Having spent three years working for a small charity, running a support and signposting service for young people, I decided the time was right to move on. During my final week, one of our volunteers approached and asked (very sweetly and with the best of intentions) "So, is it time to get a real job then?".
Story-telling lets us break down one of the other big misconceptions about aid, that it's colonial, a white man's hero mission. In every Save the Children programme that I've visited at least 90% of the staff are from that country and are passionate about what needs to happen to improve life for their fellow citizens.
My strategic advice to the sector, is to seek to find common cause with local government to make the case to central government to stop or at least mitigate the impact of further cuts; to expose the human and financial implications of the Government's welfare 'reforms'; and to argue for greater localism with more devolved responsibility and resources to localities.
Increasing employee ownership and engagement is clearly a good social policy, but what excites hardnosed business brains is its irrefutable impact on a company's bottom line. Employee owned businesses are known to provide higher levels of customer satisfaction, better quality services, lower staff turnover, better levels of innovation, and they are more resilient.