Behaviour change experts build social connections for older adults

Posted on May 10, 2019

Behaviour change experts build social connections for older adults News Post Image


Over the last five years Rory Sutherland and the behaviour change team at Ogilvy have worked with our cause members to tackle pressing social and environmental problems.

The social enterprise BuddyHub works to support lonely older adults in London by connecting them with new friends. Last summer Ogilvy’s Summer School for young behaviour change experts worked with BuddyHub to develop low cost solutions for their biggest marketing issues.

We caught up with Catherine McClen, CEO of BuddyHub, to hear about their progress with implementing the Summer Schoolers' behaviour change ideas.


In July 2018 we asked the Ogilvy Summer School teams to help us with three problems:

  1. To increase the number of older adults who express an interest in the BuddyHub service

  2. To increase the number of older Buddies who volunteer with us

  3. To increase the number of potential volunteers completing the DBS check process

Many compelling ideas were presented by the Summer School teams and we worked together to identify the easiest solutions to start with. The ideas ranged from new materials to engage more older adults in need of our service, a loyalty card to increase the number of older Buddies who volunteer with us, and communications tactics to ensure a higher conversion rate for volunteers showing an interest.

We are still testing and rolling out these fantastic solutions and have adpated some of the ideas. And we are very pleased to say that in the seven months since implementing the ideas to encourage our volunteers to complete their DBS check our conversion rate has doubled from 43% to 87%!

Thank you so much for helping us keep so many more of the interested Buddies engaged with us! This work is essential to maximise our efficiency as we prepare to scale up our services.

We will be coming back to so many of the ideas that came out of the Summer School so the impact will go on long into the future. You also showed us what is possible when you reframe problems from a behavioural insights perspective.

Thank you Ogilvy for choosing BuddyHub to be your Summer School cause for 2018. Thank you Pimp my Cause for making it all happen!

Thank you to all the Summer Schoolers for all your great work. Your insights, enthusiasm and energy have been such a boost to this small team with a big dream!

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