convener: we bring together communities (including young people, teachers, parents and employers) to set new directions for learning, as well as diverse allies who want to reimagine and transform education together.

We’ve helped to launch and scale pioneering, transformational organisations like:

Background to our fundraising

We are a funder but, unlike most foundations, we are not endowed so we must raise any funds that we invest. Our principle fundraising approach has historically been to leverage the passions and generosity of our network of wealthy individuals. Many of our funders are entrepreneurs so they are drawn to our catalytic (similar to venture capitalist) approach to funding and also understand the need for targeted investment in our core infrastructure. Because of this, we’ve been fortunate enough to create a two-tiered fundraising proposition:

  • Catalyst Circle: a group of committed supporters who fund our core running costs each year
  • Impact Fund: funding for our catalytic work, where 100% of funds are directed to our programmatic activity

Our impactful programmatic work breaks down into four areas:

  • New Education Story: our global convening/collaboration work. We’re working with big thinkers and doers like OECD, Teach for All, HundrED to reimagine what’s possible and work out how we might get there. 
  • Prize Fund: a new £1m prize fund that will stimulate new ideas from young people and established leaders to improve education and increase the diversity of those receiving grants. 
  • Subject to Change: our long term project that will empower young people and the public to set a new direction for education and learning in England. 
  • Big Educations Conversation: a national and international campaign to encourage the public to re-think the purpose of education through conversation. 

Our fundraising targets have increased inline with our increased ambition for change, so we’ve started to increase our pool of potential funders. We now target and partner with organisations (rather than just individuals): trusts, foundations and corporates who share our passion for transformation.

In total, we have six fundable areas of activity (products):

Our cold prospecting has, up to now, been fairly organic. We reach out into our networks to spread the word and ask allies to recommend prospects, advocate or help to make connections. We also occasionally target organisations (cold) that are funding our peers. 

Engaging and nurturing prospects tends to involve one-to-one communication and hosting engagement events, where we bring-in sector experts (including young people) to share their perspectives on issues close to our mission. 

What do we want to achieve with this project?

We need help to unlock the potential of cold prospects that are beyond our current networks or who are not yet identified/asked within our networks. 

Our organic approach has served us well up to now but we have significant fundraising ambitions which will not be met through just our existing network and a more pro-active approach to pipeline development. While warm contacts/friends will always be prioritised, we need to develop an efficient way of identifying and targeting new prospects – across all of our fundable areas of activity. 

We require the services of a fundraising consultant to assess our current approaches and help us to identify new efficient methods. This could include:

  • An objective review of our current methods and pipelines
    • Including evaluating existing prospects/targets 
  • Recommendations for pipeline growth & development
    • Do we explore new target markets or go ‘deeper’ in our existing target markets
    • A definition of target markets/profiles & examples of new prospects which fit the target profile
  • Recommendations for prospecting tactics
    • Where to find target prospects & how to prioritise them
    • Sources of information on opportunities (databases, newsletters, thought-leaders & influencers, etc)
    • How to initiate relationships

Next steps

We welcome proposals from suitable consultants, which would include (but not limited to) the following;

Please apply via email to jobs@big-change.org, or if you’d like to discuss the opportunity further please contact Hannah our Development Director – hannah@big-change.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

We’re keen to ensure that all of our opportunities are accessible to everyone, so if you have any specific circumstances or accessibility requirements which prevent you from completing an application online, please contact us by email on jobs@big-change.org and we’d be happy to help.

Approach to Diversity 

We aim to put diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do, from the young people and project partners we work with to the way we behave and operate as a charity and to the people we bring into the organisation. We welcome applications from people of any gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or religion and belief, and particularly from people with diverse backgrounds or have overcome challenging experiences.


Marketing and Communications Consultant – Request for consultant support

Can you help Big Change to create a cross-organisational marketing communications strategy, one that helps build a common understanding of who we are (across all of our audiences), what we stand for, what we do and why they should support our work? 

The Big Change MarComms team would like to work alongside a marketing and communications consultant to develop a new strategy. They will help to create a roadmap to achieving our planning goals, including objectively evaluating our MarComms activity and the planning work already started/considered.

Ideal start date: Early September

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Why we exist

To prepare all young people for their futures, we need to set our sights on transformation, not reform. Reform focuses on incremental improvements to a system that is no longer fit for purpose. Whereas transformation creates and moves us towards a new purpose and vision for young people’s learning. 

Established during the last industrial revolution, for a Victorian society and economy, the English education system doesn’t support the breadth of young people’s talents and potential, with a narrow focus on “in the moment” academic achievement, rather than on what young people and communities need for their future success.

This ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work for young people or those who support them. Diversity and individuality are not valued, injustice and unfairness is baked into the system, and teenagers’ wellbeing too often comes at the cost of “doing well” in high-stakes exams.  

Too many children are left out through exclusion or left behind, locked in a game of catch up that they cannot win. Despite a decade of focused effort to close socioeconomic achievement gaps, progress has been slow, and may have been wiped out entirely by school closures.

  • Every year, a third of 16 year-olds fall short of achieving a grade 4 in their GCSE English and maths. This is a product of the way our exam system is designed.
  • Every year, 100k or 18% of students leave school without 5 good GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. 
  • At the current rate, it will take 500 years to close the attainment gap for poorer pupils, who are an average of 18 months behind their wealthier peers.

To truly support the next generation to thrive, we need to be bold and reimagine what is possible, then work together with young people to transform their experience of education and learning

“The courage to lead is to say that just because the model is normal, just because it is embraced and operated by the vast majority, doesn’t mean it is the right model for the times we are in. It’s having the courage to stand up and say: “I think we have to do things differently””

Simon Sinek, Big Change Advisor

What we do

Big Change is a small but disruptive force for positive change. We work with organisations to see a society where every young person is set up to thrive in life, not just in exams. We take a systemic approach to transforming education and learning for young people in the UK and, increasingly, working with international partners to drive global change.

We achieve impact well beyond our means by playing the roles of catalyst and convener.

  • Catalyst: we find and fund pioneers and projects that deliver bold approaches on the frontline of change. We are able to take calculated risks that other funders cannot – in doing so, we reach the parts that others cannot (or will not). Our funding demonstrates that a new way is possible. 
  • Convener: we bring together communities (including young people, teachers, parents and employers) to set new directions for learning, as well as diverse allies who want to reimagine and transform education together.

We’ve helped to launch and scale pioneering, transformational organisations like:

Background to our communications

When it comes to Big Change’s MarComms, there’s lots to be proud of. We produce great quality communications, have a credible voice and punch well above our weight in terms of influence. Our audiences respect us and listen to what we have to say.

We achieve a lot with a very small MarComms team. Key to this is our entrepreneurial culture and devolved communications approach. The Impact team initiates projects and then ‘owns’ that project’s audience – they lead the communication activity (e.g. separate websites, reports, events, separate social media, etc) often delivering work through external agencies, which reach and influence specific project audiences. 

The primary role of our MarComms function has been to help drive our fundraising efforts. We raise awareness of our work in order to build a pipeline of new potential funders and supporters; we drive loyalty and repeat donations; we build credibility of Big Change to peers and target audiences; and we support existing donors to become advocates & raise funds/credibility. We do this primarily through our broader-reach communications channels (social media, website, non-direct communication) and by bringing to life the impact of our work. 

A downside to our devolved approach is that our communications can be uncoordinated and/or siloed. We should always be able to communicate project-specific messages to project-specific audiences (e.g. communicating Subject to Change project information to the enabling coalition) and product-specific fundraising communications to product-specific prospects (e.g. promoting Strive to members of our community) but we have no communications strategy that encompasses all audiences and little coordination of our communications output.

This means that we miss the opportunity to cross-promote our work, including cross-selling funding opportunities to Impact audiences. We are both a funder and a fundraising organisation so our Impact peers might also be potential funders (e.g. just because an organisation is a strategic partner for Subject to Change doesn’t mean that they are not a potential funder of the Prize Fund). Some cross-promotion happens in our one-to-one communications but we are missing an opportunity to do it more systematically. 

We also miss the chance to become bigger than the sum of our communications parts – to build a common narrative across all audiences which sets us apart and builds our brand. Our projects (and sometimes even individual colleagues) have greater salience than the Big Change brand. Big Change has been happy sitting in the wings while others take the limelight (we are a catalyst – we’ve quietly funded others to take centre stage) but this approach carries risks (e.g. if people leave, the reputation and relationships could leave with them) and opportunity costs (e.g. a strong brand attracts supporters and reassures partners). As our ambition for change increases, our lack of brand salience could hold us back. 

Finally, we also have no agreed position on the issues that matter most to us (e.g. assessment, exclusion, curriculum). We have strong perspectives but they often exist in the heads of our senior leaders (i.e. we haven’t captured and articulated them), which limits our ability to build our thought-leader positioning and also our ability to respond to topical news events in a timely way.

Where do we want to get to (planning goals)?

We want greater consistency and coordination of our communications output. We want different audiences to see the breadth of our brilliant work and the breadth of ways to support it. 

We want to build a common narrative of who Big Change is and why people should work with us – either funding our work, partnering with us or joining the team as an employee. We want to strengthen our position as a respected thought leader on the issues that matter most to young people. 

In essence, we want to maximise every opportunity to deepen relationships with our audiences

How will we get there

We will create a cross-organisational marketing communications strategy – one that makes sense of our market(s) and audience so that we maximise the ability to drive short term (product) goals and longer term (brand) goals.

Our strategic focus areas might include work we have already started or considered, including:

  • Brand architecture plan
  • Single market map & segmentation
  • Agreed policy positions
  • Brand communications concept
  • Core message framework (substantiating the brand communications concept)

We would like to work with a marketing and communications consultant to work alongside the MarComms team to provide an external (and expert) perspective. We would like them to objectively evaluate strands of work already started/considered or other ways to achieve our planning goals. Together we will shape and deliver the following potential phases of work:

Phase of workWhat will it includeNo. of consultancy days (estimate)
ImmersionBriefing from leadDiscussions with all workstream / audience leadsReview of current channels, content and materials to better understand BC and how we have used MarComms to date1-2 days
Mapping out what should be included in the strategyDiscussions & recommendation on value of potential strategic focus areas1 day
Contextual analysisBringing together insights on external context and internal context (from immersion)2 days
Ambition⅕ day worksop + write-up1 day
Strategic choicesIdentifying, sharing and capturing perspectives on strategic choices5 days
Actions and implementationAction planBudget2 days

Next steps

We welcome proposals from suitable consultants, which would include (but not limited to) the following;

Please apply via email to jobs@big-change.org, or if you’d like to discuss the opportunity further please contact Hannah our Development Director – hannah@big-change.org. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

We’re keen to ensure that all of our opportunities are accessible to everyone, so if you have any specific circumstances or accessibility requirements which prevent you from completing an application online, please contact us by email on jobs@big-change.org and we’d be happy to help.

Approach to Diversity 

We aim to put diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of everything we do, from the young people and project partners we work with to the way we behave and operate as a charity and to the people we bring into the organisation. We welcome applications from people of any gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, race or religion and belief, and particularly from people with diverse backgrounds or have overcome challenging experiences.

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