If you're a charity these days, especially one whose services are growing in demand, you can't do it all alone - you need help.  

Luckily, 14 months ago, our charity embarked on a journey with Pilotlight. Pilotlight is an award-winning charity that connects their business members (who they call ‘Pilotlighters’) to charities. The Pilotlighters then support the charity to unlock solutions that help them become more effective and sustainable

After our move to becoming TLC: Talk, Listen, Change and showing no signs of slowing down with expanding our services, projects and team… some strategic external support was exactly what we needed. Alongside our CEO, Michelle Hill and our Trustee, John Sless, our Pilotlight team and their specialisms included:

  • Lucy White: Project Manager at Pilotlight
  • Alison Sewell: Asset Manager (Compliance)
  • Becky Ince: CFO & COO (Insurance)
  • Martine Verweij: CEO (Charity)
  • Sophie Kingsley: HR (Investment banking)


Alongside the Pilotlighters, Michelle and John set the aims and objectives for what we required their help with strategically. For each charity that works with Pilotlight, this is very specific to them, but for us this meant support with; strategy, finance, governance and leadership and human and physical resources.

For the values side of working together (which is always central to us!), the Pilotlight team agreed their work together would focus on; confidentiality, collaboration, openness and trust, integrity, fun and all involved committed to ensuring positive outcomes of the experience.

Exploring our aims and working in this way was conducted through 10 meetings over the last year. One of these meetings included a site visit, which allowed the Pilotlighters to visit our offices, meet some of our team and learn more about our work. 

From this, a significant amount of progress has been made, which has allowed us to achieve a great deal of tangible changes for our charity and our team.

Through Pilotlight, we have developed:

  • 5-year strategy signed off by Board
  • 5-year financial forecast drafted and new financial growth model developed
  • new smart reserves policy adopted
  • 5-year organisational structure in place
  • approach to succession planning adopted
  • new office locations secured and move taken place
  • new pay and reward policy signed off and implementation underway

This level of fundamental strategic change in just 12 short months is very rare within our sector where budgets are tight and there are never enough hours in the day. As such, we’re genuinely very grateful to have been able to participate in Pilotlight and whilst our journey may be coming to a formal end, we have a check up meeting to look forward to in June.

Our Pilotlight programme has been transformational and I couldn’t be more grateful to Pilotlight, Lucy – our ace Project Manager and our fantastic team of Pilotlighters. Being a CEO of a charity can be a lonely role at times but the group mentoring and coaching approach through Pilotlight has provided both the support and challenge that I’ve needed.

We’ve achieved more in the last 12 months than I thought was possible. It’s been lovely to have John, one of our fantastic trustees, alongside me throughout and that’s provided a fantastic link back to our Board. I’d recommended anyone who gets the opportunity to engage in Pilotlight to jump at the change. It’s truly fantastic

Michelle Hill CEO

If you’re feeling inspired and want to get involved with Pilotlight, you should! Click here to learn more.


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