Supporting Charities to Influence

We are committed to supporting charities to develop their ability to influence change on the issues that matter to them. We offer a range of support designed to strengthen their confidence, competencies and skills, and capacity to act.

Building a new community of changemakers

By supporting charities to influence more effectively we are building a new community of changemakers. A vibrant network of small charities who are more powerful and better equipped to influence change far beyond the life of their grant.

We are increasing our support to help grant holders embed influencing within their charities and will be introducing new support options throughout the year.

An ambitious network of small and local charities have the capacity, capabilities and confidence to effectively influence and press for change at a local and national level, with demonstrated success that inspires others

Reaching Further Strategy

Why we're supporting small charity changemakers

It is essential that smaller charities are equipped to influence change and to speak out and challenge on the issues they see day-to-day.

It is precisely because of their local links, expertise and front line experience that these organisations are best qualified to identify where policies and systems are failing on the ground. Not only this, they are best positioned to develop potential solutions, try new ways of working or collaborate with others to best support those in need. This is especially true on issues that can be influenced locally. 

How will we support charities?

How we're supporting charities. 

Through conversations with charities, we have identified 5 key areas which impact on charities’ ability to influence effectively and for the long-term.

  • Confidence: The willingness to have a go with a belief in their potential success.
  • Competencies and skills: The experience and skills to create an effective influencing strategy using the most relevant tools and tactics
  • Community and care: A group of peers to learn, strategise and reflect with - whilst supporting each other to avoid burnout and fatigue
  • Capacity: The time and resources (such as people and money) needed to do the work
  • Context: A fair and open civic space with developed infrastructure, support and tools to support civil society to influence change

Whilst there will always be factors outside of our control, we believe that when all 5 of these areas are in place, groups stand the best chance of success. This understanding informs not only the support we offer to charities but also the Foundation’s policy work to make sure the environment (or context) charities are operating in enables charities to raise their voice and influence change.

You can learn more about our approach by reading our Initial Reflections on Supporting Grantees to Influence paper.

 

We offer the following support for existing grantees:

Local Influencing support

We are developing new local Influencing training. Grantees can find out more by attending one of our regional workshops. These sessions aim to help local groups think creatively about how to make change at a local level and build communities of peers who can help each other to do this. For more on these sessions and about developing a local influencing network in their area, speak to your Regional Manager.

 


Developmental Support

Through our Enhance programme grantees can access a range of specialist consultants that can help them to develop their influencing ability – from developing good communications strategies to community organising and campaigns. 

Our Influencing Officer is also happy to talk directly with grantees about any questions or concerns they might have about their changemaking strategies.

 


Capacity Building

We recognise that funding changemaking strategies can be challenging. In addition to funding influencing work directly through our National Programmes and income diversification support though our Enhance programme, each year we also make a limited number of small grants to existing grantees only to support their influencing work.

We provide this support where a short-term injection of resource can make a big difference. We are also developing a new programme that will combine high-impact training, funding and support over the course of a year to help charities make a step-change in their influencing ability. To find out more about how you could access support with your influencing, please speak to your Regional Manager.

 


Foundation resources for making change now

Whether or not you are currently a grantee, or simply looking for some inspiration in developing your changemaking skills, the following resources developed by the Foundation might be of help:

How to be a Change Maker Toolkit – This toolkit ran alongside a series of changemaking events run in 2020 and helps decide who you might influence and how.

What To Expect When You're Expecting A General Election – Find out more on how your charity can make an impact on voting with our new guide.

Communications, Press and Influencing Guide – This guide provides a detailed overview of storytelling from a charity perspective and is designed for use by people of all levels of experience or prior knowledge.

 

Free online materials

There are also lots of materials available to support charities online.  We recommend each of the following organisations who make free training and resources available on their websites :

Act Build Change – In addition to providing consultancy support Act Build Change host free online training in community organising and supporting people to campaign with their local communities and those with direct personal experience of the issues.

Campaign Bootcamp – Campaign Bootcamp run high-quality campaign training for activists.  They have a host of campaign resources available free on their website.

NEONNEON support individuals and organisations to create change through their training and networks. They have a host of excellent resources. In particular, their Press Officer’s Handbook is incredibly helpful.

The Social Change Agency - The Social Change Agency support charities in a number of ways and are available through our Enhance support. They host a range of tools to support movement building and campaigns on their website.

The Sheila McKechnie Foundation Through their work on the Social Power project and various events supporting campaigners, the Sheila MacKechnie Foundation have created a range of helpful resources and support for campaigners available via their website.

Influencing news and blogs