Introduction to the Sheila McKechnie Foundation
We are a small organisation with a growing profile and reputation as thinkers, innovators and capacity-builders in social change. We work to provoke new thinking, gather evidence, convene practitioners, sharpen strategy, and encourage greater collaboration. These are all ways we are working to orient civil society more strongly towards reform.
Our vision is a more confident and powerful civil society where people work together to drive social change. We work right across civil society, from unpaid volunteer campaigners to big national and global organisations. We bring a wide view of social change that recognises its complexity, and that is combined with a deep commitment to social justice. Find out more here in our strategy brochure.
Where we are in our journey
SMK is in an exciting place. A few years ago, we agreed an ambition to become known as experts in social change. Our Social Power report describes how social change is happening today, while It’s All About Power sets out why we need a new way of thinking about power to achieve deeper solidarity in driving that change. The tools in these reports are being used widely – by change-makers, funders and policy-makers – to challenge their thinking and develop new approaches. We want to help them go further.
We are unrelentingly curious, tracking and analysing the way that social change is shifting and sharing that knowledge so that it can be used across civil society. We look to people’s experiences as well as academic research, to contemporary commentators and historical examples. All the while, we stand up for campaigners, working to ensure they are able to shape their world without unreasonable constraint.
About the role
SMK envisages a confident and powerful civil society in which people work together to drive change. To achieve this vision, we are committed to learning – about how social change is happening today, how it can be more effective, and how we can ensure social change happens in solidarity with those most affected by social issues.
Reporting to the Head of Power and Participation, the Knowledge and Insight Manager will work across the SMK team and networks to help our strategic intelligence function to grow and develop. This means supporting all aspects of SMK’s work to understand what is happening in social change and supporting civil society to learn how to drive change in an effective and participatory way.
Developing and maintaining strong relationships – and identifying shared learning opportunities across our communities of practice and interest – will be key. You will help us track and understand trends influencing civil society, capture experiences of campaigners, and build the capacity of social change organisations to drive change in a way that is participatory and power aware. You will support the monitoring and evaluation of our learning programmes and of our wider impact.
You will use this up-to-date knowledge of social change to support the SMK team to disseminate knowledge and build greater shared understanding across civil society. This will involve producing high-quality training materials and resources and working alongside the Communications and Marketing team to develop and implement effective strategies for sharing knowledge and information across our channels and networks.
You are someone with a passion for social change, and a fascination for social change, campaigning and activism. You are able to evidence this through your writing, social media activity, and professional or voluntary experience.
You have a proven ability to build effective relationships across civil society – from established organisations to social movements, from grassroots campaigners to CEOs and Board members. You are intellectually curious, with the energy and determination to deepen our shared understanding of how social change is happening today in the UK.
You will have a good understanding of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and the way it tends to think about campaigning and social change. You have a deep commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion and to understanding the barriers and enablers to participation in the sector.
You will thrive in a small, ambitious team working on multiple projects and assignments, and have the flexibility to handle a broad and changeable workload. You’ll be able to jump right in, working closely with the team to deliver at an exciting phase of our strategic development and organisational growth.
A hybrid work environment
We have shifted to a mix of office and homeworking, but our work hasn’t slowed down. Civil society organisations are already seeing that their role as change-makers is becoming even more critical.
Our staff team are currently based around London and the South East. We would welcome applications from other parts of the country, but our offices are in central London. You would need to travel to London for a minimum of 12 days per year for Team Days, Board Away Days and other essential meetings. We thrive on working closely together, so ideally you would be willing to meet team members at our offices for co-working more frequently, but we will be flexible for the right candidate.
Travel and accommodation for working at our London office is at job-holders own expense. Expenses incurred for SMK business outside London are covered.
As Knowledge and Insight Manager, you will collaborate with colleagues across SMK to develop our knowledge, insights and capacity to support our community of campaigners and change-makers and wider civil society to drive effective, participatory social change.
Generate knowledge and insights about social change
- Build effective relationships across SMK’s team and networks, including with staff, Board members, associates, partners and communities of practice, to support effective, collaborative learning.
- Lead on horizon-scanning and collating knowledge from a range of sources – from academic research to first-hand testimony, to monitoring and evaluation processes and conversations within SMK – and convert insights into accessible content and resources to share across SMK and with diverse audiences across civil society.
- Work with programme leads to support the development and delivery of SMK’s funded learning programmes, developing creative learning materials and ensuring learning from programmes is gathered, synthesised and disseminated widely.
- Support the development, delivery and evaluation of SMK’s training, consultancy and events, providing assistance, knowledge, insights and resources as required to SMK staff and associates.
- Carry out desk research, interviews and other activity to track trends and deepen SMK’s up-to-date knowledge and understanding of effective campaigning and social change.
Communicate and disseminate knowledge
- Work alongside SMK’s Communications and Marketing team to develop and implement effective, accessible strategies for disseminating knowledge and information across civil society.
- Write clear, concise and compelling copy for a range of audiences and channels from formal reports and briefings to blogs, web copy and social media posts.
- Create engaging content for a range of channels including blogs, podcasts, social media and video
- Create presentations, tools and other resources to promote effective learning
Undertake any other duties commensurate with the purpose and remit of the post.
We're committed to creating an inclusive culture where everyone can reach their full potential. We welcome applications from people in under-represented groups. To ensure that everyone can apply and be part of our recruitment processes, where needed we will make reasonable adjustments to accommodate our candidates.
*We’re interested in experience that’s both job-related or gained through other areas of your life
- A passion for deepening understanding of how effective, participatory campaigning and social change happens.
- Ability to understand and interpret trends in social change. This could be demonstrated through a track-record within civil society, or through demonstrably transferable experience from elsewhere.
- A commitment to participatory approaches, ensuring the knowledge, insights and aspirations of people with first-hand experience of social issues are at the heart of social change.
- A good understanding of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector environment in which SMK operates.
- Project management experience, with proven ability to think strategically and plan effectively across multiple workstreams.
- Demonstrable ability to carry out research and analysis aimed at deepening individual and collective learning.
- Excellent written, interpersonal and communication skills, with a proven ability to communicate complex ideas in compelling, accurate and accessible ways for different formats (e.g. a blog or a report) and diverse audiences.
- A conscientious, methodical and ambitious team player.
- Flexible, hardworking, happy to work within a small team.
- Commitment to continuous learning and professional development.
- Experience of working with a range of software and proficient in Microsoft Office.
- Experience of developing networks and building/maintaining alliances and relationships.
- Designing resources to support learning in-person or online.
- Delivering training or facilitating learning with diverse groups, in-person or online.
- An understanding of effective digital communications strategies, including websites, social media and audio/video.
- Experience of using software including Salesforce, Mailchimp, Google Forms/Sheets/Docs
You will be asked to upload a cover letter and CV.
Your covering letter should be no more than two-pages (at a minimum font size of 11pt), and should address the following:
1. Why you want the job
2. How you meet the requirements of the role, as set out in the job description and person specification
Please note that generic application cover letters do not allow us to properly assess an application and will result in the application being screened out.
SMK is committed to being an equal opportunities employer and encourages those under-represented in the sector to apply.
Interviews will take place on Thursday 28th July 2022 via Zoom.
The client requests no contact from agencies or media sales.