Charity Careers: meet Hannah Sanders, consumer brand partnerships lead for Save the Children

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Charity Careers: Nicola Greenbrook talks with inspiring charity people about their working life, career path and more

What does it take to drive brand partnerships for a major charity? How do you get into the sector? And what on earth would it be like to be a morning person?

Find out in the second of our Charity Careers interviews, in which Nicola Greenbrook talks to key influencers in the charity sector, inviting them to share their personal career story and describe how they navigate the professional world. We discover what they've learnt from their ups and downs at work, what motivates them to get up in the morning and even what their dream breakfast might look like when they do...

This month, Nicola was excited to meet the ambitious, polymathic and springer-out-of-bedder, Hannah Sanders!


CharityCareers interview 2 with Hannah Sanders of Save the Children

Hannah is Consumer Brand Partnerships Lead for Save the Children, which turns 100 years old next year.

As part of their centenary, the charity has three current areas of focus: to end all preventable child death from pneumonia, the number one killer of all children globally; to ensure a good quality early years education for all, and to ensure violence against children is no longer tolerated.

I’m responsible for…

I have a hybrid role in the Partnerships team, leading on all brand partnerships across account management and new business. My role is to secure new partnerships and develop existing relationships with some of the world’s biggest household name brands, to raise vital funds for our global programmes and to improve our brand positioning.

I started my career…

I graduated from university with no clue what I wanted to do with my life; only that I didn’t want a 9-5 job or to go back home and live with my parents. I saw a summer job advertised as a Roaming Street Fundraiser (you know, those really happy, planet savers who ask you to sign up to a direct debit for a particular cause!)

I absolutely loved it and stood on high streets approaching complete strangers for two years, until I realised I had a massive passion for international issues. So I went back to uni to do a Masters degree in International Development with Child Poverty.

Through the course I learnt about so many important things Save the Children brought about, like establishing the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and securing free school meals. I thought, I definitely have to work there!

My key roles along the way were…

After a few different fundraising roles at a few different charities, and having developed under the guidance of a few amazing people; I finally secured my dream job at Save the Children.

I keep my skills fresh by…

I absolutely love learning; I never want to stop. In fact, a lot of the feedback I receive regularly refers to my constant thirst for knowledge. I’m one of those people at parties who constantly asks people weird open questions, so I can learn more about life.

To keep my skills fresh, I read a lot around topics people have suggested could be good for my development. I also sign up to a whole host of available resources and free training at work and have incredibly inspirational mentors.

My advice for anyone considering a move to the charity sector…

As with most industries, charities often look for specific experience when recruiting for roles so unfortunately, new grads may need to seek internships that are available as a starting point. This can be pretty difficult when you need to pay bills and commute to London.

If that doesn’t work though, grad schemes are a fantastic door opener, if not a little competitive. You can also regularly volunteer for causes you care about to find out about upcoming opportunities or apply for an entry level role in any department and move from there. Often with charities, once you’re in, you’re in - they like to recruit from within.

The best piece of advice that’s stuck in my mind is…

People won’t remember what you said, they’ll remember how you made them feel.

This is very true and something I feel is so important in today’s society, because you never know when people will pop up again, or when progress is made as a result of relationships you’ve had with people. You should always intend to inspire others and be the best human you can be (although not always easy on a rainy Monday morning!)

My alarm goes off at…

6am. I’m definitely a morning person and a few times a week I can be found running along the Thames. I recently moved to Pimlico in Central London, so I keep pinching myself that I get the chance to free my mind by running over Chelsea Bridge as the sun rises!

My dream breakfast is…

I absolutely love a Spanish fried egg, chorizo and potato hash type mash-up.

My actual breakfast is…

A peppermint tea with an Alpen breakfast bar and I attempt to make it through to lunch. It’s a marked improvement from the Red Bulls I used to drink for breakfast in my care-free twenties!

A typical day…

Definitely no such thing! This morning I was presenting some new team activities we have in the pipeline as I lead our People Team. Over lunch I was running an evaluation workshop on a Peppa Pig fundraising campaign. This afternoon I’ve just got off the phone to Switzerland where I was sharing advice on cause-related marketing products. Now, I’m preparing for a new prospecting meeting with one of the world’s biggest beauty brands. It never stops but it never ceases to entertain!

Hannah Sanders quote 2

Right now I’m reading…

I’m a member of Save the Children’s Book Club. Each month we read a book based in a particular country, and then we go to a restaurant to eat that country’s cuisine whilst discussing the book – great chat, great people, great food!

I’d highly recommend When Breath Becomes Air (which made me re-evaluate how I think about life and death) and The Underground Railroad (an incredibly powerful novel about slavery in the 1800s).

Right now I’m watching…

A National Geographic documentary series called Genius about the life and discoveries of Albert Einstein. It’s brilliant. I love incredibly entertaining programmes, with very good actors, about real life events that I knew nothing about. I think I’m the only one not watching Love Island!

I can’t get through the day without…

Listening to loud music on my way to and from the office, it helps me separate my life from my work. I listen to a whole host of different genres; from chart-toppers, to hip-hop, to electric swing. My only frustration is when I see someone I know on the commute and am forced to enter the world of work a few songs too soon!

In my spare time…

I like to take on new hobbies and interests each year. Last year I did a life drawing course every Saturday morning, this last academic year I’ve been learning Welsh every Monday evening and now that’s finished, I’m on the quest for a new one. I’m thinking maybe Lindy Hop dance classes. A colleague recently told me about mentoring young refugees who recently entered the UK so I’m keen to get this in too.

And finally on sleep…

I can sleep absolutely anywhere at any time, in fact once my Dad leaned me standing up against his car whilst he shut the doors and I still kept on sleeping! I’m not a peaceful rester though, apparently I talk as much throughout the night as I do throughout the day! 

We're pretty sure it was daytime on this occasion, but either way our many thanks to Hannah for talking to Nicola and sharing these insights into her busy working life!

There'll be more Charity Careers to come, and of course you can follow the work of Hannah's charity at the Save the Children site.

Check out more Charity Careers:
Sara Rees, Head of Fundraising, Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity


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