Clearer Thinking – December 2023

Looking back on all we have achieved was a wonderful exercise, and I would recommend it to everyone. Sometimes we are all too busy delivering to take a breath, a pause and see how far we have come.

2023 has been an amazing year for supporting our everyday heroes of social justice – you!

Here are just some of my highlights:

Launching The Leadership Catalyst

Having worked with brilliant but burned out charity CEOs for over 13 years, launching The Leadership Catalyst – for leaders who are underrepresented in the influencing and decision making in the sector – has been a personal highlight for me.

I have launched two cohorts of this group coaching programme this year, for those who have chosen to invest in achieving a more fulfilling leadership experience and maximising their social impact. They are a great lineup of skills, knowledge and experience: a mixture of national, international, place-based and hyper local charities.

We’re already planning our third cohort so that more people can benefit from the richness of conversation, support and strategies to be discussed that these sessions generate towards a leadership experience they truly desire.

Bringing the Learning to Lunchtime!

This year we delivered seven lunchtime masterclasses with over 150 charity leaders attending throughout the year!

These included:

Karis Theophane, Patrick McKay, Godwin Deveer, Orysya Novetska, Nary Wijeratne, Daisy Srblin, Mina Patel, Chris Murray, Asha Mohamed, Elly Heaton, Bianca Tavella and so many more.
Thank you for the amazing feedback, and sharing all your wonderful results!

We are planning a great lineup of Masterclasses for 2024. It’s not too late to get in your requests, and we’ll do our best to respond.

Watch out for the first one in January – Maximise Your Impact in 2024, I’ll share how you can book on and secure your space in early next week.

Helping you Get to Grips with Your Organisation’s Financials

This year, we have helped over 45 voluntary organisations across nine boroughs around the country to carry out financial analyses to improve their strategic financial decision making and ensure they are able to understand, ask for and recover the full costs of their services.

We have helped them to understand the rates they need to use to calculate their services accurately, present these in a compelling way, and enhance their ability to make strategic financial decisions to drive towards greater financial sustainability.

I’m thrilled that we already have agreements in place to support another 40 voluntary organisations in 2024, and have space for a further 20. If you’d like to know how to get involved please get in touch.

Helping our Clients to Scale Their Impact

We were so excited to support Christopher Murray and the team at Young Brent Foundation with their brilliant initiative Brent Goes Global.

A collaboration between the Raheem Sterling Foundation and Young Brent Foundation had launched its Brent Goes Global project which will see a group of 15 young people travel to Jamaica to work on community-established social action projects.

We are supporting them to take what was an incredibly successful pilot to incorporate as a standalone charity, which will enable them to be more independent in generating income.

Racking up another Twelve Months as a John Lyon’s Charity Advisor

I was really pleased to be invited to become an Advisor to John Lyon’s Charity, which gives grants to benefit children and young people up to the age of 25 who live in nine boroughs in North and West London, and to assist them for a second year. I will continue to support them by providing advice on policy and strategic issues relating to the sustainability of small voluntary and community sector organisations.

This feels particularly important as the sustainability of the sector relies on funders and other key influencers evolving to meet its needs, and I’m proud to play a role in how John Lyon’s Charity does that.

If you are a funder or commissioner, ask me what data and insights we are gathering from the sector.

Showing You The Money!

This year we managed to help a number of our clients secure significant income. Highlights included one of our clients securing several multi year and core funding with our help to navigate lengthy application and due diligence processes. We are pleased that this will enable them to have more flexibility, more breathing space and a bit more peace of mind to be better resourced to deliver really important services in their communities.

We helped another secure their first multi year core grant, which will buy them time and skills to leverage further income and grow their charity.

In a first for us, we supported Karis Theophane, Founder and CEO of Jerk Grill restaurant with their impact report and theory of change, helping her to secure a whopping £60,000 of social investment from Trust for London for her social enterprise. We know that lots of voluntary organisations shy away from social investment but, I have to admit now I’m a bit of a convert. Especially as I know the difference it will make to Jerk Grill which is now moving into a permanent space in East London!

Acting as a Learning Partner to Accelerate Your Impact

We were delighted to be asked by Richmond Parish Lands Charity to act as their learning partner as they embarked on an ambitious strategic review journey. I’d had a great experience of working with their CEO in his previous role, and jumped at the opportunity to work with Phil Barron again.

Our role was flexible and included acting as a sounding board, facilitating workshops and developing their strategic framework, and they recently launched their Annual Report to great acclaim.

Our work with funders is geared towards helping them ensure that their resources reach the places (and people) that need them the most, and I know Richmond upon Thames will be better for the amount of time and effort the team and trustees have put into this process.

We Achieved Clearer Thinking with Our Own Brand Messaging

We support so many organisations with their strategy, often in the form of away days using expert facilitation to support their future planning.

Growing the team has meant I have had the opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate our strategy. We partnered with Baboosh! Brand Collective to bring their expertise in brand strategy to the voluntary organisations that we work with as we embark on an ambitious strategy to engage more funders supporting our work.

If you are wanting to diversify your income and develop your messaging to reach new audiences, particularly if you are thinking about donations, corporate sponsors I can highly recommend Dani and her team.

Our Team Doubled in Size to Further Support You!

I was delighted to welcome Olivia Sixsmith and Nikita Shah to the team to deliver strategic support to our clients. They were joined by Linda Cheeseright who helps everything run smoothly in the background.

What this has meant is more capacity for me and, following a strategic development process of our own towards the end of 2023, I’m looking forward to putting our plans into action to achieve more impact in 2024.

As 2023 draws to a close, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. I really value our clients and I am grateful to be able to continue on this journey with you and to help propel you from purpose to profound impact.