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Published by Woods Valldata

An introduction to our new Business Development Director

There are some exciting changes afoot at Woods Valldata this year. We’re delighted to introduce Emma Corbett, our new Business Development Director, the most recent addition to our dedicated and talented team. 

Emma Corbett – Business Development Director

We sat down with Emma to hear more about her role, her background, and her thoughts on the year ahead.

Can you tell us a bit about your new role as Business Development Director at Woods Valldata?

My key responsibility is to accelerate the sales growth strategy of the company, speaking to our existing client base to see how else we can support them, and striking up new conversations with charities that we don’t currently work with.

I’ll also be attending various network events and conferences, in addition to promoting brand awareness over several channels.

This is a newly created role: what excites you about it?

The fact that I could make my mark and start from scratch was very appealing. I think that’s the best way to learn and understand what your value proposition actually is. Combined, Woods and Valldata have over 40 years’ experience delivering a great service, so I have plenty of material, (and happy customers) to work with – that makes things much easier.

My skill-set really lends itself to this sort of role, so coupling a credible company with my experience should make for a winning combination!

I see you worked at Woods Valldata as an Account Manager back in 2010. Since then, there’s been a significant shift towards digitised services on a global scale: how would you say this has affected the charity sector?

This is an interesting question, and it’s one every charity needs to consider with haste.

During recent meetings with our existing clients, some of whom I worked with five years ago, it was quite alarming to hear that their income and marketable supporter base has practically halved due to GDPR. Also, the conventional methods of fundraising – Direct Mail, to name one – and their traditional target demographic are diminishing, so alternative fundraising methods need to be identified quickly.

A key area of focus should be the exploration of online engagement, connecting to a broader segmentation – namely a younger audience – with relevant products. Lotteries, for instance, are proving to be an appealing product, and most charities are starting to consider prize led acquisition methods which yield regular, high-income streams.

What drew you back to Woods Valldata?

I thought the merger was a really powerful proposition – it makes us one of the leading fundraising service providers in the UK. There’s also a real commitment to investing in the growth and evolution of the company, and that vision was very important to me. I want to be part of an exciting journey and I genuinely believe Woods Valldata can provide that.

There’s a buzz about the place and it’s highly motivating. Our offices are stylish and modern, so I’m always proud to show them off to clients.

I stayed in contact with many of the people I worked with previously at Valldata, and they’re still here – a sign of a great employer, I believe. Working in the same sector, we shared common clients who always spoke very highly of Woods Valldata, so that also helped!

There’s a very strong leadership team headed up by Ian Scarr. He’s a “mover and a shaker” with good working morals and I thought I could thrive under his management.

Could you tell us a bit more about your background?

Since 2010, I’ve worked as an Account Manager and Business Development /Partner Manager, predominantly within the world of data analytics, technology and fundraising services providers. I’ve worked for start-ups and established organisations alike, building relationships with clients and partners across a number of vertical markets.

I’d like to say I’ve played a part in helping charities raise more funds. After almost a decade working within the not-for-profit sector, I have a great affinity and connection with it – I can’t see myself working out of the sector now.

What fundamental challenges will charities face this year, and how can Woods Valldata help?

In my opinion, income generation remains the number one challenge for charities this year, followed by meeting the demand for services, and the issue of reduced funding. This goes hand-in-hand with trying to reduce the current trend (in some charities) of supporter attrition by applying tailored engagement – offering the right product over the right channel at the right time – which should help to plug the leaky bucket.

GDPR has had a major impact on fundraising, so new methods have to be explored. As I mentioned previously, digital strategies should take centre stage, along with the re-introduction of cold acquisition.

There is much more competition out there these days. Charities need to focus on understanding what works well for others and adopt similar methods in-house, being sure to pick a model that uniquely relates to their audience. It’s important not to get left behind!

Clients working with us benefit from our rich strategic insight, proven to deliver programme growth: this comes from years of experience. We now work with over 70 charities, so we’re able to carry out invaluable benchmarking, the results of which inform and elevate our clients’ overall marketing strategies, giving them a real edge.

Our complete, end-to-end service offers a broad range of products and services, all under one roof, and we’re committed to forming solid, trusted partnerships with our clients.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m quite a social butterfly and have a wonderful circle of friends. We all love yummy food and wine, so we started a ‘Ladies Who Dine’ group! We take turns hosting and cooking at our homes – it’s really good fun. I’ll admit to cheating a little as my boyfriend is a professional chef!

I’m also into sport and fitness – I do believe that a healthy body makes for a healthy mind. I’m training for some triathlons this year, which requires quite a bit of discipline! I like my down-time, so I enjoy pottering in the garden during the summer, trying to grow things, weather permitting of course.

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