My vision for Inspiring Women Changemakers came about after my changemaking campaign in 2014 where I pulled together a top legal team and led a Change.org petition on behalf of an asylum seeker, Afusat Saliu, and her two daughters.
The petition gathered 128,000 signatures and attracted attention from the global media, MPs and even personalities such as Richard Branson. There were countless supporters, whom I named Team Afusat.
Once it was over and the dust had settled, I reflected on what had worked. I recognised my own core skill of being able to connect readily and naturally with people both on- and offline. I already had a large network, and a profile based on work on promoting diversity and inclusion. I wanted to find a way to support other women, to whom such networking doesn’t come as easily.
So I set up Inspiring Women Changemakers. As it evolved, I learned that many of its followers were women like me, predominantly micro business owners making massive change in and through their businesses. Many, again, like me, want to test the water before committing to setting up a social enterprise or charitable structure. Some will never go down that route.
This presents a huge barrier in terms of scaling up the excellent ideas developed by these smart, entrepreneurial women. Without a formal non-profit status, they struggle to access funds to build up their initiatives. I know that I have.
The project support offered was one of my own reasons for joining The RSA. Its Catalyst grants enable individuals like me to submit proposals for funding, there’s also crowdfunding support for Kickstarter campaigns, the chance to pitch at engage events, and online platforms to help connect with likeminded Fellows.
The RSA’s Fellow’s Forum and local events have given me a platform to talk about what I want to achieve and to find potential partners and supporters from its global Fellowship of around 29,000 members.
As a fairly new member, I haven’t yet applied for Catalyst funds. I have supported fellow RSA members from storytelling business daCunha with a Campfire for Business event in Leeds for 50 people from the business world, using the £500 flexible pot to test local events.
And I have also taken the opportunity to deliver a one-minute pitch at a local meeting in Huddersfield, where I met the good folk from Tom, Dick and Harry brand agency, also Fellows of the RSA, who subsequently designed me a flyer for my initiative.
I hope by reading this, you will learn that you get back from The RSA what you put in. By partnering with the organisation, I hope to build up a strong membership base for Inspiring Women Changemakers, and give my members a way to access the additional support that The RSA has built up over the years – there’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel!
To learn more about the Inspiring Women Changemakers movement and how you can benefit from out partnership with The RSA, just visit our website.
Sally Bonnie FRSA
Sally Bonnie FRSA, Founder of Inspire Women Oldham and Young Women Changemakers, reflects on the recent 'Visibility Journey' of the women she champions and the importance of a new power approach in tackling some of societies biggest problems. Following the International Elimination of Violence against Women day this week, join Sally and Young Women Changemakers for an interactive event at The Steps on 2nd December.
Natalie Collins FRSA
Natalie Collins FRSA, Founder of the DAY Programme and the Own My Life course, reflects on recent publicised acts of violence against women, and the urgent need to stand up against it. Join her, along with Fellows Karen Ingala Smith and Leyla Hussein at Friday Conversations on 29 November to explore this further.