Interview: David McGlashan, School for Social Entrepreneurs

Lifechangers Interview David Mcglashan

In our latest #lifechangers interview, we caught up with David McGlashan, Sales and Marketing Manager at the School for Social Entrepreneurs. He told us about selling milk door-to-door, selling course places via Mailchimp and who sends the sector up the best.

Hi David! Tell me, what does a Sales and Marketing Manager actually do?

David-McGlashanIt’s difficult to dress this one up beyond sells stuff and markets things.

For me, that’s selling places on courses at the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE). We fundraise for a number of courses which allows them to be free for participants, so the income from selling places supplements that.

Most of this is done digitally, via email marketing, social media, and online advertising. I try to get out to events and meet people too.


Give us your potted history.

Turned my back on a promising career doing whatever Ancient History graduates do by dropping out of university, going travelling, chugging (before the term even existed), selling milk delivery services door-to-door, a spell in recruitment and then working at an online start-up.

In 2011 I took a six month contract at SSE and they haven’t got round to turfing me out yet.

Take us through your typical working day.

There really is no such thing as a typical working day beyond arriving at 9am and leaving at 5pm.

In between I could be doing anything – an email marketing campaign, handling course enquiries, tweaking our Google Adwords account, delivering a marketing session for students – it’s the variety that keeps my job interesting.

What do you love most about your job? And what’s your number one challenge?

I love the autonomy. We’re very much trusted to just get on and do things at SSE and I really enjoy the freedom that gives me. If I think we should be running a new workshop, I don’t need to ask permission to do so – I can just crack on with it.

The biggest challenge is remaining focused on a task – emails and social media notifications make it really easy to get distracted. Let’s be honest, checking what’s happening on Twitter is far more interesting than putting an annual budget together…

Why do you work for the School for Social Entrepreneurs?

Three big reasons:

  1. I really enjoy my role here.
  2. I love what SSE does: empowering people to create change in their communities and improve the lives of others. Some of the work that our students are doing is phenomenal.
  3. I can commute door-to-door in 25 minutes – you can’t put a price on that in London.

What digital tools could you simply not live without and why?

Mailchimp and Facebook Ads for work – they drive about 85% of our sales between them.

I probably listen to Spotify for about five hours a day, so that as well.  

Which other charities are doing digital well?

I’m fortunate to hear loads of great examples on the Third Sector Digital Leaders course that I help deliver at SSE.

I love what RNLI do on social media and the way that they decentralise responsibility and use content generated by their lifeguard and lifeboats.  

What brands or people from outside the sector inspire you?

Brand: I’ve got a digital subscription to the New York Times and absolutely love it. No clickbait, no deliberately contrary opinion pieces designed to cause outrage, just good quality, balanced and intelligent journalism.

They also do some great stuff with email segmentation – they have more than 50 different newsletters, so you only receive exactly what you want.

Person: Harry Kane [Dave is of course a Spurs fan].

What one Twitter account / blog / email newsletter do you think everyone should follow?

I’m going to cheat and name two:

Have I Got Social Enterprise News For You, a simply magnificent weekly digest of social enterprise news written by…err, me.

I am big fan of Civil Society’s Society Diary, which comes out of every Friday and sends the sector up perfectly.


David is the Sales and Marketing Manager at The School for Social Entrepreneurs, and tweets at @DaveMcGlashan

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Matt Collins is managing director at digital marketing agency, Platypus Digital, and tweets @charitychap