I still have to pinch myself whenever I remember I’ve been at Pilotlight for over a year. I remember during my first week back in August 2020, as part of my induction, I attended a virtual Pilotlight Impact Day.

To date it was the biggest Pilotlight Impact Day we had ever done with Morgan Stanley. It was a fun, hectic and an intense day but I came away from it with huge admiration for our Project Managers (they really are superstars). How could it ever get bigger and better than that?

I was therefore delighted to attend the 2021 Pilotlight Impact Day with Morgan Stanley in August 2021, as a more seasoned Charity Partnerships Manager. As is the case with all the charities I onboard, I get emotionally attached to these charities throughout the initial selection and onboarding process. Thus, it fills me with great excitement when I get the opportunity to witness the ‘magic in action’ first-hand.

Pilotlight Impact Day has been designed to strengthen effectiveness of the participating charities. It’s an exciting opportunity to work with three teams of skilled business professionals, on an organisational issue of strategic importance. Throughout the day, the team of analysts (Pilotlighters) help the charity by providing creative and innovative recommendations to progress the thinking around said issue.

This year we had 18 teams of six or seven Morgan Stanley Pilotlighters work with six charities on a specific business issue. This was the biggest Impact Day we had ever done. They had to use research and problem solve to produce meaningful outcomes in a challenging and a fast-paced day.

Some of the issues brought to the table were around digital strategy, developing partnerships, sustainability, and income generation. The wide variety of challenges presented showcased the spectrum of problems charities face.

On the day itself, I observed Melton and District Money Advice Centre (MADMAC). The brief was around how MADMAC could generate income from its money management course.

MADMAC was founded by Amanda Heath in 2015 who had a dream to start her own debt centre that would revolutionize debt advice in the area. A passionate and innovative leader, Amanda has worked tirelessly over the years to provide free, confidential and impartial advice for the people of Melton Mowbray and District. What makes MADMAC's approach unique is that the organisation provides a very intensive hand-holding service for as long as the service user requires.

Over the course of the day, three teams of Morgan Stanley Pilotlighters looked at various sub questions to the presented problem. The different teams were each given a different focus area: potential customer groups, best platforms for delivery and impact measurement. During the final presentation, I was impressed by the level of detail the recommendations covered. The output ranged from:

  • recommendations for evaluation metrics
  • an overview of different customer groups and a targeted approach for each one
  • a suggested implementation plan for delivery platforms.

The drive and initiative showed on the day was inspirational and an excellent reminder of the benefit of connecting the business sector to the charity sector. Amanda left that day with some fresh ideas and some helpful recommendations on how to take this piece of work forward.

It was not just the charities but the Pilotlighters who got something out of that day. 80% of the Pilotlighters felt that their personal wellbeing had increased by taking part in something that imparted so much value for a worthy cause. It was also evident that the Pilotlighters gained a better perspective and understanding of the charity sector.

The Pilotlight Impact Day programme marks the start of a new strategic direction for all charities that participate. At Pilotlight, we are keen to support organisations with their first steps. Or maybe the second or tenth steps. If you are a charity leader looking for support, whether through something like an Impact Day programme or something else, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’re a business looking for a way to develop your staff and give back take a look at how you can work with us.