What We Do

Pilotlight helps ambitious charities and social enterprises thrive by harnessing the skills of business leaders

About Pilotlight

Pilotlight is a unique, capacity building charity offering free tailored strategic planning support to charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK. Through the Pilotlight Programme, we match directors from charities and social enterprises with teams of senior business people and facilitate a year long engagement to plan for sustainability, development and growth.   

Pilotlight was founded by Jane Tewson in 1996 and in 2003 Fiona Halton (CEO from 2000 to 2013) launched the Pilotlight model we work with today.

Since then, we have recruited more than 1000 business leaders to serve as mentors and coaches for over 500 charitable organisations, which work to help improve the lives of those who need it most. 

Annual Accounts 2016 

Annual Accounts 2015

How we do it

We handpick teams of business leaders – Pilotlighters – from a range of corporate sectors. Charities and social enterprises are then matched with a team of four Pilotlighters, chosen specifically for their range of skills and experience, who support them to develop strategic and business plans.

Teams meet their partner organisation every month over a 10 to 12-month period. An experienced project manager facilitates each project, ensuring that work remains focused and effective.

The Pilotlighters help the charities' leaders create more sustainable and efficient organisations by offering the kind of high quality, challenging mentoring that is normally only available to top corporate executives.

The Pilotlight Programme is about exchanging skills so that our partner organisations are not the only ones to benefit - Pilotlighters have the opportunity to test their talents in a new and challenging context, network with peers from other industries and disciplines, and learn new skills and approaches that they can bring back to their organisations.

Our vision is a world in which charities and business work together to achieve positive social change.

Our mission is to help charities help more people more effectively. We will achieve this by:

  • using our unique method that matches business leaders with charitable organisations to equip them with (OR coach them in) the skills they need to succeed (OR the skills they need for long-term sustainability);
  • increasing the impact of the charities we work with;
  • building a community of philanthropists;
  • promoting Pilotlight as a benchmark of excellence.

Pilotlight Theory of Change

Our aim is to help charities and social enterprises become more resilient and deliver more effective and efficient services, resulting in better outcomes for disadvantaged. Through our theory of change, we work directly with charity leaders, providing them with the tools and skills to strengthen their organisations and therefore have a bigger impact in the communities they serve.

We are always keen to hear from charities, social enterprises or business people who are interested in joining Pilotlight. Interested charities and social enterprises can contact us on 020 7283 7010 or pilotlight@pilotlight.org.uk.

If you are interested in becoming a Pilotlighter please call our membership team on 020 7283 7010.