10 Questions With Danny Denhard, Marketing Director for JustGiving

In this ’10 questions with’ post, Meltwater had a chat with Danny Denhard, Marketing Director at JustGiving. Here’s a little insight into the goings on in Danny’s mind and how us PR, Comms and Marketing professionals can leverage some of his past experiences and advice in our daily work life.

Q1. How long have you been Marketing Director at JustGiving and what led you down this path?

There have been quite a few steps leading me to where I am today. Marketing has always been something I was interested in, even when I ran the tuck shop at secondary school.

I have worked across so many verticals, from online computer stores to finance to high-end fashion to hyper competitive travel market, which means you work directly with various different departments and versions of marketing.

I’ve worked in-house three times, agency side twice (rolling out social media) and had my own consultancy. It spanned across every marketing discipline you can imagine and has given me a unique 360 view of marketing and brand landscape. I have also worked on a number of marketplace businesses – they are fascinating to work with and on.

When I had my own consultancy, I was approached by the CMO of JustGiving who had been recommended me a few times and was really taken in by the work and impact they were seeing by having me in two days a week. JustGiving was the only place I could see myself leaving my own consultancy for to work full time and help.

I was convinced two years ago to join full time by the CMO and Head of People. I started off leading Product Marketing and then was part of the leadership team for JustGiving Crowdfunding where anyone can raise money for any good cause. As of six months ago, it evolved into the Director of Marketing role.

Q2. What’s the best professional advice you have been given?

I have two pieces of advice that ring true every day, both applicable to professional and work life:

1. Manners cost nothing (treat everyone the same and be kind). This was from a very success COO of a large company. She knew everyone’s name, what they did,  something about them and had some gems of advice.

2. Never be afraid to ask a “stupid question.” This works two-fold, you have to understand what is going on, and more often, if people cannot explain it simply enough then they don’t understand the problem well enough.

My best piece of advice is always to make sure you have at least two hours per day to: plan, think and do. I recommend reading/ listening to Deep Work by Cal Newport.

Q3: What inspires you creatively?

Usually walks, conversations with people who do completely different things to me and at the moment nostalgic things. I often find myself watching a Disney or Pixar movie and it always triggers something in my head. I have to start sketching, writing or typing.

Our office is a minute from the Tate and a good walkthrough can really inspire me or get me thinking differently.

Being forced into a meeting room and brainstorming really doesn’t work. Going for a walk or being somewhere different to challenge or change your way of thinking is really important and sparks something different inside me.

Q4: Do you have any quirky daily rituals?

I’m a morning person, I like how quiet mornings are and I go into the office super early. I don’t have too many daily quirks, but I’m always listening to a podcast – especially on my morning commute and my walks. I find it wakes me up, offers food for thought and often gives me something to make notes about and challenge myself on.

Q5: How do you see the charity industry landscape changing in the next five years?

That’s a huge question, but I see it going in a few areas:

1. Charity crowdfunding

Personal crowdfunding has had huge growth. As humans, we really resonate with personal stories and charities being able to support individuals. Helping to amplify their stories will be a positive shift for many.

We see people’s stories evolving; their needs and treatment are changing constantly, as does the narrative. This is where crowdfunding and fundraising will become more and more blurry and assistance from charities and friends is vital.

The power of the human story has never been so easy to get out and spread internationally. Charities have great opportunity here.
There will be great opportunity with mixed reality and developing stories across multiple platforms. This will allow people to truly see what others see and almost experience their struggles or walk in other people’s shoes.

2. Move from offline to online

A high percentage of money raised for charities is still offline. With great platforms like ours and many ways to donate online, it will move online and contactless. I can see platforms making it even easier for people to help charities with one click or voice donations. It’s an exciting area to be a part of.

3. More virtual events and challenges

You won’t have to run that marathon or jump out of a plane, you could do these activities from home, the gym or a swimming pool via new tech. You don’t have to be there in person.

I can see more of this happening, especially with integrated wearable technologies. Someone recently ran a marathon from the other side of the world on a treadmill to be a part of the efforts and live streamed it. This will become more normal in next couple of years.

Q6: As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to design football kits until 11 or so and then I wanted to be a sports journalist. When I was 15 I won a young football journalist award and then, unfortunately, my work experience was at the local paper and it really put me off.

Q7: What is your favourite thing to do, outside of work?

Honestly, it’s simple things like relaxing. Whether it is cooking or going out to eat (I’m lucky enough to review restaurants on my girlfriend’s lifestyle blog) or strolls on weekends. I also still really enjoy going to the cinema.

Q8: What is your top tip for creating a successful social media marketing strategy?

I think there are a few core themes’ companies should always follow when creating social media strategies:

1. Understand your audience, understand their subculture and test what works for your audience (see how they share and engage with each other, make it natural and build out that muscle memory).

2. Don’t always look at your competitors for inspiration, go outside your vertical or niche and get inspiration of what they do well and apply to your company and niche. Stop copying your competitors.

3. Create content that leverages these four things:
Informs (people), (makes people) laugh, educate (around your cause) and (gives) inspiration.

4. Curate or create content you are proud of / that isn’t overly promotional. Question if I wouldn’t pay to promote this, is it good enough to post organically?

5. GO ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE – reply, speak and converse with your audience, don’t just post and ignore.

Check out the slides from the event we hosted with Danny from JustGiving to learn more about this!


Q9: What was your favourite project to work on and why?

I have had such a wide-ranging experience with so many companies. There are a few that stand out:

I worked with a great team at VoucherCodes.co.uk, the atmosphere and culture was so unique and truly a one off. The company really was built the right way by the three co-founders, and we achieved some great things – especially with our integrated content marketing campaigns.

Another highlight is working with Farfetch when they were a year or so in. It was great to be a part of their growth, they are doing incredibly well.

I really enjoyed hosting a training workshop with HungryHouse. They just got it! The whole team came up with some great ideas. I love working with challenger brands.

Q10: What is your favourite publication or blog to read?

I don’t have a favourite, to be honest, my (get)pocket app is where I store everything I must read from the hundreds of digest emails I am signed up to.
I still have a magazine subscription to Wired and they always come on holiday or flights away with me. I share my weekly must reads on my LinkedIn.

That’s it for today’s 10 questions with Danny from JustGiving, Keep an eye out for our next one!