About me

Speaking at Oxford Refugee Conference

Speaking at Oxford Refugee Conference

Jonathan Ellis has fast approaching 20 years’ experience as a practitioner running advocacy campaigns in the not for profit sector in the UK and internationally to push for policy and practice change.

His experience includes:

Advocacy campaigner

His current work is for Comic Relief, the International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent and the European Campaign to End Street Homelessness. He has just published his new book Campaigning for Change: an Essential Guide for Campaigning around the World and a supporting online training course Campaigning for Change on the Udemy platform

He is always open to discuss new campaigning assignments – so do get in touch

He was until December 2016 the head of policy, research and advocacy at the British Red Cross, where he led advocacy campaigns on First Aid, health and social care and refugee issues for four years.

Previously he was director of advocacy at the British Refugee Council, chief executive at the Empty Homes Agency and has led UK and international campaigns for Oxfam GB. He led the successful UK campaign against the use of supermarket vouchers for asylum seekers and the reintroduction of cash support in 2001; and the campaign for compulsory leasing of private empty property resulting in changes to the 2004 Housing Act

Teacher, trainer and coach

He has also provided international advocacy campaigns training and coaching support to Helvetas Swiss Interco-operation, the International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent, INTRAC, the South African Red Cross, the Sudanese Red Crescent, Terres des Hommes, UNHCR, Detention Forum, the Oak Foundation, and Alliance 2015. In addition he delivers advocacy campaigns training for  NVCO’s certificate in campaigning and the Sheila McKechnie Foundation’s residential training weekend.

He has extensive experience of delivering advocacy campaigns training and coaching support across the world including: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, Somaliland, South Africa, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, and across Europe.

He was also a visiting lecturer at City University in London on the MA in political communication from 2012-2015 and the MA in political reporting 2010-11. He has a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on what is campaigning now available on the Udemy training platform.


Jonathan has worked at executive director level for a large UK charity and began his career with 8 years as a senior manager in the National Health Service in the UK when he gained his MBA.

Among his voluntary roles, Jonathan is Chairman of the Bishop Simeon Trust (supporting orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa) and National Vice Chair of City of Sanctuary (helping to build a national movement in defence of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK).


Born in South Africa, he was educated at Durham (BA Hons History), Leicester (PGCE), Loughborough (MBA) and City (Certificate in Academic Practice) universities. He is a qualified teacher and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.