November 7th, 2022

Understanding Gen Z - How Good Conversations worked for St John Ambulance

Good Innovation x St John Ambulance - Gen Z Interview

GI partner John Gunn caught up over Slack with Olivia Thomson, Senior Innovation Executive at St John Ambulance,  about our Good Conversations programme.

The Gen Z programme brought together 9 charity collaborators from a range of different causes, on a 16-week-long online community with Gen Z adults. 

Our programme gave these charities the unique opportunity to shape the conversations with Gen Z directly, to gain actionable insights, feedback about their causes, and tools to apply within their organisations across different teams.

John  2:06 PM

Hi Olivia!!

Olivia  2:06 PM


John  2:07 PM

Thanks so much for joining us and chatting all things Gen Z!

You joined us as part of the Good Conversations programme earlier this year, I'd love to know why St John Ambulance were so keen to get involved?

Olivia  2:10 PM

Hi John! We don't currently have a product for Gen Z, our audience is typically older so this was an untapped audience for St John Ambulance. Gen Z are purpose driven, digital natives and are the future of fundraising. They may have less disposable income but are eager to support causes and we wanted a way to help them do that! Not only for fundraising but volunteering and campaigning.

John  2:11 PM

Brilliant, thanks Olivia! 

And why did Good Conversations appeal as a way to really understand this audience?

I guess you could have done a bunch of different things to explore Gen Z!?

Olivia  2:13 PM

Yeah there's lots of ways we could have got the insight but Good Conversations allowed us to talk directly with the audience and we got to work with other charities on the project too

John  2:15 PM

Of course, Good Conversations is a collaboration, so I think we had 9 charities all sign-up to be part of the programme. Would love to hear your thoughts on this in a sec, but first, how did you find the 24/7 dialogue directly with Zoomers?

I know our moderators were fairly exhausted by the end!

Olivia  2:16 PM

Yeah I bet! It worked well though - you get the deep conversation of a focus group but with the convenience of an online survey 

John  2:19 PM

Great, glad you saw the value. I love online communities as we can really build strong relationships with our audiences. We aim to treat them as active participants rather than passive respondents. 

How did you find the Zoomers themselves? What were they like?

Olivia  2:21 PM

They were great - really clued up on the world around them and so passionate about the things they cared about! Everyone obviously felt comfortable to be open and honest on the platform too

John 2:23 PM

They were certainly a passionate bunch! I know some charities went into this with a belief that Zoomers were only interested in environmental causes - it was great to crush some of those myths.

Earlier you talked about the opportunity to collaborate with other charities, can you share a little about why that was important to you?

Olivia 2:25 PM

It was just nice to know that other charities have similar challenges and that we could learn from each other - especially within our cause collectives. It was also good to all meet at the Inspiration Safari and work together on this!

John  2:28 PM

Ah yes! The Inspiration Safari! 

I know the team at GI really enjoyed that day, it was great to hear so many expert speakers on Gen Z, and I certainly learned a lot about the metaverse (for example, that trainers will soon be more expensive in the metaverse than in real life - blows my mind!)

How did the team at St John Ambulance find the Safari (I remember you had a few stakeholders there?

Olivia  2:29 PM

Yeah, how is that even possible?!

John  2:30 PM

Apparently these are selling for £65,000!!!

John 2:31 PM

Anyway, sorry Liv, back to the Safari!

Olivia Thomson  2:33 PM

The team had a really fun day and we learnt so much from experts in and outside the sector, plus some zoomers themselves! I loved hearing about Ebay's new marketing strategy for Gen Z 

John  2:36 PM

Yeah, that was a really great talk.

So glad you all enjoyed it, it was definitely a highlight in the programme!

Coming back to the Online Community of Zoomers, I know we tried to encourage our collaborating clients to inspire stakeholders and teams with insight on a regular basis.

Did you manage to keep St John Ambulance stakeholders engaged?

Olivia  2:40 PM

Yeah, it's usually a challenge to keep stakeholders from across the charity engaged but the weekly newsletters you guys sent out were great. Had a good summary of what we learnt, quick tips to start implementing and was easy to digest - props to whoever made them!

John  2:43 PM

So amazing to hear they were useful!
We built the whole Good Conversations Programme based on action as well as insight.

That's one of the reasons why we built a digital toolkit to download what we heard and equip charities with tools to take away.
How did you find the toolkit at St John Ambulance? Were you craving an insight slides deck or was the digital toolkit useful?

Olivia  2:45 PM

haha! no, the slide deck was not missed - we love the toolkit! It's full of insight and interactive tools so you can jump straight into it. I particularly like the Innovation Generator which identifies your quick wins and harder tasks for our strategy

John  2:47 PM
Yeah, that Innovation Generator was a great add!

Brilliant, so pleased it's hitting the mark for you (was never a fan of the 100 slide insight decks!)

Have you managed to use the toolkit/insights at all?

I guess we're excited to see charity collaborators pick this stuff up and run with it.

Olivia  2:50 PM

You'll be glad to hear that our volunteer team has already started to use this insight in their campaigns for new youth volunteers. And we have a sprint planned for the new year to look into a new fundraising product specifically for the Gen Z audience.

John  2:52 PM

Great stuff! So great to hear, thanks Liv and good luck with the Sprint next year - excited to see what comes out of that.

We're running out of time, but it's been great to chat about Good Conversations & Gen Z! 

Curious as to your final reflections on the programme?

 Olivia Thomson  2:56 PM

This was such an interesting programme to be a part of! I loved how interactive it was, how we got to shape the questions and even speak to some of the audience. Not only did we get to challenge our own assumptions and learn about a new audience, but we learnt a lot about our organisation too!

Can’t wait for the next one!

John  2:58 PM

Great, thanks Liv! It was awesome to have you and the team at St John Ambulance involved. Thanks so much for your time and so excited to hear Good Conversations was such a valuable tool for you!

Until next time!!

Olivia Thomson  2:59 PM