What is really holding your small charity or social enterprise back from reaching it’s fullest potential?
Sometimes the answers may not be the ones you are expecting and it takes the opinion of an outside business leader to help you see the areas that need the most focus and improvement to support growth. Over the last several months two charities have had the benefit of being supported by Stuart Wilson, Group Partner and Group Head of Marketing of Shirlaws Group, which supports private enterprise during their journey to grow, fund and exit to realise their life’s work and he is former Chief Marketing Officer of Burton’s Biscuits, the company behind Wagon Wheels, Jammie Dodgers and Cadbury’s Biscuits.
Stuart connected with Pimp My Cause through The Marketing Society’s Marketing for Good initiative in 2015. We matched him up with the Lyme Regis Development Trust and SportInspired, who were both looking for help with their marketing and communications strategy.
What both organisations discovered early on in their relationship with Stuart was that to develop sustainable growth, what they most needed to focus on was more fundamental than they realized.
The Lyme Regis Development Trust (LRDT) is a fantastic organisation that is effectively a ‘first stop’ for people in their local area wanting to make things better for themselves and their communities.
The charity was established 17 years ago and they are well thought of, even nationally, as an example of an innovative and ambitious Development Trust working in a small rural location.
They run a youth centre, an education and training centre, an affordable housing project and a careers advice and job club. They provide volunteering assistance, business start-up units, a community wifi café, support groups for mental health, a Fossil Festival and a foodbank and credit union.
You may be thinking that’s an impressive range of services. It certainly is, but one marketing challenge associated with that is that their impacts are so diverse it’s hard for them to communicate a clear, compelling proposition. Indeed, many people have heard of or used their services without even knowing who provides them. They asked Stuart to help them develop a more coherent communications strategy to raise awareness and engage new levels of support.
After exploring how LRDT works and its marketing, Stuart met with the board to help them move forward. He said they needed to dig deeper than their communications and start at the beginning with a coherent purpose, mission and vision for the organization that they could then build their strategy around.
Peter Jeffs, CEO of LRDT said, "We have been delighted to work with Stuart, his experience has allowed us to focus on the things that are most important for marketing and growth and he has already started to give us some exciting new perspectives on both the messages and the methods".
The second organization that Stuart has been working with is SportInspired, an innovative charity that puts on SportInspired Games across the UK to help children find a sport they love.
Stuart supported SportInspired in focusing on their leadership strategy and has been coaching their leadership team for several months now to help them become the organization that they would like to be.
Anna Springbett, Director of SportInspired, said “We’ve met with Stuart regularly over several months and he’s been coaching us broadly on our leadership as we respond to the opportunities available to us. He has gone above and beyond expectations to help us!”
We asked Stuart about his experience working with LRDT and SportInspired and he said, “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting involved with two very different charities, particularly ones that I felt a personal connection to. It takes you out of your comfort zone working with very limited resource and creating social impacts. And I’ve found that it’s not just marketing expertise that you can bring to the table, all of your personal and business experience contributes greatly to helping them reach their goals. I would encourage marketers at all levels to take the opportunity to get involved, make a difference for individuals, organisations and communities and learn a lot about yourself and others along the way.”