COVID-19: An opportunity to take stock
So if I’ve learnt one thing from this period during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s how impatient I am! As a new charity we were in a very different position to many other charities; our overheads are low, we are not at the stage where we are financially committed to projects and no one relies on us for their salary, at worst we had a few fundraisers cancelled! However, the very reason we set up and the needs within communities impacted by conflict, have been exacerbated by this pandemic; more children are out of school worldwide, parents are out of work and families are struggling to feed themselves. So maybe ‘impatient’ is the wrong word! Maybe I am just driven by a sense of urgency to affect change, and frustrated that we are being slowed down and can’t yet start having the impact we set up to have.
In April I had to cancel plans for a trip to Lebanon. In my mind it was an important step in moving a couple of projects closer to starting. I was due to meet a few potential partners and see first-hand how and where we could help. Instead my world, like many others, has been framed by a 19-inch monitor.
That said I personally think we have used the time well. We started to dip our toe in to some things we hadn’t previously prioritised. We started to talk to some corporate partners and had volunteers from different parts of the country helping us improve our marketing, social media and financial management systems! I spent time talking to lots of other charity CEO’s and specialist staff and we have also used the time to think in more detail about our operating model, our partnership model and how we will support others and how we won’t.
It seems that most charities at some point of their journey ask themselves a few similar questions; ‘Is our objective relief or development?’ and ‘Are we establishing ourselves to provide funding or to deliver a service?’. I am not sure we had really worked through the answers to these questions in as detailed a way as needed until now. We have always been clear on our ultimate purpose as a charity and on the way in which we would operate. Our ethos by which we are named ‘KnownValuedLoved’ is evident in all we have done to date and will continue to be that way. However, it is only when speaking to potential partners that we realised that we need to be able to answer these questions more clearly in order to form meaningful partnerships that are both successful and sustainable.
In case you were wondering what our answers were; first and foremost we are a development charity however if a crisis hits any of the communities we are working in, we would adapt our model in order to provide relief wherever possible; secondly it is important for us to have an element of both service delivery and funding; utilising the skill set we have at our disposal to deliver projects that support teacher training and leadership development whilst continuing to ensure we can support partners to overcome barriers through our grants programme.
We are entering a really exciting phase for the charity now as we edge ever closer to launching our first projects! We can’t wait to share more details with you over the summer weeks. So now is the time we need you more than ever; keep following and encouraging us, keep sharing our message, put us in touch with people you know that may be able to support, and consider whether you can support us financially through either a one off gift or monthly giving.
Thank you so much for all the support that you have given us over the past few months, we couldn’t have and won’t achieve anything without your love and support.