Charity & Social Enterprise Leadership

Scaling your Services & Leading Change in your Charity

Leading change is a vital skill for any charity or social enterprise leader. Not many of us are always really drawn to change, but sometimes it’s outside of our control. Other times, it’s a way for us to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges we see. A way of addressing a need. We sat down with Dave Pepper, CEO of Project Possible and a good friend of ours to go through his top tips on leading change after working in the charity sector for over 25 years.

Defining change…

Change can look very different to different organisations. For some, it may be launching a completely new service or a trading arm. For others, it could look like working on a new strategy or employing new people. Change can cover many forms but we wanted to focus on the big picture view of this topic because any change will require you to bring people along with you, and help them see where you’re hoping to go.

As organisations grow, change can become particularly worrying or have higher stakes. When do you scale your services? How many more team members should we employ? We hope these tips can help.

The Starting Point

You have to get the foundations right before embarking on a change or a journey within your organisation. You need to know why you’re doing something, and so do your team. Why do you want to change and what do you hope that will achieve? Getting the answer to these questions crystal clear in your mind is vital. It sets the foundations for the journey you’re going to embark on.

Alongside that, as you start to introduce the idea to the wider team or trustees there will be early adopters and late adopters. Early adopters are the people that love the idea and are on board with your vision straight away, and late adopters and the ones who will question everything for a while before they come around to it. They’re the logistical ones, and you need a good mix of both early and late adopters when delivering change. Listening to late adopters is key in helping change be delivered effectively. Identify those people and communicate with them.


Communication is foundational. Particularly in the social impact sector, you need to demonstrate that the change you’re hoping to make aligns with the strategy, charity articles and most importantly your beneficiaries. Your idea could be great but if you don’t communicate it well, you’re going to run into resistance. This process needs to be started early and continued throughout. Spend time on your communication to ensure that those involved know how this change will work and can contribute to the change themselves.


It's crucial to engage your beneficiaries and client group on what this change could look like too. All your stakeholders are invested in your brand so ensuring that they’re part of delivering change is important. A brand is about building a family and bringing people with you on the journey, so ensuring you’re bringing the right voices into the conversation as you go through this process is key.


Getting set from there

Once you have your why, you have the team you need to deliver the change and have assessed what else you may need to deliver this change, it’s then about enacting it. The difficult bit. Everyone can talk about different things but can you deliver what you’ve now communicated? Of course, you can! From the start, always look to measures to assess the impact you’re making. Is it bringing the outcomes you assumed and hoped for, or do you need to tweak something? As you do that, going back to your why and keep set on those foundations will be vital to the success of the change, and also to the public perception of that.


Thanks to Dave for giving us some time! If you're interesting in getting more tips like this download our latest eBook here.