Matthew Payne

Matthew is the Human Behaviour Change Manager at the Dogs Trust, advising and supporting the UK and international educational teams by creating and managing monitoring and evaluation processes, performance indicators and outcomes frameworks. This includes designing workable and large-scale national impact evaluations, such as classroom randomised-control trials and online surveys aimed at target audiences, whilst also reporting and disseminating the findings to key stakeholders.

Matthew also provides advice and support on the use of behavioural science theoretical models and processes to design and deliver behaviour change projects which incorporate education and other intervention types. This also includes detailed audience segmentation and behavioural analysis through primary and secondary research as well as the development of Theory of Change models.

Before this, Matthew worked for another UK-wide charity, managing citizen science projects in some of the lowest socio-economic communities in Western Europe, assessing drivers and barriers to behaviours, designing interventions as part of a formal project management approach to change behaviours whilst also managing a small team of volunteers and staff and organising community events. This role also provided him with the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and to North America, presenting to a wide range of audiences on the outcome of our team’s work.

Matthew’s extensive knowledge of educational planning, pedagogical models and teaching delivery derived from the seven years I spent working in education as a classroom teacher for various age groups (4-11) as well as a multi-departmental manager of several key subjects and age groups, where I managed a staff of over 20 and a cohort of over 300 pupils and families.

More recently, Matthew co-founded and co-host the Animal Chat Podcast which has already generated listeners in over 40 countries around the world. This experience has provided him with a unique experience and knowledge of how to design and deliver new modes of communication to reach an international audience.

A chat with Matthew

Tell us a little bit about you and your journey into behaviour change in relation to improving the lives of animals?

In 2015, I was fortunate enough to attend the first ever Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare conference organised by HBCA in Dorking. Before attending the conference, I had very little understanding of behavioural models or theory, audience segmentation and psychology as a general discipline. From there, I carried out my own research and reading into the subject area, following the work of some of the industry’s leading experts and attending conferences in my spare time where possible.

Why does behaviour change matter?

Individuals and communities have always been directly or indirectly involved in the conservation of the natural world. Past practices by well-intentioned groups have at times been guilty of excluding or being in direct conflict with many of these individuals and communities, often to the detriment of the neighbouring animals and natural world.

For me, behaviour change is different! Instead of dictating, groups now nudge, incentivise, persuade, educate, empower and inspire individuals and communities to work with them to reach a destination which benefits all of these interested parties.

Most inspiring behaviour change intervention (animal welfare or other) and why?

I would have to suggest the community Camera-Trapping Initiative that the inspirational Amy Dickman and her team designed and delivered through the equally inspiring and innovative Ruaha Carnivore Project!

The aim of the programme is to connect communities with the presence of wildlife on their land. The project had previously been using camera traps themselves, and they wanted to expand this, but lots of the traps were being regularly stolen by villagers for a number of reasons. To combat this, the project decided on a different approach. Instead, they started to train and employ local villagers to set camera traps on their village land.

This is how it works. The project selects two people who train as ‘community camera-trap officers’ for a single village and the project provides all the equipment. Once the traps have been placed and images collected, every image of a wild animal captured on the camera traps generates a certain number of points depending on the likely conflict risk and endangerment of the species concerned. For example, a dikdik = 1000 points but an African wild dog = 20,000 points.

Local villages then compete against each other on a quarterly basis to see who can generate the most points. The winning village for each quarter received approx. $2000 worth of additional community benefits, 2nd gets $1500, 3rd gets $1000 and 4th $500 at the end of the quarter celebration. All the villages are shown the images at his celebration so they can see and learn about the wildlife which is being photographed on their land and directly generating these benefits.

This programme has been a resounding success and you can read more about it below through the link to the project’s website, but most strikingly, whole villages have started putting into place community bans against both lion and elephant hunts. Even more striking is that some villages are starting to fine young cattle men themselves if these men go out on traditional lion hunts. This is compared to before the programme when villages would reward young cattle men for participating in these hunts.

More information:

What’s your vision for behaviour change for the next five years?

I have given this question a lot of thought over the previous twelve months and for me, the most pressing issue is for organisations to start sharing good practice of how to integrate human behaviour change theory and models into existing project management systems and/or new organisation strategies.

Whilst processes such as the widely respected Behaviour Change Wheel by (Michie et al, 2011) or models such as the ‘go-to’ Theory of Planned Behaviour (Azjen 1991) enable organisations to understand and categorise drivers and barriers to single behaviours and/or to design interventions to change behaviour, they do have their limitations.

I believe passionately that human behaviour change without effective project management is futile, and over the next five years, I would like the industry to start to concentrate just as much on the logistics of incorporating human behaviour change into departments, teams and projects. Furthermore, we need to do more to ensure that where behaviour change is being discussed or promoted in organisations or departments, high quality training and support on what constitutes behaviour change and how it can be implemented into a new organisations, department or team is easily accessible.

One example of this is that in my opinion, more emphasis needs to be placed on audience segmentation as recommended by TRAFFIC; touching points which are promoted by RARE and the Behavioural Insights Team; and ‘journey-mapping’ which is promoted by Elizarova and Kahn (2018)– all of which can help prioritise which behaviours and audiences to target and when as well as help decide where to allocate resources. These are all integral aspects of any successful project management and human behaviour change approach and in my experience, are rarely being implemented or even considered outside of large organisations.

Without this support or training, I am concerned that behaviour change could be being introduced or delivered into organisations incorrectly and therefore not reaching its full potential – which can only contribute towards greater suspicion to this emerging area.

Why do you like working with HBCA?

I like working with HBCA because above all – Jo, Suzanne and the entire team are welcoming, professional, open to new ways of thinking and supportive of any one who is trying to use behaviour change to improve the lives of animals and communities around the globe.

Top tip for organisations getting started with behaviour change?

Think carefully about the behaviour you wish to change and concentrate on this! Is your chosen behaviour actually a behaviour or are you taking about or wide-ranging issue? When considering introducing behaviour change, take the time to consider which are the target behaviours you wish to change to improve welfare, who is performing these behaviours, what are the drivers and barriers to this behaviour for each audience, how are you going to target them and is this a good use of resources? Always refer to a model or process to support you with this and never think of your intervention before you have taken the time to analyse your behaviour.



  • Incorporating Behaviour Change Models and Processes in Project Management
  • Development and delivery of education strategies as part of a wider human behaviour change approach


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