BLOG: What’s in a name?
Impact Funding Partners was born a year ago on 6 February 2019. Well, that’s not strictly true, because the organisation had been around in some form since 1982. I suppose you could define last year as a new beginning, a time of self-acknowledgement. Rather than under-value our role in bringing about social change, it was an opportunity to explore our strengths and confidently promote ourselves as funding experts. After all, giving out £160 million in grants across Scotland for 38 years has taught us a thing or two about funding and social impact.
So, why rebrand?
Firstly, we knew that the name Voluntary Action Fund, or VAF as we were affectionately known, was misleading. An organisation managing 8 different funds worth £13 million is not one fund. Secondly, our name was often confused with the names of some third sector interfaces, and we were sometimes considered to be part of the third sector infrastructure. In fact, a lot of people in the sector thought that we received core funding from the Scottish Government, which we never have. We are contracted to manage each fund after going through a tendering process. The third reason for rebranding was that the name did not describe the breadth of our work, nor reflect the aim of our new strategy “Let’s Create a Fairer Future”.
So, although our name was well known in the third sector and part of the public sector, many people had never heard of us and appeared a bit bewildered and frequently asked, “But what do you do?” It was definitely time for a change.
After many discussions with staff and trustees, we decided that what we needed was a functional name backed up by some emotive positioning. Creating social impact is our purpose, funding is our core activity, and funders, businesses, donors and those receiving grants are our partners. Hence…..
I love it when a plan comes together.
When we set up the launch group in 2018, my colleagues made it clear that they wanted a different type of launch event and I was in full agreement. It was decided that it would focus on our third sector partners and our collective impact. And it should be entertaining and fun!
After much hard work the day finally arrived. We had done careful planning, and although my default attitude is always “It’ll all be absolutely fine”, even I felt a bit anxious. But there was no need to worry, the plan came together perfectly.
The launch event was held on 6 February 2019 at The Hub, Edinburgh, which is a stunning venue. We opened with the wonderful Maryhill Integration Network Joyous Choir before a welcome from our Chair Joanne McLaughlin.
Our keynote speaker was Davie Donaldson, an inspiring equality activist talking about the experience of Travelers in Scotland. We were very lucky to have other fantastic speakers like Frankie McLean talking about BSL policy, Rishaad Ait El Moudden talking about the Glasgow Memory Spinners, and Sandra Paton from Argyll and Bute Women’s Aid talking about truth, integrity and respect – a diverse range of speakers and very powerful contributions.
In between the motivating and emotional presentations, we were entertained by the brilliant Modo Circus, and the inspirational musicians from Limelight Music. The idea was to provide a platform for all our partners to tell their stories through words, music and the arts and to engage our guests.
The final presentation was about Impact Funding Partners, our new brand, our strategy and a call to action to collectively “Create a Fairer Future”. It was a short presentation because our colleagues had said everything better than I could.
But that was not the finale. We then had a short film of support from the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and written statements from Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell and Minister for Older People and Equalities, Christina McKelvie.
That’s a hard act to follow you will agree, so we thought we had to end on a party high. Cue the movie and the music. A film of key milestones in social change since 1982 accompanied by a Silent Disco with songs over the past four decades.
Nobody could see that coming I can tell you.
It’s difficult to believe that all that happened a year ago and all within three hours.
It was humbling to get so much positive feedback from our guests on the day and to get support from our funders and funded organisations over the last year. Thank you.
I can’t wait till our next launch!