Charity Leaders' Exchange

Event Report - Social Franchising: Charity's Next Top Model?

The McDonald's Effect: Using the Model for Social Gains

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Thank you to everyone who joined us to explore the world of Social Franchising at Sadler’s Wells – it was fantastic to see such a range of not-for-profit Directors from the likes of the Youth Hostelling Association to social enterprise MyBnk.

Many thanks to our Chair, Michael Norton (who soon revealed himself to be a Social Franchising oracle), our fantastic speaker Stephanie Sturrock, and to our stellar panel - Dan Berelowitz, Gracia McGrath OBE, Mark Richardson and Nick Temple.

We caught up with attendees on the night to ask about their experience and thoughts on Social Franchising - they included Samuel Omolade (Reduce the Pressure), Melanie Robinson (MyBnk), Caroline White (Youth Hostelling Association) and Cliff Ferguson (Glad's House).

Watch our video interviews with them here

PRESENTATION: Stephanie Sturrock, Director of Social Investment, CAF

  • CAF is focused on high risk investments for high social return
  • It's a challenge for boards to borrow money, but think carefully about whether it could really push your charity forward
  • Borrowing is never a replacement for funding
  • Charities and investors need to remove the gobbledygook around social investment - try to have clear, meaningful discussions
  • Social investment might help your next venture, never shy away from having a conversation about it!

Nick Temple, Director of Business & Enterprise, Social Enterprise UK
  • Social franchising is about asking what your enterprise could replicate elsewhere
  • A franchise becomes social when you are expanding to benefit a good cause
  • It's about replicating your IP, brand and whole ethos, creating long term partnerships that work
  • "It's like teenagers and sex - people talk about it a lot but don't do it! Have a go!"
  • When writing a manual, be ruthless about what you leave out, not what you put in

Gracia McGrath O.B.E, CEO, Chance UK
  • On the work of Chance UK - "If you can be influenced to be bad at a young age, you can be influenced to be good"
  • Chance UK has set up franchises across the UK with other organisations - "we're the same as McDonald's, but we don't make money!"
  • Put your 'business in a box' and replicate it. If the model can work for children in North London, it can for children in South London
  • Pilot your project - what works in one place and not in another? What will the barriers be in a new location?
  • Don't cling on to your brand, partners you work with may have more influence where they work - together you'll deliver better results

See photos of our event here, and a blog from Lucy Gower, writing for the Institute of Fundraising, here.

Social Franchising Event

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Key Points

  • Is franchising right for your charity? Review your development and make plans!
  • Pilot your scheme - have a go at franchising on a small scale before going big
  • What is your unique, franchisable asset? What does your organisation do which can be replicated?
  • Funding - investigate where your funding for franchising might come from
  • People - people make or break social franchises. Have the right team and they will make it a success

Dan Berelowtiz, CEO, The International Centre for Social Franchising

  • It's all about scale - how can you grow, develop and multiply the effect that your work has?
  • See your organisation as a package, a box - think about ownership, your centre and potential periferies and your processes - can they be replicated?
  • Your name and brand are the glue that pull the 'box' together
  • Think about framework and freedom - if you were to expand, what would that relationship look like?
  • What can we learn from McDonald's as a successful franchise? People. Select the right people and it will work.
  • Look at Food Bank for a great example of 'buying a box' - it's cheaper than another charity setting up independently

Mark Richardson, Lead Consultant, Social Impact Consulting
  • Another way to think about Social Franchising is to see commercial franchises put to use for social purposes
  • This can include putting disadvantaged people to work via a commerical franchise
  • Social investment can develop the capacity and speedy growth of Social Franchises, or they can help a charity take on a franchise
  • Look to Europe for examples of international Social Franchising

If you would like to learn more about Social Franchising, Dan Berelowitz would be keen to talk to you - contact him at or visit

People // +44 (0)20 7831 0076
Canterbury Court, 1-3 Brixton Rd, SW9 6DE, United Kingdom