A charity brings a specific strategic opportunity it’s grappling with; over eight weeks, 'Pilotlighters' assess its viability and establish how it can be reached.

Focused and effective

Pilotlight Direction is all about focus. For charities, it’s an opportunity to gain expert insight on a single issue they’re facing. Charities on this programme have a clear picture of what they want to achieve while being open to ideas and change. The issue is specific and of strategic importance; even though the charity has already considered it, they need fresh eyes and an outside perspective to give confidence to take the next step.

For Pilotlighters, it’s an opportunity to work across functions, using a variety of skills to deliver something of use to a charity in a well-defined time period. This programme involves independent research, information-gathering and analysis, and concludes with a set of recommendations presented back to the charity.

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Strategically important

We are not prescriptive on the type of opportunity charities bring to this programme, as long as they’re well defined and of strategic importance. Previous briefs have included:

  • Developing a plan to improve the deployment of human and financial resources.
  • Considering an opportunity to acquire a commercial enterprise with the aim of developing revenue streams.
  • Creating a scale-up strategy for schools programmes.
  • Proposing ways to monetise services to diversify income streams.

Our team works with each charity ahead of the start of the programme to hone the question into a clear brief that can be presented to the Pilotlighter teams.

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A clear structure

Your Pilotlight Project Manager will guide the process, facilitating the early meetings and acting as a point of contact between the parties. 

The programme begins with a facilitated meeting with everyone involved. Everybody makes introductions and the Pilotlighters learn about the charity, as well as the opportunities it is facing.

A second facilitated meeting sees an agenda focused on the brief. The Pilotlighters find out more about the opportunity from the charity representatives and discuss their initial thoughts on addressing it.

Then the Pilotlighters work away from the group. They organise planning meetings and set up workstreams to explore the different aspects they need to address in order to respond to the brief. In between meetings, they perform research and analysis.

The programme concludes with a presentation by the Pilotlighters to the charity. In this, they explain how they have approached the brief and the conclusions they have come to, leaving the charity with specific, actionable recommendations. The charity has the opportunity to ask questions, so they leave the room ready to put the plan into action.

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

We are currently open for applications from charities and social enterprises for this programme. Take a look at the deadlines to apply here.

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People walking in a stream

Case studies

Rowan Alba

29 May 2020

Rowan Alba (RA) was founded in 2005 and supports some of the most vulnerable people affected by homelessness in Edinburgh, many with complex, long term issues such as poor mental health, and drug and alcohol abuse.