The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is an iconic charity associated with big, orange boats, stormy seas and extraordinary bravery. The RNLI was founded on 4 March 1824 as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck, with royal patronage from King George IV. It was given the prefix "Royal" and its current name in 1854 by Queen Victoria. It has official charity status in both the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.
The RNLI operates 444 lifeboats from 236 lifeboat stations around the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The RNLI's lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved more than 140,000 lives since 1824. Indeed, RNLI lifeguards saved over 22,000 lives on UK beaches last year.
However, the RNLI is not an organisation to stand still and bask in its immense achievements. They are always looking for a new challenge -helping educate people to stop them getting into trouble in the water is an increasingly large part of what they do. Last year’s launch of their Respect the Water campaign is a perfect example of this. The marketing team played a key role in that campaign and are continuing to do so, as the safety in water education programme is rolled out in countries such as Bangladesh.
It is a very exciting time to join the organisation as Brand Republic’s Careers Content Editor, Antje Derks found out in conversation with Leesa Harwood, Deputy Director of Fundraising and Communications at the RNLI.
What does the Head of Marketing role consist of?
We have a fantastic, loyal and long-standing group of supporters, without whom the RNLI would not exist. They enable us to run our iconic lifesaving service. Excitingly, last year we beat our new supporter acquisition target by a whopping 45% - that means we have an exciting, new supporter base that is always hungry for news about the RLNI and its work. The Head of Marketing will need to be prepared to take our supporters – new and old – on an amazing, exciting journey.
The RNLI has a brand new portfolio of campaigns and products - including The Lifeboat Pull, 235 Made for Life and Save Wave. Most notably our new campaign, H2Only is launching on the 27th May. The Head of Marketing will spearhead this as well as having all the ingredients at their fingertips to grasp this amazing opportunity and make a real impact.
What sort of person does it take to be Head of Marketing at the RNLI?
The RNLI is known for the bravery and courage of its volunteer lifeboat crews and lifeguards. As Head of Marketing you won’t necessarily need to jump into a stormy sea to save a life, but you will still need to be brave. Indeed, we are looking for an extraordinary person. You need to have experience in delivering and developing marketing strategies – particularly growth strategies. We want someone who is courageous enough to scoop up our lifeboat crews, lifeguards, supporters and fundraisers and take them on an innovative journey, taking chances along the way, that will secure the RNLI and all it stands for, for the next generation.
What is the culture like at the RNLI?
This role will be based at the RLNI’s headquarters in Poole, Dorset – which is a truly delightful corner of the UK. Our offices have stunning views across the harbour. The campus is fabulous and we are currently constructing a new all-weather station where we will eventually build our lifeboats. The campus also houses a sports and social club, which is bursting with events and activities.
The fundraising team is large and we are going through a process of continuous improvement. The team is very vibrant and motivated. We collaborate closely with marketing and are growing ever closer with the launch of a raft of new campaigns. We are also heading towards our bi-centennial, so we are all working even harder to ensure we safeguard the charity for the next hundred years and beyond.
What sort of benefits come with the role?
Aside from a competitive salary, we offer a relocation package and childcare vouchers. We are very family orientated and as such we offer enhanced maternity, adoption and paternity pay. The RNLI also offers a cycle to work scheme, employee recognition scheme, eye care vouchers, health cash plan, a generous holiday allowance that increases with length of service and a decent pension scheme. Uniquely, we also offer 24/7 telephone support and assistance on a wide range of topics such as childcare, debt, disability, illness, bereavement or consumer rights. This service is accessible 24 hours a day by phone or online.
We expect the very best from our employees, so believe it is vital to make working with us a rewarding and supported experience. There has never been a more exciting time to join the RNLI team.