Leading the change charge in Not For Profit

Lou Lai - Transformation Director, Manifesto

Having joined Manifesto nine months to the day as you’re reading, this is the perfect opportunity for reflection, and to say hello! 

As Transformation Director, my main focus is the development of a new go to market proposition, which sees Manifesto leading the change charge in the not-for-profit sector. Challenging charities to rethink their organisations – from structure, skills and culture, to funding models, digital capabilities and service delivery. We can provide the expertise and skills to support this transformation journey. 

Six weeks later – Covid-19. Luckily the Manifesto team couldn’t have adapted quicker, from tech and tools to virtual collaboration, our company values were at the heart of our successful transition to full remote working. 

A key aspect was supporting clients through this transition, and we’ve been able to provide technical solutions to some of their business challenges. We created a virtual Field of Remembrance for The Royal British Legion using Three.js technology to render complex graphics, with filters and 3D interactive effects in real-time. Enabling us to transport supporters into a virtual experience to pay tribute to the veterans who sacrificed their lives. 

Through the last few months, I don’t think Twitter and Linkedin have ever been so busy, with networking, events and content being shared across the sector. I’ve been lucky enough to represent Manifesto at a number of events, including the first ever BAME Online conference with over 6,000 attendees, chairing a roundtable at the Civil Society Trustee event, and most recently, sharing the stage at Chase Live with The British Red Cross to talk about effective decision making during a pandemic. Inspired by our recent ‘Decision Making white paper’

My role also includes leading the Change and Growth team, who are responsible for our environmental, and digital strategy and marketing. Neil Clark, who also leads the Group environmental strategy and our tech team have been busy automating a carbon footprint calculator for websites, and we’ve just started rolling it into digital marketing campaigns. So watch this space! 

Phil Aiston, Louise Barton and Arran Bell have been leading the charge on all things digital fundraising. Helping clients pivot their approaches, from physical sporting events switching to virtual, to emergency fundraising campaigns. For many clients we do this working alongside developers and designers from Manifesto to deliver broader programmes of work, like Wood Green Animal charity where we’re creating CMS technical solutions to support digital and TV marketing campaigns.

See our work in action here for the Salvation Army

So as we approach the end of 2020, we are even better placed to support organisations to move from surviving the pandemic to thriving. This starts by continuing to challenge how we think about our organisations.

If we set ourselves up tomorrow would we be the same? What if we had a blank canvas? Would we decide to transform ourselves into an organisation that truly reflected its core vision, purpose and impact? Would we have the same structures, process, roles, systems?

Now is our time to rebuild organisations for the better. And at Manifesto we’re continuing this work, and expanding our network and opportunities to achieve our vision.


Lou Lai
Transformation Director at Manifesto