The following blog post was written by Esther Foreman, Founder and CEO of The Social Change Agency
I have only just returned to work after stepping out of The Social Change Agency back in June 2021 to have my son. I was lucky enough to be able to have six months away from ‘the office’, while my gifted and very generous Directors stepped up to cover my role and the rest of my brilliant team stepped up to support them (for which I am very thankful). I came back to work part-time in January and the first thing I was tasked to do was look at our new website.
This website has taken longer to produce than my son – and probably taken more people to help give birth to it. This will not be a surprise to anyone who has either built a website or had a baby. But I read the website with a certain similar amount of pride. There is something quite profound about producing something so shiny and new in the world at a time where things do feel quite bleak with the short days, a pandemic, etc etc.
When I started out, movement building was an esoteric process, some kind of intangible momentum of organised people that just happened
I started the Social Change Agency almost 9 years ago to the day. A lot has happened since then. Most importantly for us, the landscape for how social change is managed and done has changed significantly. When I started out, movement building was seen by many larger institutions as an esoteric process, some kind of intangible momentum of organised people that just happened. In contrast, we now find big organisations approaching us, looking for answers to questions rooted in movement building principles: How do we organise ourselves, share power and collaborate more deeply?
There is still a long way to go to meet the enormous challenges we face, and we along with others have been working to demystify and help others learn how to apply the best bits of it to projects, programmes, networks, organisations, people and more. We have created a suite of tools including a movement building canvas, a network building canvas, a digital campaigning toolkit, etc. and have worked with some incredible people, funders and organisations that have contributed to our own growth such as Climate-KIC, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and the Greater London Authority.
we have moved on from ‘just’ movement building and are now working towards building a more sophisticated understanding of social change
Returning from maternity leave and thrust back into the world of social change, I am immediately reminded how much of our understanding of social change has evolved since the pandemic. Reading our case studies, reports and free resources show how our client work and innovation reflects this change. Over the past two years, I believe that we have moved on from ‘just’ movement building and are now working towards building a more sophisticated understanding of social change.
Here at The Social Change Agency we are focusing more on collaborative approaches, areas such as developing a collaborative leadership model with BUD for Guys and St Thomas’ Charitable Trust, or running Participatory Grant Giving processes with our Open Collective Groups.
Our evaluation work focuses on community networks and some of our programme works includes supporting community approaches to solving Climate Change with the Lottery, or supporting young activist groups around the globe to tackle Climate Change with The Urban Movement Innovation Fund, or Parents for the Future. Meanwhile our Social Change Nest CIC continues to grow from strength to strength with its focus on fiscally hosted groups.
I am filled with a great sense of hope for the future and a hope for a better world
Proof reading our own website, I am reassured that there is so much good work going on all over the world through our partners, clients and colleagues. I am filled with a great sense of hope for the future and a hope for a better world for my son, all the sons and daughters in fact. We definitely needed a new website and I hope that it gives you as much hope reading it as it did for me.
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