Supporter experience design thinking: Twelve countries, twelve workshops, twelve months later – lessons learned from the UNHCR on adopting design thinking and journey mapping

Over a period of about two years, the UNHCR, one of the fastest growing charitable organisations in the world, has been investing in learning and adopting a design-thinking approach based on donor experience journey mapping – with empathy at its core. The session presenter introduced 12 offices globally (from Stockholm to Beirut to Tokyo) to the new methodology.  

The workshop will begin with a concise, hands-on introduction to the experience design methodology based on journey mapping. This will be followed by a candid summary of obstacles to adoption and lessons learned at UNHCR and other corporate clients. We will address cultural differences, securing buy-in, facilitator training, persona development, journey selection, incorporating storytelling, inviting colleagues, developing the skills for both ‘painstorming’ and brainstorming, focusing on design, and testing prototypes. This workshop is an evolution of the journey mapping methodology first introduced at the IFC in 2015, facilitated by the same speaker, who was voted Best New Speaker at that event. 


Aimed at: 

A variety of roles and responsibilities inside the organization will benefit, including: 

  • Leaders 
  • Designers 
  • Front line
  • Digital
  • Managers 
  • Individuals giving 
  • Leadership giving 
  • Consultants 
  • Partners


Learning outcomes: 

  • A practical, hands-on introduction to journey mapping with a relatable fundraising example 
  • A stronger understanding of supporter experience design, both ‘how’ and ‘why’ 
  • A practical guide for how to start or strengthen your organisation’s focus on the supporter 
  • Common pitfalls and obstacles, with strategies to support change and growth


Atsuko Allison Ueda (Japan)
COO / Head of Fundraising, Japan for UNHCR
Brian Walsh (Canada)
Principal, Structured Empathy