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Operations Manager Position!

January 8, 2015

At Charity Challenge we are recruiting for an exciting new Operations Manager role! If you think this could be the perfect job for you, please have a look at the job specification below. You could be part of our unique organisation, helping to change people’s lives and raise millions for charity!

Our company – Challenges (Un)Limited, trading as Charity Challenge – has been in business for 15 years and is currently 15 people strong. We work exclusively for the charity sector, raising funds for worthwhile causes. We operate treks, bike rides, mountain climbs and other adventure travel itineraries, whereby our clients raise money for charity through their participation. We operate about 100+ challenges a year and have raised over £40m for 1700+ UK, Irish and Canadian registered charities to date. In 2012 we launched a new operation out of Toronto, Canada.
The company has gone from strength to strength developing an excellent reputation both within the corporate and charity sectors, donating hundreds of thousands of pounds to local community projects in the countries in which we operate, and building houses, schools and health centres in developing countries as part of our award winning community challenge program.
In 2013 and 2014, we were voted the Best Challenge Company by the charity membership of the Institute of Fundraising. For more information on the company, please visit

The role of the Operations Manager
We are looking to recruit someone with experience, drive and passion to join our operations team. With your primary focus as an Operations Manager being on safety and risk management as well as improving and maintaining excellent standards of quality and customer experience, you will manage around 10 different itineraries with 40+ departures in up to 11 different countries. You will work within an operations team of 6, reporting to the Senior Operations Manager

The Operations manager role includes the following key functions:

• Pre-challenge:
o Reviewing and updating all safety documentation for your challenge portfolio.
o Booking new departure dates in cooperation with the sales/flights teams
o Researching and assisting in the setting up of new itineraries
o Monitoring participant numbers, ensuring/monitoring profitability in liaison with the finance team
o Liaising with ground handlers to ensure all operational details are correct, that any ad hoc changes or difference to exclusive itineraries have been organised and accounted for and any extra costs passed to the sales team.
o Managing the ground handlers and negotiating rates.
o Dealing with queries from clients regarding all elements of the challenges and briefing leaders
o Liaison with the flights team to ensure group flight schedules are all uploaded, leaders’ and medics’ flights are booked, extensions, add-ons and special requests are all in order

• During-challenge:
o Effectively handling emergencies / crises (on call duty including evenings and weekends on a rota basis).
o Ensuring any other arising operational issues are resolved and the challenge is running smoothly
• Post-challenge:
o Gathering as much feedback as possible (from clients, medics and challenge leaders) in order to continually improve safety and quality
o Liaising with ground handlers with a view to implementing changes to avoid re-occurrence of problems.
o Responding to passenger complaints and feedback

• General:
o Ensuring ground handlers in each country are working within their contract with Charity Challenge.
o Taking responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of the quality and most importantly, the safety of your challenges – including training and ongoing appraisal of both UK and local leaders.
o Assisting with the recruitment and training of both UK and local leaders as required
o Liaising with the flights department regarding airlines and fares to ensure the correct flights are booked for all your challenges and that the agreed fares are within budget.
o Liaising with clients: helping them prepare for their challenge, sending out visa application info, vaccinations, kit list etc, joining instructions, updates to their itineraries and flight details etc. Collate challenge feedback and respond where necessary to problems. Assisting clients with insurance claims on their return etc.
o Contracting challenge leaders and doctors, and ensuring challenge leaders and doctors are prepared for their challenge with briefings, manual and relevant documents.
o Organising and conducting a debrief post-challenge and detailed information fed back to the ground handler.
o Prepare and ensure all customer facing documents are up to date and accurate on the website – Q&A / fact file / itinerary / kit list
o Attending WTM and other trade exhibitions as appropriate/required
o Cross checking invoices from ground handlers and ensuring payment is made promptly
o Assessing current GH costs and seeing where cost reductions could be made. Acquiring shadow quotes and negotiating with ground handlers to reduce those costs
o Product Development – help with developing new challenges in liaison with the Operations and/or Sales team
o Bespoke challenges – assisting in tailor making exclusive group challenges: sourcing ground handler, devising itinerary to client specifications, liaison with GH and negotiating cost.
o Management of and responsibility for operations-based projects as per requirements
o Assess levels of in country branding on your challenges and make recommendations to the marketing team
o Blog writing or sourcing blogs for challenges within your area.
o Product and sales webinars and presentations.

Core competencies
• We are of course looking for someone with the relevant group/charity tour operation and adventure travel experience who has a sound knowledge of principles of safety and risk management.
• You should have experience of leading adventure travel groups and working in remote destinations. Work in the charity sector is desirable but not a pre-requisite.
• You should be a self-starter who can manage his/her own time efficiently, and who is not fazed by balancing a workload of wide-ranging tasks. You should be able to competently project manage many tasks, with a high level of care to all at the same time.
• Specifically, excellent attention to detail, a good level of spoken and written English and a focus on organisation and following processes is absolutely key.
• You should also have the ability to take the initiative with regards to running your own portfolio of challenges and be a confident and competent communicator with clients and overseas ground handlers.
• You will mainly be using Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Microsoft Outlook as well as our in-house database.

What you can expect from us
• We are a small, friendly business in North London, full of people with passion for what they are doing. It is a lively and busy environment. This is a chance to do something special, and work not only in the travel but also the charity sector.
• The job may also include experiencing the challenges and/or conducting inspection trips, so may include some international travel as dictated by the needs of the business.
• Salary is from £21-24k depending on experience.
• Mon-Fri 0900-1730hrs. One week in 4 will be spent on 24 hour emergency duty but occasionally you could be required to be on duty more frequently than this.
• 24 days holiday a year plus your birthday as a bonus day off, and one extra day each year up to a maximum of 27 days after three years continuous service

To apply for the Operations Manager role email your CV along with a covering letter to 

Application Deadline: Friday 16th January 2015

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