UK Youth to Harness the Power of the Next Generation

Posted on Oct 18, 2011

UK Youth to Harness the Power of the Next Generation News Post Image

UK Youth to Harness the Power of the Next Generation

Guest Blog Post by Dominic Cotton, Director of Communications & New Business, UK Youth.

We heard about Pimp My Cause before it had even launched at the Responsible Business Convention run by Business in the Community in London earlier this year.

We were instantly interested in the idea of free expert marketing support and my first conversation with the founder, Paul Skinner, confirmed that this was an opportunity worth taking seriously.

UK Youth is a medium sized national charity with a hundred year heritage that supports young people in through a whole range of initiatives. We estimate that our programmes support about 750, 000 young people in the UK each year.

But because our funding has historically come from the public purse, we have always focused our efforts on service delivery rather than marketing, so have rather passed under the radar when it comes to public awareness.

In the current climate government funding is clearly dwindling. We are therefore acutely aware of the need to promote our activity more than in the past and appeal to potential new backers and supporters. These will either be members of the public or corporate supporters.

Marketing and branding can be very costly so having the support from experts in the Pimp My Cause stable is a god-send.

Paul has assembled an expert team who have shown that they have highly relevant expertise and have been willing to commit to significant time helping us. This has included himself, and two past candidates from the BBC’s Apprentice, Alex Espstein who runs a brand storytelling consultancy, and Melody Hossaini who runs the youth development social enterprise InspirEngage International Ltd.

Their insights have already been spot-on when diagnosing our challenges and how we can deal with this.

Internally we had already begun looking at our public image – brand, website, PR activity – and had become a little daunted about the associated costs of a radical overhaul.

But during the course of our series of workshops together, Paul, Alex and Melody have helped us to develop a marketing strategy based less on investing in “image” and more on harnessing the power of our network.

What the PMC team has helped us understand is that there is currently an opportunity to leapfrog costly linear PR & brand-building. They have advised us to move towards a participatory model that will allow UK Youth to generate interest through the use of social media and by developing participatory initiatives or ‘platforms’ that will allow us to engage many more people in actively helping us achieve our mission.

Examples of ideas we have discussed include:

  • “The Open Generation”: the name here refers both to a new name for the first generation of young people to grow up with the open, collaborative tools of the internet available to them throughout their whole lives and literally the open generation of ideas and initiatives – the Open Generation would be a participative platform within the UK Youth website dedicated to enabling our volunteers and the young people we support to co-create and co-design our future initiatives with us.
  • The “Futurepreneurs” – a project to support young people in achieving independence by turning their passions and interests into businesses.
  • “Pass the Baton”: a co-created report on intergenerational equity and what we can do now to ensure that young people do not inherit the consequences of our bad decisions.
  • Creating social media champions to stimulate participation among our audiences.
  • Creating opportunities for young people to become ‘leaders’ for a day/week.

We have been busy re-launching our website – – which as our Pimp My Cause discussions suggested now encourages much more participation from partners and our wider audience.

We are looking to begin ‘activating’ some of the Pimp My Cause suggestions and benefitting further from the invaluable support of Paul, Alex & Melody.

Pimp My Cause is giving us the confidence to develop a marketing and PR plan that will promote our work in an innovative and cost effective way.

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