We’re very happy to be joined by Lea Samrani to continue our Meet our Client series. Lea is currently Head of Product at CharityJob the UK’s busiest site for charity, fundraising, NGO and not for profit jobs.
We caught up with Lea and asked her to share some news from CharityJob, what it’s like working with Moove and her role as Head of Product.
Quick-fire questions: About CharityJob
Q: Give us an intro to what CharityJob is and its mission?
A: One day in 1999 we thought,
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could save charities millions of pounds by creating a job advertising platform that is both more effective and cheaper than anything else around? Of course it can only happen if we work in partnership with charities…”
That thought led to the birth of CharityJob.
We launched CharityJob in February 2000 at the start of the dot-com bust period. We grew to the UK’s largest and busiest website for jobs in the sector in no time and have maintained that position for the past 10 years. The two founding directors worked for the sector for over 20 years between them and that’s why we’re passionate about what we do here.
Q: Who are your main, contributors or partners involved with CharityJob?
A: We work very closely with major organisations within the charity sector. There’s also a lot of input from our ‘champions’ and partnerships with leading organisation for the sector such as the NCVO and CharityTimes.
Q: How did you build up the CharityJob product offering and continue to develop it?
A: CharityJob started 16 years ago, both founders were working for the sector at the time and were shocked by the cost and the complexity of hiring. They thought that there must be a better way (and CharityJob was born!). Over the years the site has grown in popularity but our mission hasn’t changed – the team is still focused on saving charities money while offering them access to the latest technology. We’re really keen on using innovation to deliver the best value and experience. We‘re still very close with the charity sector and everything we do comes from our conversations within the sector, and listening to their needs. This is primarily why we’ve launched CharityConnect, the professional network for the charity community. By spending so much time with the sector we realised that people both need and want a safe online community to exchange ideas and grow.
Q: Tell us more about your project, CharityConnect?
A: CharityConnect is an online professional community for the charity sector, helping to create a culture of collaboration. We know that information for the charity sector is scattered and that it can be hard to find the right people with the advice you’re looking for. That’s where CharityConnect comes in – a central hub for all the information you need, helping you connect with people across the entire sector. Have a burning question, need help or keen to share some tips with others? Then sign up to CharityConnect to engage, learn and thrive, and meet others who are making a difference.
CharityJob & Moove
Q: We have worked together since early 2016, what has your experience been of working with us?
A: From the very beginning, we just felt that Moove ‘got’ our brand. They have gone above and beyond to redesign our blog. To say that we’re happy would be an understatement! All of the people have been a real pleasure to work with and have done everything in their power to accommodate to our needs. To sum it up, they’re an amazing team! And we recommend them highly.
Q: What was the reason that you wanted to work with Moove on your new blog project?
A: Out of all of the agencies that we had contacted, Moove made us feel the most at ease. A project like this, that requires so much time, energy and thought, had to be given to an agency that understood the CharityJob brand. We genuinely feel that everyone that has been a part of our project really understands us.
Your role as Head of Product
Q: What’s your career background?
A: Although I come from a marketing background, I’ve always been interested in the not-for-profit sector. I studied Human Rights & International Law at universit worked as a fundraiser and got involved in a couple not-for-profit projects overseas. But discovering the product management world at CharityJob unveiled a passion of mine. There is something fascinating about how you can use new technology to solve human problems and really make the world a better place (one step at a time).
Q: What challenges do you face as Head of Product in 2016?
A: The more technology advances, the more it enables you to innovate and create solutions. One of the challenges I would say is to always make sure we use it to solve a problem worth solving. It is key to never forget why are we doing this in the first place and for whom. In product, it’s so vital that you know not only the product inside out but the customer.
Q: How do you decide what new features to develop?
A: We spend a lot of time listening to our customers. We meet with them regularly, ask for feedback, listen to their challenges and then focus on finding an innovative solution. We also keep an eye out for any ‘better ways’ of doing things. Some organisations/brands are incredibly creative and disrupt their market by offering better value proposition for their customers. We aim to do the same for the Charity sector. Also our company has a culture of innovation, anyone can get involved and suggest new ways of doing things, new features etc. which mean that we’re never short of great ideas!
Q: Would you say that our work helps your work and achieving your marketing and financial targets?
A: Yes, 100%! It’s great to have a lot of great ideas but the real struggle is delivering them all. We have a limit in terms of our resources and how much can be done internally. But as every company that does software development in-house, we were very cautious about outsourcing our project. But Moove’s work has been above and beyond our expectations. The designs were spot on, with a real understanding of our brand and the way we want to communicate with our audience. Great communication all the way through. Working with Moove turned out to be a great decision and it really took the weight off our internal team (allowing us to deliver 2 very important projects for us – one with Moove one internally) in a cost effective and time sensitive manner.
Q: As a product person, what are your favourite sources of information that help you stay on top of the latest development trends?
A: I do a lot of reading! One of the great thing about the product community in London is that it’s quite active. We have a slack group, regular meet-ups and events. It’s great! One of my favourite is TNW event in Amsterdam, where innovation is at the centre of everything in a very inspiring ‘let’s change the world’ kind of way.
Q: And finally, what’s next for CharityJob?
A: Where do I start?! CharityConnect is our big focus right now, as we really aim to provide the charity sector community with an online space tailored for them. On CharityJob side, we’re really focusing on developing a smarter and smoother path, where we can provide recruiters and job seekers with the best match. We really want to help people evolve in their career within the sector and allow talent acquisition to happen with as little headache as possible.
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