Saman Kazmi – Digital Marketing Manager @ Australia for UNHCR


1. Before we dive into your role at Australia for UNHCR, what has your career journey looked like so far?

Before joining the humanitarian sector, I worked for Google for almost 7 years in various capacities, from running Ad Ops to Product go-to-market teams. I was fortunate to work with teams across the globe and gain experience in working with cross functional teams.

I started my not for profit career with Australian Red Cross as a consultant and helped review their digital roadmap and strategy.

2. Transitioning into work, what does a Digital Marketing Manager @ Australia for UNHCR do?

What is Australia for UNHCR? 

Australia for UNHCR is an Australian charity that raises funds and support for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN’s Refugee Agency. 

UNHCR is mandated to aid and protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, and to assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

How is the marketing function structured? 

The overall marketing function is part of the fundraising org, with digital marketing at its core. Digital fundraising and marketing is a significant area of focus and growth for all of UNHCR including A4U.

What does your role entail? 

I lead the digital fundraising and marketing team at A4U. We are responsible for all digital channels including acquisition and retention. 

My main focus is to ensure my team is well supported in their work to raise the much needed funds for those in need.  

I’m involved in creating the digital strategy for our team and consulting other teams to influence digital roadmaps.

3. What’s an example of a campaign that you’ve worked on and what was your role in bringing it to life?

Project/Campaign Name: Emergency Response Campaign

What was it?

We are an emergency response organisation and our focus is to ensure help is sent to those in need at the earliest. We wanted to reduce our speed to market during an emergency. Emergency situations call for a lot of ambiguity and decisions made on the fly.

 We worked closely with our fundraising and comms team to put together an emergency response plan incorporating all the channels which would ensure that our message was shared with the right audience at the earliest. 

We designed a strategy to integrate offline and online channels and created synergies between them. We mobilised and tested new channels like multiscreen and SMS to reach out to not just our most engaged supporter base and new audiences who have an affinity towards humanitarian causes

What was your role?

My main role was to ensure that we were covering all the relevant channels and involved all the right people both internal and external stakeholders. 

The most critical piece was to have clear communication around the project and timelines. Sharing timely updates with all the stakeholders and working with the team on creating a process and launch plan for the same.

4. What do the entry level pathways for marketers in not for profits look like?

If your passion is connected to a cause, feel free to reach out to the organisation. 

We are always looking for people with not just the right skills but also the right attitude. 

Having switched from a super tech industry to not for profit myself, I can say this from personal experience that as long as you have relevant skills and the right attitude, you’ll find a spot in the right charity. 

I’m happy to have a chat with those interested.

5. What’s one thing you recommend an aspiring marketer do right now?

Stay curious and on top of the changing landscape of marketing. Be open to adapting yourself and your approach to things and keep an open mind.

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