Why Active Change Foundation became a Pilotlight Partner Charity

Hanif Qadir
Chief Executive, Active Change Foundation

Our charity applied to Pilotlight to improve and strengthen the governance of our organisation, to make it more sustainable and increase external confidence for future funders and donors. At the time we were facing a number of drastic funding cuts which forced our trustees and management to rethink the entire organisational strategy. We were always really good at delivering the work of the charity, the management team did not always prioritise the strategic planning required to ensure sustainability beyond the current funding from statutory institutions. 

From the in depth application process to our final meeting, our charity has benefitted from every action during the Pilotlight Programme. Initial project meetings focussed on the Pilotlighters (the business mentors) gaining a well-rounded understanding of our staff, work and beneficiaries. This was followed up with a consultative approach to identifying and agreeing the areas of focus for the duration of the rest of the project. Once the key areas were identified, our management team was coached through the organisational change process.

Organisational change is not easy or comfortable. We felt the safe space created at the meetings allowed us to be completely frank and honest about what we were thinking, the challenges we faced and the reality of our financial situation. The monthly meetings acted as a critical soundboard that forced us to reflect on our processes, systems and strategic plans. The meetings also challenged our preconceived notions of what was possible and what we needed to do.

It also helped us take the time we needed to think, plan and document our ideas and strategic plans. This in itself proved most valuable because it allowed us to create a business plan that now serves as the go to document in our charity for all financial and activity related decisions. Smaller charities are always taking on additional work to secure funding without realising the cost to the organisation. With the assistance of Pilotlight we were able to streamline our services which provided greater clarity to staff, funders and our beneficiaries. The knock on effect is we are now better able to articulate our multifaceted services and create more targeted and impactful messaging.

As a small charity consisting of a three person management team, having access to skilled professionals has provided us with different perspectives as opposed to our usual reinforcing of similar views. This challenged us and has increased our capacity and confidence to embrace change.  

Finally, the entire process was professionally managed by Pilotlight, from arranging meetings and facilitating some challenging discussions in order to get our charity moving in the right direction, to ensuring actions are followed up outside of meetings.

We would wholeheartedly encourage any charity going through change or those who are not sure about how to tackle internal challenges to apply to Pilotlight to help facilitate the process. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, and your charity will definitely be in a better place from when you started.

Applications are open until 31st July for 2017 Pilotlight Partner Charities. Click here to apply. 

Active Change Foundation exists to create a world free of terrorism and violence that values young people and communities, enabling them to live in a safe and peaceful society.

Change Management, Governance

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