Could you be our next business volunteer?

Bruce McCombie
Head of Partnerships, Pilotlight

This week David Goldstone, a partner at executive search firm Osprey Clarke hosted an introduction event where we talked to a diverse mix of business leaders about how we can help them break out of the bubble of their day jobs, and give something back. 

During the evening our chair Graham Clempson talked about how growth in the charity sector is often not more than 1%. Our latest Impact Summary shows that 2 years after their engagement with Pilotlight charities report a 53% increase in their reach and a 28% average increase in their income, demonstrating that our programme has a proven strategic impact. David himself said that he had been interested in helping charities for a long time but worried that any meaningful commitment would be an unmanageable drain on his time and resources (a statement which received many murmurs of agreement from the attendees). These trepidations, however, were quickly forgotten when he realised that the Pilotlight Programme required just three hours contact-time a month due to the managed process we provide, and a small annual donation. For us at Pilotlight it is essential to address these very common barriers to charitable participation, and all our programmes are explicitly designed as well-managed processes, because we know the senior business leaders who become our Pilotlighters are often very busy individuals. David went on to then talk about his own experience of being a Pilotlighter working with Sight Advice, a charity supporting people with visual impairment in and around the Lake District. Although this project is still in its early stages, David has already found the experience very rewarding. 

Adam Rowe, CEO at charity Remap also came to speak as an example of a charity that has successfully gone through the Pilotlight process. In his speech, Adam praised the mentoring he’d received at Pilotlight for not only having helped increase the number of people Remap can now help, but also for developing him as a leader. In fact, his experience has been particularly beneficial as one of the Pilotlighters who worked on the project has become a trustee. The route from Pilotlighter to trustee is reasonably established and we are very proud to play match-maker, not least due to the State’s growing emphasis on promoting trusteeship to members of the business community as detailed in the latest House of Lords Select Committee report on Charities.

The demand from charities for our support is huge. In the last year more than 400 business volunteers actively gave coaching and mentoring support through our programmes to 101 charity CEOs to help them grow and sustain their organisations. This number includes both skilled volunteers who sponsor themselves and those who are sponsored by their companies. Our limits of supporting this demand are the number of Pilotlighters we have. If we grow the number of Pilotlighters, we can help more charities, it’s that simple.

We’d like to thank David and Osprey Clarke and also The May Fair Hotel for hosting the event and helping us share our stories and impact of what we do. We’d also like to thank Adam Rowe for his excellent speech and of course everyone who came to share our evening. If you’d like information on the effect we have on charities and Pilotlighters take a look at our 2017 Impact Summary. To become a Pilotlighter, or to simply enquire please contact

Growth & Sustainability, Partnerships


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