VALUE ADDED: Schuh managing director Colin Temple says he brings 'a little bit of business reality' to charity organisations. Picture: Mark Mainz
It has worked during that time with 54 charities from Ayrshire to Aberdeen and 150 senior business leaders drawn from the likes of Lloyds TSB, Bank of Scotland, Diageo, Lothian Buses and Schuh.
The group's partner charities report that within two years of working with Pilotlight, they on average increase their income by 50% and more than double the number of people they help.
Fiona Halton, Pilotlight's chief executive, says: "As charities face a very tough funding situation in Scotland we are seeing a real demand for business help.
"Many small charities are looking to adapt, but need support when it comes to strategic and financial planning. Matching teams of senior business people with directors of charities works because it enables charities to get the support and coaching they need to develop and grow."
Pilotlight was set up in England in 1996 but relaunched in 2003 by Ms Halton, to address the needs of small charities and social enterprises that could not afford to buy the time and skills to develop their own infrastructure.
In a survey of small charities, Pilotlight found that only 4% received effective professional help. It now manages teams of senior business people in the "pilotlighting" process, coaching charities in more efficient and sustainable management.
Colin Temple, managing director of Schuh, who is reported to have netted £25 million in the sale of the shoe retailer to its new US owners last year, is currently on his third Pilotlight project. He said: "It's something I do off my own bat. It's not a corporate thing, I just bring a little bit of business reality to a charitable organisation and try to bring some value."
Mr Temple's projects include the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Dunfermline Advocacy Initiative, which matches volunteer mentors with local citizens who have learning difficulties. The organisation, which receives 56% of funding from the public sector, praises "the assistance, guidance and wisdom provided by Pilotlight".
Mr Temple said: "There are a lot of services currently funded by government which are not going to be in future... if you are a medium-sized business there will be an onus on you to understand what is happening in the third sector."
Ms Halton said: "At Pilotlight we are increasingly being approached by corporates keen to send us their senior business people as part of their learning and development. Working with small, innovative charities facing very different challenges really stretches our business members forcing them to think outside the box and develop new skills which they then take back into their day-to-day role."
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