The context for my Churchill Fellowship
What I researched
For my Churchill Fellowship I set out to research:
Funding models: what funding mechanisms, processes, messaging and partnerships were being used, and why, what was working well, and how they were evolving.
Organisational structures, ownership and governance: what was effective in growing both financial sustainability and social impact.
Social impact: how these funding and ownership models impact democracy and citizenship, voice, visibility and positive social change.
I visited over 50 organisations in the US, India and Sri Lanka, meeting over 100 individuals with a wide range of experience and insights into social impact media. Thank you to so many people for your time, insights and openness.
An overview of my findings
I came back to the UK inspired by the innovation, flexibility and adaptability, technical skills, resourcefulness and dedication of the people and projects I visited.
I was inspired by the commitment to supporting social impact media — across funders and donors, infrastructure organisations, academics and crucially, among audiences and communities.
I am convinced that there is much we can replicate and adapt in the UK and globally to benefit and strengthen social impact media, communities and civil society.
Summary of my Findings from the US, India and Sri Lanka
Where social impact media was lacking, disappearing or weak, whether for geographical communities or for ‘communities of interest’, I often found a powerful mix of entrepreneurial innovation and philanthropic intervention, working together, to retain, re-build or start up an impact media infrastructure, through both legacy media and digital innovation.
Summary of Recommendations for the UK
Inspired and informed by my findings during my Churchill Fellowship travels in the US, India and Sri Lanka, visiting a wide variety of impact media projects, media funders, media social entrepreneurs and media support agencies, I am making the following five recommendations for the UK.
"Now is the time, while ensuring we do not lose our unique public service and commercial media ecology, that in parallel the UK can invest in growing a third layer of media — civil society media, community media, media with social impact as its primary objective — impact media."
Inspire and enable UK charitable foundations, lottery distributors, philanthropists and impact investors to fund and support social impact media.
Grow individual contributor income from audiences and communities, developing the culture, skills and resources across our UK impact media sector to build sustainable income from individuals, through donations, membership, community shares, social enterprise and subscriptions.
Create more entrepreneurial and flexible ownership and governance models for UK impact media organisations, including a mix of charitable and social enterprise strategies to enable growth in grants and donations, individual contributions, commercial income and impact investment.
Invest more in growing, evaluating, communicating and celebrating the social impact of impact media, to grow positive social change across our communities and inspire new sustainable funding models and partnerships.
Develop specialist infrastructure support for impact media in the UK, to provide best practice, training, policy and research, alongside initiatives such as match funding challenges and awards, building connections with impact media in other countries, and creating a network of local impact media hubs across the UK.
Next steps for the UK:
I hope that my recommendations will be a catalyst so that together we can secure the resources to reverse the decline in impact media in the UK, supporting a growing multi-layered network of creative, innovative, entrepreneurial, highly impactful, value-led and financially sustainable impact media initiatives.
Together we can build a powerful movement for democratic and civil society media, for social impact media, learning from each other, sharing best practice, resources, content and creativity through shared goals and common cause.
This 100 page Report details many of the project visits to impact media organisations in the US, India and Sri Lanka in 2019 and 2020.
The Report makes detailed recommendations for impact media organisations in the UK to build sustainability and scale
Impact Media is a global network -
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We held our inaugural Impact Media conference, online from 2-6pm GMT, on Wednesday 26th January.
Over 60 delegates and speakers from India, USA and UK joined to debate, share, connect, engage - and be part of our journey to grow impact media in the UK and globally.
Tickets included 4 additional follow-up sessions in February, the full Impact Media research and a Conference Report.
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