Happy birthday to us!
Today we’re celebrating The Social Change Agency’s 10th birthday – Woohoo! 🥳
And we have a lot to celebrate.
The Social Change Agency was established in 2013 with the goal of addressing some of the most pressing social issues of the day using cutting edge social change methodologies, new tech and working with social movements, networks and changemakers. Over the past 10 years we have tackled a wide range of issues, from poverty and inequality to education and the environment, with a dream list of partners, collaborators and co-conspirators. We have grown in size and scope, and developed a number of tools to make social change accessible to all. We ran HouseParty two years in a row to disrupt the Housing Sector, created the Losing Control Network to explore different ways to share power, set up the Young Trustees Movement, survived a pandemic, created a whole new approach to funding and supporting social change through fiscal hosting and have worked with hundreds of charities, foundations, grassroots organisations and purpose-driven businesses to create positive and lasting social impact.
Looking back at the past 10 years, it’s hard to pinpoint our favourite moments and proudest achievements but we gave it a good go…
Our top 10 favourite moments from a decade of social change
1. Delivering our first piece of consultancy work to develop an alumni movement for the National Citizens Service back in 2013 (bet our bottom dollar that the young people taking part in NCS ten years ago are now the ones running it!)
2. Supporting international development charities including Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and War Child to run fundraising appeals as part of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s UK Aid Match programme.
3. Playing our part in the COVID-19 pandemic response, by launching The Social Change Nest to offer secure and transparent money and grant management for foundations, groups, movements and networks in the UK and abroad (and being recognised as one of the Top 100 Social Enterprises in the UK in 2022). Just over 2 years on and we are proud to be supporting amazing movements through Nest such as Uplift, Fossil Free London, Decolonising Economics, Climate Centre and lots more. We would not have been able to do this without the incredible work of our partner; tech wizard and general system anarchists, Open Collective.
4. Establishing our Non Executive Director Boards for The Social Change Agency and The Social Change Nest. Our NEDs are amazing and we have a deep appreciation for their collective wisdom shared with us over the years. Jon Landau, Anni Rowland-Campbell, Peter Treganna, Dimitri Damman and Kishen Gajjar, we salute you!
5. Working with Shared Assets and Power to Change to run a Community of Practice for Social Business Networks, where we created our Network Building Canvas, a practical tool to support changemakers to establish and grow networks, and our most downloaded resource to date.
6. Finding a new home and community at Ark coworking in Kings Cross, with our fellow BCorp members (read why we became a BCorp) and amazing landlords Nick and Gav. It means a lot to us to be able to rent office space from people that have a social mission at the heart of all they do. Here is to the next 10 years of us setting off the building alarm by mistake (sorry Gav).
7. Running the Losing Control Conference, a two-day festival that brought together funders, commissioners and local organisations from multiple sectors to think through how to redistribute resources and shift systems of power. Not only did we get to work with the fabulous Bob Thust, Founder of Practical Governance, but we also got to hang out with over 100 different organisations, leaders, social movements and funders and chat about how to shift the power (or fight it, depending on which room you were in). Two years on, Losing Control has evolved into the Losing Control in Funding network we run with our partners in crime, the fab Collaborate CIC.
8. Receiving amazing support from foundations and philanthropists over the years such as David Graham and the Changing Ideas Foundation, JRCT, WCMT, The Blagrave Trust, UMI, European Climate Fund and Paul Hamlyn Foundation (and a few more) who have understood our vision for social change and what we are trying to do. We really do thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
9. Setting up the Young Trustees Movement in 2018 to help double the number of Young Trustees aged 30 and under on charity boards by 2024. We are so proud to see the movement go from strength to strength under the amazing leadership of Mita Desai and her crew. Although we may now be officially too old to be a young trustee, we are their biggest cheerleaders.
10. Last, but by no means least, growing our incredible team of staff, who have shared this journey with us. We started out with one person, then moved to 3, then 5, then 10 and now we are a team of over 25 incredible changemakers from all walks of life, with all kinds of experiences and skills, but with one common passion: to leave the world in a slightly better place than before. None of the above points would be achievable without their hard work, dedication and WhatsApp banter. Cat gifs anyone?
Here’s to the next 10 years!
However, we aren’t done yet. Working on social change has its challenges, even more so over the pandemic and the cost of living crisis. Everyone gets a bit knackered sometimes and we all need a bit of support to rejuvenate and step back into the ring.
To celebrate our ten years and to give back to everyone who has joined us on the journey, we have set up a wellbeing fund so that changemakers have access to the funds needed (up to £50 exactly) to reach that bit of support. From counselling services, to a massage, to an art class – whatever you need to make you feel better – no questions asked.
Because we also know that changemakers are notoriously bad at putting themselves forward, we will also operate a nomination system, where you can put someone forward to receive a reward. If you would like to contribute to this instead of buying us a birthday present – you can do so here. Someone pass us the eye mask!
Thank you for all the support over the past decade – here’s to the next 10 years!
Lots of love
Esther and all the team at SCA and SCN!
Contribute to the wellbeing leadership fund or nominate a deserving changemaker