Although you always know when you’re busy, it’s only when you look back that you realise just how much you’ve achieved! We’ve just completed our review of 2017/18, a busily brilliant year in which we:
We only achieve these successes every year by working with key partners. Membership organisations and funders who thoroughly understand their sectors’ needs – and the contribution we can make – have always been at the heart of our partnership approach.
In 2017/18 we were particularly busy with three large public sector programmes: devising outcome frameworks with partners in the Edinburgh mental health Public Social Partnership; delivering a searching series of masterclasses on sustaining social care projects and their impact; and creating a sustainability guide for organisations supporting survivors of childhood abuse. The ‘Beyond Survival’ guide is due to be published soon, and is given a short introduction in the clip below:
It might sound strange, but we’ve resisted growing over the years (basically, Graeme enjoys being a consultant more than he did being a manager and administrator!). But with more demand than ever, 2017 required us to bring in extra capacity and skills.
Jen Curran joined as Lead Associate and her passionate energy and exceptional thoroughness quickly earned clients’ respect—and brought in even more work! Her support to boards and senior managers is greatly in demand, particularly with her ability to make a reality of ‘Lasting Difference’ concepts.
Jen’s research into how people use the Lasting Difference led to a new dedicated website and Implementation Guide. Both are choc-full of powerful sustainability ideas. Which is probably why 2017 saw our 2000th toolkit download (followed soon after by the 2017th, fittingly enough!). With over 1500 print copies also in circulation, the Lasting Difference is the definitive guide to sustaining organisations and impact.
Now it’s time to develop our practice and reach more and newer audiences with them.
Our Development Manager Laura Lebec leads this. Selected from an incredibly strong field of applicants, Laura’s unique blend of skills, combining senior management experience and academic rigour (MBA long under her belt, PhD on the way), is solidly grounded in third sector reality.
So, despite Graeme’s best efforts, we now have a small, gifted core team, supported by select partners who share our values (specialists in design, illustration, transcription, film-making etc.). We’re always learning and improving, so we’ll always grow—even if we don’t plan to get any bigger!
Two words have re-emerged as concerns for the sector in the last year – leadership and governance. We developed creative new approaches to these in 2017: providing 1:1 mentoring; hosting themed dinners; running leadership retreats; and even exploring what it means to ‘lead like a punk’! We’re planning more explicit leadership-focused work in the year ahead.
As noted, every year we produce around 20 reports, guides and toolkits, on everything from involvement and consultation to evaluation and income generation.
This year we developed several resources to support learning including:
As organisations explore new ways to involve and reach people effectively, making the most of limited budgets and time, this is a growing area for us and our clients. We expect to be developing even more learning resources next year — contact us for information, ideas, and examples of recent projects.
2018/19 is set to be another busy year. We’ve got lots of development plans for the Lasting Difference resources, including special workshops on leading your organisation through sustainability challenges (starting early Autumn). We’ll also be arranging what is now a biennial leadership retreat in summer 2019. Of course, we’ll continue to respond to the briefs and partnerships that develop: we’re here to serve organisations we believe in. But when things are as busy as we were last year, it’s the new initiatives and developments that keep us going. We’re here to make a #LastingDifference!
Oh, also – 2018 is our fifth birthday as a full-time enterprise – and the 10th anniversary of this website. We’ll probably forget to celebrate this properly – just as well it’s not all about us!