A charity works with a team of four senior business leaders - Pilotlighters - over 10 months through facilitated monthly meetings, reviewing operations and strategy.

A comprehensive review

In the first few months of this programme, Pilotlighters meet the charity’s people, delve into their finances and operations, find out about the challenges they are facing and learn about the opportunities on the horizon. While we have one key contact at the charity - typically the CEO or Manager, depending on the organisation type - Pilotlight 360 involves trustees and other senior staff to get maximum understanding and maximum buy-in to the process.

After this initial information-gathering period, the group collectively sets goals for the remainder of the project. These are specific to the charity, but might include developing a strategy or business planning, supporting financial planning, helping with a restructure or reviewing governance arrangements.

For the remainder of the programme, work is focused on achieving these aims. The charity leader can expect to be assigned actions from each meeting, which are then reviewed at the subsequent meeting. The Project Manager keeps in touch with the charity throughout, supporting them to achieve the objectives and providing a conduit with the Pilotlighters where appropriate.

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Flexible but structured

Pilotlight 360 is designed to be flexible to a charity’s needs, but always covers a period of information gathering, followed by collective objective setting and collaborative action to achieve those goals. Each step of the way, the process is managed by a Pilotlight Project Manager, who facilitates meetings and keeps the team focused on the agreed goals.

Outcomes for the charities vary depending on the project, but some of the most commonly reported include an increase in income and reach, more effective staff and boards, and improved confidence and leadership skills in the charity leader.


New perspectives

Through this programme, charities get an outside perspective on their work. The charity leaders build a relationship with the Pilotlighters over time, so they can have open and frank conversations with people there to support them. 

As teams are drawn from multiple organisations and backgrounds, the Pilotlighters work with people they would otherwise not have the opportunity to, working collaboratively on shared, real-life goals.

This programme is typically delivered through a combination of in-person and virtual meetings.

We are currently closed for applications from charities and social enterprises for this programme. For more information click here.

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Case Studies

Finding the balance for Nepacs

11 January 2024

Amanda Lacey, CEO of Nepacs reflects on the impact winning the Weston Charity Awards and Pilotlight 360 has had on the charity’s strategy going forwards.

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.

Soaring high for Eagle’s Nest Project

13 November 2023

Eagle’s Nest Project is a charity set up to work with young people aged 11-18 that are struggling to engage in mainstream education, often as a result of early childhood trauma. It offers alternative education solutions that build confidence and to equip them for more positive engagement in education and society moving forwards.

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.

Empowering The Super Power Agency to grow

15 September 2021

"The Pilotlight 360 programme was great in helping us focus more on what we wanted, and the extra brains to help us think through our plans were immensely helpful. If you need help thinking through a strategy, programme or course of action, the Pilotlight 360 programme is for you."

Growing TLC Talk Listen Change into a regional charity

19 July 2021

TLC: Talk, Listen, Change came to Pilotlight in 2019 with ambitions and plans for the future. After completing the Pilotlight 360, the organisation has grown quicker than originally anticipated and the CEO, Michelle Hill, credits some of that to the power of Pilotlight.