Fall back hero image

For Charities

We know. Charities and social enterprises like yours work tirelessly to tackle disadvantage, and you and your team put heart and soul into your cause. But, with competing pressures and opportunities, sometimes it’s difficult to know which direction to take. 

That’s where we come in. Our programmes see empathetic business experts share their expertise with charities, bringing new perspectives, diverse skills and vast experience to bear on the challenges they’re facing. Since 1996, we’ve helped more than 1,000 charities to amplify their impact, reach more people and contribute to a better world. We’ve seen it all, and we know how to make an intervention work.

This is no one-size-fits-all solution. We have a range of programmes depending on the type of organisation you are and the situation you find yourself in, and within each programme your dedicated team of mentors - we call them Pilotlighters - and our experienced staff make sure that you have focused, individualised support.

Our support is free of charge to charities and social enterprises.

We are currently open for applications to our programmes. Take a look at the deadlines to apply here.

Our programmes

Pilotlight 360

Our most comprehensive programme. Over a 10 month period, four of our most senior and experienced Pilotlighters coach a charity leader and their board through the strategic challenges they face.

Pilotlight Direction

A programme that explores a specific strategic opportunity. Over eight weeks, six Pilotlighters assess its viability and establish how it can be reached.

Pilotlight Insight

A programme that provides insight on a specific business challenge. Over ten weeks, six Pilotlighters apply their analytical skills and expertise to explore an issue in depth and recommend solutions.

Pilotlight Impact Day

A one-day event designed to explore innovative and practical solutions to a specific operational challenge. Multiple teams of Pilotlighters apply their knowledge and experience to create ideas and impact.

Brain Trust

Our latest initiative with our long-standing partner Barclays, distils the essence of our strategic development programmes into a single, 90-minute meeting to unlock fresh thinking on a strategic challenge. 

Inclusive Leadership

A charity led by and/or supporting people from underrepresented communities, works with up to six Barclays Pilotlighters over ten weeks to assess an operational challenge and explore ways forward.

The Weston Charity Awards

Created in partnership with the Garfield Weston Foundation and Pilotlight, the Weston Charity Awards celebrate and support ambitious front-line charities working in the fields of Community, Environment, Welfare and Youth.

Applications are now open for the Awards which offer a package of support worth over £22,000 to up to 22 charities. Supporting small charities to thrive and not just survive, the Awards help charities to plan for sustainability, development and growth over ten months.

If you lead a charity based in the North or Midlands of England, or Wales, you could be eligible to apply.

Applications are now open for the 2024 cohort.

The Weston Charity Awards

Our Impact

87% of charity leaders report an increase in their leadership skills after working with us.
↑ 43%
Two years after working with us, charities who have participated in Pilotlight 360 have, on average, increased their income by 43%.
↑ 22%
Two years after working with us, charities who have participated in Pilotlight 360 have, on average, increased their reach by 22%.

Apply now

If you are an ambitious charity based in the UK, we can help you reach the next level. Take a look at our eligibility criteria and how to apply for support. Need to know more? Read the experiences of other charities just like yours below or scroll down and download our brochure.

Person in swing

From the outset I remember thinking, 'What will make the Pilotlighters the right people to provide support? What are they going to be like?' I was hoping for an analytical, outside perspective, and that's what I got. I felt from the first meeting that everyone was on the same page.

Stephen Elsden
CEO - Compaid

Having only become the CEO of The Felix Project relatively recently, it's been invaluable to receive this input on a challenge the charity is currently facing. I am very grateful for the recommendations we have been given from the Morgan Stanley Pilotlighters.

Mark Curtin
CEO - The Felix Project

Pilotlight 360 was invaluable for me as a leader. Not only do I now have a five-year business plan, a new mission, social objectives, business objectives and narrative, I'm more confident in my role.

Simone Spray
Chief Executive - 42nd Street

Taking part in the Pilotlight Insight was incredibly useful for MumsAid. The Pilotlighters were really committed to ensure we had useful and useable outcomes. Thank you!

Miriam Donaghy
CEO - MumsAid

The input we have received from the Pilotlighters has been invaluable. It's helped guide our thinking at such a critical time for Volunteer It Yourself.

Tim Reading
CEO - Volunteer It Yourself

The process was very useful for me. I was led to question my assumptions around different possibilities for our future.

Helen Carlin
CEO & Founder - Rowan Alba

We now have the tools to create real growth which is so exciting.

Elaine Cook
CEO - Devon Communities Together

Need more information?

Case Studies

SELFA charity

SELFA's seven-year triumph

23 November 2023

In 2016 SELFA Children's Charity were recipients of a Weston Charity Award, which not only supported the organisation with a core grant of £6,500 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, but also began a period of transformation through the Pilotlight 360 programme.

Two people laughing on a bench

Growing support for carers both locally and nationally

Kathy Verges | 28 June 2022

When we worked with Kathy Verges in 2010, she was CEO at Crossroads Care Havering, which had a turnover of around £600k. Kathy retired as Chief Officer in January 2022. After a series of mergers Kathy led the charity on to re-brand to create TuVida, which had national reach and a turnover of £14m. She reflects on her work with Pilotlight.

Shoring up a robust future for The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC)

26 June 2019

The Child Outcomes Research Consortium (CORC) is a charitable organisation that collects and uses evidence to improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. CORC holds data relating to mental health and wellbeing outcomes of more than 400,000 children and young people in the UK, representing the largest data set of this kind worldwide

A construction worker posing for the camera

Supporting Jericho Foundation to optimise its social enterprises

19 October 2018

"Overall, Pilotlight has helped us transform our corporate offer, our social impact reporting, and our human resources processes and management. These were key things we needed to address, but we just didn’t have the knowhow to work them out on our own. The work we’ve done will benefit our organisation and those we serve for many years to come."

Helping Castlehaven Community Association generate its own income

15 October 2018

"It’s all been very exciting, and it's all happened because of the Pilotlight 360 and the follow on support from the Pilotlight Direction programme a couple of years later. As you can see the projects have proved to have had a phenomenal impact on the charity both in terms of governance and aspiration. Pilotlight has given CCA a future!"

Helping Just Lincolnshire find its focus

30 August 2018

Just Lincolnshire’s vision is for Lincolnshire to be a place where everyone is valued and discrimination is eliminated. It works with a wide range of partners, schools, disability forums and local community organisations to deliver workshops around hate crime and promote equality and fairness across Lincolnshire. It also supports groups to embed best practice through training Ambassadors and Equality Champions.

A group of women wearing green aprons and holding produce

Enabling Devon Communities Together to create real growth

23 February 2018

Devon Communities Together (DCT) is the operating name of The Community Council of Devon, an independent charitable company founded in 1961, and part of a national network of Rural Community Councils. DCT is a community development organisation that helps communities help themselves by providing advice and information, and supporting projects throughout Devon.

A person feeding ducks

Putting Murton Trust in a stronger position

19 May 2017

"At the start of the process our organisation wanted a three-year strategy but were not in the position to create one. Pilotlight provided structure and perspective that allowed us to come together to ensure that our final document was one that everyone could follow and get behind. Creating a clear vision, with open and frank discussion was absolutely key to this."

Creating a stronger financial future for Brittle Bone Society

30 June 2014

The Brittle Bone Society (BBS) is the only UK charity supporting people with the rare bone condition osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). As well as offering a free, confidential support service and signposting help on issues such as genetics, education, work and travel, the charity also fundraises for specialised wheelchairs that aren’t available on the NHS and can cost up to £16,000.

A group of people standing in front of a building with the words 'Arts Factory' behind them

Supporting Arts Factory to better articulate its purpose

17 December 2012

“They helped us sharpen our message to tell people quickly and concisely what we are and what we are trying to achieve. They also helped us to focus down a bit: we probably had too many projects in too many stages of development. They encouraged us to concentrate on areas that were less speculative, rather than spreading ourselves too thinly.”

Supporting Empowering Action and Social Esteem (EASE) to manage change

1 April 2012

EASE (Empowering Action and Social Esteem) was set up in 2001 by Jackie Sear when she moved to the Copley Close Estate in west London. As a youth worker in the community, Jackie saw issues such as anti-social behaviour, violence and racial harassment that were not being dealt with and founded the charity to try and address them.

Coaching Rosemount Lifelong Learning to increase its sustainability

27 March 2012

Rosemount Lifelong Learning (RLL) grew out of a parents’ group started by Save the Children in 1978. When Save the Children pulled out 20 years later, a new charitable company was formed. RLL aims to combat poverty, reduce deprivation, promote learning and aid recovery from homelessness, trauma and addictions by providing vocational courses for women, adult education and childcare. Last year the charity supported 954 clients.