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27 Apr, 2023 2 min read

Digital Community Leaders  - Clare Sutcliffe MBE

We Chat With Clare Sutcliffe MBE To Hear About Her Experience With Creating Code Club, Building Engaged Communities And Much More
Digital Community Leaders  - Clare Sutcliffe MBE

The first episode of our brand new podcast starred a prestigious guest in the world of digital community. From social entrepreneur to co-founder of Code Club, Clare has valuable experience which she kindly shared through her conversation with our host Pete.

Clare’s career started as a user experience designer, originally trained in graphic design. Her journey in user experience led her to meet her now co-founder Linda Sandvik, who she created Code Club with in 2012. Code Club is an after school coding club, boasting 15,000 clubs in 160 countries - with 180,000 children per week learning to code. 

Getting Volunteers

Clare offered her advice around outreaching for volunteers, which is a common stumbling block for many. A key point was the focus on who to look for as volunteers. Where Clare was looking for volunteers for a coding club, naturally she went searching for people in the tech industry.

Over time, she realised that they needed to open up their volunteering opportunities to those who were keen to learn themselves. The approach changed from gathering experts, to providing an encouragement role for the children.

Aiming for volunteers who were willing to learn broadened the market and allowed more clubs being able to run.

“We used our personal networks to encourage people to volunteer. We tried to make it as easy as possible, so every barrier that we heard of, we would try and remove that.”

— Clare Sutcliffe MBE, DCL Podcast

Strategies for Increasing Engagement

Engagement is a huge topic in the community world, and successful strategies to increase this can be largely dependant on a few factors. The format, subject matter, size and purpose of a community are all examples of things that Clare suggested to keep in mind when tackling engagement. 

“There are so many different ways that you can measure engagement, and actually I prefer to think of it as ‘involvement’, because involvement is a lot deeper and more meaningful.”

— Clare Sutcliffe MBE, DCL Podcast

In terms of strategy, Clare mentioned that aligning your community on a mission that they care about can provide a way to take action as a group. This achievement can supply opportunities for learning, as well as connection between members.

This can transform a community from a transactional setting, into an emotional connection - which is much more beneficial for the long-term. 

Overall, Clare shared countless nuggets of gold throughout our conversation, answering our questions with great knowledge and a clear passion for community. No matter what your role in community, there’s something here for you. 

Check out this episode of the DCL podcast - out now on all streaming platforms, as well as our YouTube Channel.