We were thrilled to receive continuation funding for Leaders Together for two more years. This will make Leaders Together (our capacity building mentoring project for the leaders of small charities, community organisations and social enterprises in London) one of the TimeBank's longest running volunteer mentoring projects.
From the early days when it started back in 2007, solely supporting Refugee Community Organisations, Leaders Together has developed and expanded to support third sector organisations right across the board, from tiny community groups to charities with incomes up to £500,000 per year.
The recession has been tough for all organisations, and in many ways the smaller you are, the harder you are hit. Leaders Together provides organisations with the opportunity to look at things in a different way. A mentor isn’t there to do the work. A mentor doesn’t necessarily decrease your workload (at least not in the short term). But what they do do is share valuable experience. They ask questions, offer options, show you tricks of their trade, and most importantly allow you the headspace away from the day-to-day project delivery - with which we all get so bogged down - to think strategically about your organisation.
But don’t just take my word for it. We heard from Eleanor, one of our mentees, earlier this year. Following six months with her mentor, her organisations has won a two year grant from a trust, received their first corporate donation and obtained several small grants. She says: “I can see a massive impact from the mentoring process. I now feel that our organisation is more professional, higher-profile and the most stable it has ever been.”
Over the last two years, we have matched over 73 leaders of small organisations with a mentor, delivering support in areas as diverse as fundraising, strategic planning and leadership skills to make sure they are able to run their organisations as effectively as they can and become as sustainable as possible in this difficult environment.
And the aim over the next two years is to make the impact of the project felt as far as possible across London and that we reach as many small grassroots organisations as we can.