In 2015, Aid Works won a place at the School for Social Entrepreneurs, sponsored by the Big Lottery Fund and Lloyds TSB. As part of the school, Aid Works and other start-up social enterprises have been taken through key topics for successful enterprises. Today’s topic was Stakeholders, an important topic for any organisation trying to reach its full potential.
Dave Tomalin from Lippy People took us through the basics: “Who are stakeholders”, “What do they need?” The key learning was that if we can fulfil a need people have, we have something to provide. This need is different depending on your stakeholders; the donors/funders want to help change something, while “end-users” want something that is useful to them. Key to addressing needs is engaging with your audience, which may sound simple, but it’s more than just emailing someone or tweeting regularly – it means regular face-to-face engagement. To make his point, Dave made us hit the streets of Leeds, to find out people’s needs, their solutions and how they could help their own community. Aid Works does a lot of qualitative research in developing countries (e.g our recent work in South Sudan), but we don’t do enough in the UK public. Definitely a new day for us!
Next, Simon Short told us his inspirational story of setting up Intelligence Project, an enterprise which reduces re-offending in the UK. His journey of changing attitudes and pushing out his key messages was brilliant – a bestselling biography to be written!
Our take home message for our UK work is greater engagement with our stakeholders. We will set up a input-group for those wanting to get into aid work, engage more with the UK public, beyond our schools outreach programme and share our qualitative research with universities. We also intend to engage our funders more, to show the impact they make and to ask about their principles.
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