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Punching Above Your Weight As A Small Charity

  • Alex Swallow is The Influence Expert, helping you to grow your influence to increase the impact that you have on the world. He is also the Founder of Young Charity Trustees and the owner of the Social Good Six interview series. He is the previous Chief Executive of the Small Charities Coalition and maintains a keen interest in the work of small charities.

    Having only worked in the charity sector at small charities and having been the Chief Executive of a support organisation for small charities, I know the pressure that you are under.

    Pressure to gain supporters behind your cause, get in enough money and cope in a challenging environment.

    There are three things that I’d recommend: Don’t fight alone, value your work and grow your influence.


    Don’t fight alone

    I hope that you are already getting help from other people. This post that I wrote for Small Charity Week last year explains some of the help that you can get. You need to get all the support that you can, including bringing in new Trustees and other volunteers if you feel that you need new skills, experience or ideas. Trustees’ Week is coming up in November and is an ideal time to recruit.

    Value your work

    I hope that you are proud of the work that you do. However, it is likely that you don’t get enough recognition for it. Many small charities are not in the public spotlight despite doing amazing things for parts of society where no-one else really helps. I’m a supporter of Good News Shared- you can send them your stories if you would like to get a bit of attention! However you do it, you need to find a way to make sure that you are proud of your work because then you will be able to engage other people in what you are doing. Plus, being proud will be good motivation for you in those lonely hours when you are slogging away trying to make the world a better place. Also, this talk that I gave for The Media Trust shows why small charities should be excited about some of the opportunities that the online world now provides. Remember, among all the challenges there are lots of possibilities to take advantage of too.

    Grow your influence

    This article gives a comprehensive discussion of what I mean by influence. As a small charity you might not always be able to compete with the big boys all the time, but you can certainly punch above your weight. To have the impact that you want you need to find the appropriate ways to influence the world around you.

    In this speech that I gave earlier this year at an international charity conference, I outline some of those ways. Using a model called the LEAPS Model, featured in the video, I show how you can grow your influence as an individual, or apply the same concepts to an organisation.

    If you can effectively grow your influence you have the chance to achieve all of the things that you need to make sure that your charity not only survives, but thrives.

    I thank you for your important work and hope that the three principles I have outlined help you get to where you want to be.

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