The Rhodes Trust

Lightful Solutions case study

Lightful's online portal for the University Of Oxford’s Rhodes Scholars programme changed the way fellowships were delivered

Client name
Rhodes Trust
Client type
Oxford, U.K.
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The challenge

The Rhodes Trust, an educational charity that supports exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford, hired Lightful to transform their use of technology and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The Rhodes Trust needed to navigate a complex web of stakeholder requirements - from staff to scholars - and design a best-in-class alumni experience that would increase and streamline engagement between past and present Rhodes scholars.

Despite managing one of the most prestigious and well-known scholarships and alumni communities in the world, the Rhodes Trust suffered from common organisational problems like inconsistent use of data, perpetuated by out-dated technological systems. People depended on manual data management and struggled to deliver valuable community or matching experiences to alumni as a result of unreliable information and a lack of coordination across teams.

Thanks to a dedicated development, consultancy and project management team, Lightful was able to identify multiple areas for improvement. By testing new concepts and designing different solutions, we helped the Rhodes Trust radically improve their digital alumni experience in an iterative and innovative way.

What Lightful delivered


Lightful built the Rhodes Trust a brand new fit-for-purpose alumni portal on Salesforce. This allowed them to unify their communication workflows and create a one-stop contact point for Rhodes alumni.

Lightful developed two key technology platforms - a multi-community platform and an underlying, unified system - that together powered multiple applications for different users. The multi-community platform powered the visible layer, which Scholars and other stakeholders could use to access different services. System unification supported all of the behind-the-scenes technology, and tamed a huge amount of complexity in a single, simplified location.

  • System unification incorporated applications, stipends, financial reconciliation, relationship management, fundraising, course management, event management, contracts, scholar selection, communications, surveys, robust analysis and reporting

  • Multi-community platform allowed Rhodes Scholars and stakeholders to connect, access, interact and progress through personalised information and user journeys

Over the course of a multi-year project, working with multiple Rhodes Trust teams, Lightful delivered more effective workflows across communications and many other areas of the organisation, saving time for Rhodes Trust stakeholders and employees.

The Rhodes Trust now has a scalable, flexible and world-class system that will sustain them into the future. The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international graduate scholarship programme in the world, and thanks to long-term support from the Lightful team, the whole community can now connect through the most modern technology.

Ben Pinches
Project Manager, Rhodes Trust

Lightful are Salesforce implementation consultants with a deep understanding of nonprofits and real empathy for affected staff. Their flexible approach will suit small to medium-sized organisations who are fully committed to digital transformation. We have benefited from their agility, patience and positive approach that has remained constant throughout a difficult working period heavily impacted by COVID-19.

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