Back to top
Article

Lighting the way

18 May 09

Introducing Pilotlight Scotland, which brings experienced professionals together to form teams to help other charities develop, and is appealing for more volunteers

by Graeme Powrie

The current economic climate is making life difficult for many small local charities and social enterprises in Scotland. Before this recession, research indicated that of the 45,000 charities in Scotland, only 20 organisations shared 38% of the total income in the sector.

Pilotlight Scotland (PLS) is a registered charity which brings together senior business people with directors of small local charities and social enterprises in order to help them grow and develop as an organisation. By bringing together people with excellent business skills and charities who are poised for growth, Pilotlight makes a difference to many different lives in many different communities.

Crucially, the Pilotlight process is overseen by project managers who ensure the smooth running of the scheme, so that the business people – known as Pilotlighters – only have to donate their skills for three hours per month. The ultimate aim is the production of a strategic business plan which will ensure that the charity becomes sustainable and reaches more local people in need.

Isobel d’Inverno, a Director of Corporate Tax at Brodies, got involved as an individual member because she wanted to use the skills she’d built up over several years to help a local charity she felt passionate about.

“I have been a Pilotlighter for a year now, working with an Edinburgh based charity which provides day, accommodation and support services for adults with disabilities. Running a charity like this on a day-to-day basis is hugely demanding, and the Pilotlight process lets the charity take time out to look to the future. Working with the charity director and three other business people, and helping the charity to develop, has been a fantastic experience.”

The results are impressive, with Pilotlight charities reporting that they have increased the number of people they help by nearly 60% in the two years following Pilotlight’s work with them.

In Scotland, Pilotlight is currently working with 15 charities and social enterprises and is looking to expand. With over 40 senior business members it has access to a wealth of talent which can be matched to the needs of the organisation.

If you would like to know more about Pilotlight Scotland and how you could become a Pilotlighter and make a sustainable impact on the lives of local disadvantaged people, please call Pilotlight Scotland on 0131 243 2769 or visit www.pilotlight.org.uk.

Graeme Powrie is membership manager of Pilotlight Scotland

Have your say