Episode 091: Kathryn Luckock from Share Impact

Season 3, Episode 091: Kathryn Luckock

Share Impact | Coaching | June 29th 2020 | 24:01

Kathryn Luckock

The Story

Kathryn Luckock is a coach for social entrepreneurs. She started Share Impact nearly three years ago with a vision to help social entrepreneurs measure and communicate the impact better, in order to run sustainable and profitable businesses. She knew she could contribute more by making impact measurement more accessible and she realised that to many social enterprises were struggling to communicate and evidence the difference they made. 

Highlights of Kathryn Luckock

  • Kathryn has experience as a social entrepreneur and has been leading impact-driven organisations and innovative programmes since the age of 23 .
  • She is passionate about social enterprises as a force for good in the world.
  • Her approach is to generate a trading income, but also wanting to have both a social and an environmental impact.
  • She wanted to help more social entrepreneurs to recognise the importance of generating a trading income and measuring and communicating their impact better to generate sales, attract customers, and build a tribe around what their mission is.
  • She coaches organisations that have come out of the third sector, filling a public service area, and therefore, have a mindset within the charity space that they need to generate income through, and grants or funding or sometimes investment, but don't necessarily come to social entrepreneurship with a business mindset.
  • Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.


"A lot of the work I do is around coaching them through gaining confidence in what it is they want to create, and trusting their intuition, really helping them grow that message and get it out there to a bigger audience."


Will -  0:02 

Welcome to the green podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today. Your company, Share Impact, and you work with a lot of social entrepreneurs. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Kathryn -  0:14 

Yeah. Thanks very much. Well, thanks for being on the podcast. So yeah, my name is Kat, and I am the coach for social entrepreneurs. So, I set up Share Impact nearly three years ago now, and with a vision to help social entrepreneurs measure and communicate the impact better, so they could actually run sustainable, profitable businesses. And this really came out of my experience of being a social entrepreneur myself. So back in 2013, me and my best friend Jen, were given an amazing opportunity to actually turn a sort of not for profit organisation into a social enterprise that run an education program in schools, and maybe tell you a little bit more about that later, but through that experience of and setting up and growing that business. And we learn a huge amount about social entrepreneurship. But also for me, what I found really interesting was how we approach social entrepreneurship slightly differently to a lot of other social entrepreneurs in the UK, and particularly our approach to wanting to generate a trading income and, and not being reliant on grants and funding, but also wanting to have both a social and an environmental impact. Whereas, although it's changing a lot of social entrepreneurs, very much, quite rightly have, you know, social impact as their mission and often ignore the environmental elements that I think lots of businesses should just consider as the course of their business. And I think as social entrepreneurs, it's increasingly important. And but also that Yeah, as I said, like lots of social entrepreneurs not really recognising how to generate sales, how to have a profitable trading income and very much Have this sort of dependency on grant funding. And, also not really being able to communicate their social or environmental impact very well. And very much focusing on describing what they do not the difference that they make, which for me is obviously the essential part of a social enterprise. So and as I was transitioning and thinking about what I was going to do next after running and leading solutions for the planet, and this is really what I was always thinking about was how can I help more social entrepreneurs to recognise the importance of generating a trading income and measuring and communicating their impact better, so that I can actually generate those sales, I can attract customers, I can build a tribe around what their mission is. So that's what Sharon talks about, and in not a very concise way, but is essentially and trying for me is trying to create an ecosystem of social entrepreneurs. under an economy of social enterprises, that actually does good in the world.

Will -  3:06 

Do you find a lot of social entrepreneurs wanting or needing grants, then? It's interesting that you mentioned it twice just now. Yeah, so…

Kathryn  3:21 

I think a lot, I think there's definitely different camps but often and the social entrepreneurs I come into contact with, and are either organisations that have come out of the third sector, and are filling a public service sort of area, and therefore, have a mindset within like the charity space that they need to kind of generate income through, and grants or funding or sometimes investment, but don't necessarily come to social entrepreneurship, with a business mindset. And with an approach they need to generate income through trading. And all the others, which is a much smaller area, actually, but is and sometimes I come across people who have a business but they're not very they're not very successful in that business. And so, for some reason think that having a social enterprise is the new thing to do that the new buzz, because they believe there's grants funding out there for that. And think that because what they might be able to shift their business slightly to have some social goods or some environmental good that they're looking at that. And so I often have initial client calls with people in that situation, but actually, you know, coach them around well, you know, social entrepreneurship is like any other business, you need still need to generate sales. And if that's the issue you're having with your existing business, you really just need to learn and focus on doing that side of things. But I take absolutely recognise, there are that and there are lots of people running very successful social enterprises who come from a business background and run it As a business, that's not my, my, my target client group.

Will -  5:03 

Yeah, no, it makes sense. It's funny is it just resonated with me because we've never we actually did. We took five grand grant for something the last year, but in reality, we haven't really taken a grant at all ever. And, as always worried me the fact that if you become reliant on it, yeah. And what happens if it dries up, then you're, you're completely skewed with your P&L. You're you haven't got a true P&L if you take it wrong.

Kathryh -  5:36 

Exactly. And I think there's real there's real advantages to accessing grants. So especially at startup phase, I think if you're testing things out, you're piloting things. And you know, getting a grant to startup is a brilliant way and actually increases the access for lots of people who otherwise wouldn't be able to implement their ideas that they have, which are brilliant. So I think grants are brilliant for startups stages, but I think lots of people because they get a grant starting up, they forget to sort of do their business plan and think through how they're going to generate an income. And, and then get into this trap and this kind of way of always applying for grants. But I also think grants are brilliant. If you're piloting something new in your business, if you're trying something new, and you know, or you're at, you're putting it towards some new research and development, or building capacity. And I think that's, that's great and needed and valuable, but I'm not against grants, but I think they need to be used at certain times and in proportion and recognising in social enterprises that as a social enterprise, you're a business it's just your business that does good.

Will -  6:38 

Yeah, no, I totally, totally agree. And you touched upon something that I also noticed amongst B corps in sustainability in businesses and I'm smiling because I just I just see it quite a lot where people are but social enterprises that Both social entrepreneurs that don't have a huge environmental stance start off, okay, take it seriously. They kind of are doing loads of really good stuff. And it's kind of left on the side.

Kathryn -  7:16 

Yeah. And I find it interesting and problematic because for me, and coming to business with ethics, and principles, and core values around social and environmental impact are kind of core to me, and they're all intertwined. So, like and, you know, having a focus on Sustainable Development Goals, or just wanting to do good in the world. I don't see, and I can't, in my own head, separate social impact out from environmental impact. I think they're, you know, completely intertwined. And I think if you come from a perspective of understanding, just general you know, understanding sustainability and wanting to create sustainability, global sustainability, and you have to recognise that, and the social, environmental and economic all come together as one. And so, for me, it's part of that that I find it very difficult to understand why. And social enterprises set up with very clear and important social aims but don't have any recognition to even some basic environmental principles and values that they could be doing just small things towards in running their business, if not to in terms of their core mission.

Will -  8:35 

Why do you think that is?

Kathryn  8:38 

So, I think it's a lack of awareness and knowledge. I think it's the same for everybody globally, in terms of you know, some people are very aware and knowledgeable and there are still significant proportions of a population that just don't know and don't know how things are interconnected. And I think lots of organisations and do Just set up with a very so clear social purpose, and often so focused on that one thing. They're completely switched off from a lot of other things that are either associated to that particular issue and or, like what else is going on, and which I think is a big business. It's a big challenge for businesses generally, when you're, you know, always looking inward and not looking at what's external, both positive and negative to your business. And, and I think and then I think just a lack of those that are interested and would like to be doing something and are just not sure where they could start. And I think feel a little bit like that maybe that it has to be part of their mission rather than saying that it's it could be just part of their operations, and doesn't have to be a core part of their purpose and mission like their social aims are. And what's interesting is over the last couple of months, I've seen quite a lot of comments and posts. on LinkedIn, and questions posed around how more how more and voluntary organisations and charities can embed environmental practices into their operations. And that's come up a little bit for social entrepreneurs, but much more so in the voluntary and community sector, which I found really interesting and what we've been trying to follow. And because I think it's, it's those organisations starting to see this wider alignment of their bigger values and the impact that they're having as an organisation.

Will -  10:33 

Interesting, interesting. I wonder if we'll see more people wanting to report missions and want to reduce. And I wonder if because I know that we've seen a massive uptake on it in the last, I'd say year or two. And I we expect to see it more and more within we tend to deal with private businesses in a greenhouse. Yep, but yeah, it's yeah, hopefully, fingers crossed long enough to have seen Epson those. Yeah, yeah, okay. But I do genuinely think that we are on to anything we're going to see back and back channeling. I think we've, I think it will continue to grow. Now, I did say that it wasn't an eight but…

Kathryn -  11:32 

I do think there's much more public awareness and I do think and, you know, the younger generation are, are not giving up on the message, you know, they're not letting go of it. And I think although, as always, it's not like it's I think it's unrealistic to think that that's the whole youth, you know, and but I think it's interesting how the And extinction rebellion, but also just the youth movement in terms of climate, the climate, like tackling the climate crisis has completely shifted. And what, like, even just in terms of what you see in mainstream media and what's covered these days over the last 12 to 18 months, like I think it's dramatically different. And I don't think we've seen a shift like that happen so quickly as well. And before, I think there has been a sort of a title change in public awareness, if not public action.

Will -  12:34 

Yeah, yeah. And, and workforce scaled. I mean, we've, what? I think Millennials are now 40, coming up to about 40 years old. So, and it is an inverse cause millennials and I know I fall just outside that but if they are all thinking similarly about sustainability, then there'll be an awful lot of millennials running organisations now. Quite senior in organisations, because they're, they're getting to the top of that, you know, that kind of career ladder, and therefore they will be making the decisions that need to be made, will see changes on the back of that as well. And I guess, hopefully at some point government will have younger people, then I'm not going to political.

Kathryn  13:28 

Yeah, well, let's see, I would love to see certain people. And yeah, who I would love to see in positions of power all over the world to say, well, fingers crossed.

Will -  13:39 

Yeah, I wonder if there is actually a correlation. If you look at the more sustainable nations. We have younger leaders, no thoughts about it. But off the top of my head, I think that possibly is true.

Kathryn -  13:49 

Yeah. But just more touch.

Will -  13:53 

Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think so. What would you say your business superpower was?

Kathryn -  14:01 

And so, I think it's really tapping into helping people understand what makes them unique, and how they can communicate that so often with my clients, or generally I work with female entrepreneurs, and often they have a really clear vision and a very clear message, but I think they just get lost in it and they don't feel often it's good enough or it's strong enough, or it needs to be more it needs to be glossier, and fancier. And so, and a lot of the work I do is around coaching them through gaining confidence in what it is they want to create, and, and trusting their intuition and really helping them grow that message and get that message out there to a bigger audience. And so yeah, that was I suppose is if I had to pick one thing is what I'd say what superpower is.

Will -  14:58 

this interesting then. You've seen quite a lot of organisations running and you've talked a bit about their struggles. What would you say some of the biggest struggles you've seen have been and how overcome them?

Kathryn -  15:23 

And I think for lots of social entrepreneurs, and this may just be the people that I work with, but the access to finance and when they're getting started or wanting to, you know, scale up is one of the biggest issues, and I don't think it's that there's a lack of access to finance, necessarily. I think it's a lack of knowledge about how to access that finance, and particularly for women and we know that globally, women access, I think it's a ridiculously small percent, and I always forget the percentage, but it's less than 10% of the global finance that's available. Women just aren't accessing it for all sorts of different reasons. And, and so that's one of the biggest hurdles, like I think generally having an understanding, and this is not something I have either necessarily but have. It's something I'm sort of learning more about and realising that we have a lack of sort of financial literacy in terms of money and what's you know, that we don't just have to generate money ourselves necessarily as an income, that, you know, you can negotiate with all sorts of different partners and players and stakeholders to access finance and investment. But for some reason, there is a big block, particularly for women and doing so. And, you know, there's all sorts of different reasons around that. I think for social entrepreneurs in particular as well one of the biggest challenges as I said earlier, which is why I set up my business is just not understanding how to measure their impact. So having very clear vision and definitely creating the impact that they want to create But thinking that this idea of impact measurement has to be incredibly complex or done by a PhD, you know, student or academic, and which in some cases will be the case. But I think for startups or social entrepreneurs or in the first few years of business often doesn't require such complex levels of academic rigour or research. It's really about sort of a straightforward approach to thinking through how they can demonstrate their impact in different ways. And sometimes that might require bringing people in to do some of the work for them. But more likely, because of that lack of capacity then, and their lack of ability to do it. So, one of the things for me is to sort of simplify and make it more accessible for people to understand how they can get started in thinking through particularly their social impact measurement. I think, around the environmental side, that is not my area of expertise at all necessarily, and so and it's still an area that Where we were trying to bring people in and explore that with them I but I also think it's evolving in lots of different ways because and there's also this tension between using existing models and frameworks around what social good is. But when you're a completely new innovative radical thinking, and social enterprise, transforming things quite differently, and kind of setting new values or new paradigms and things, the old models of measurement don't necessarily align. And so, there's some challenges there and actually creating new measures for what that social good, and that social impact actually is. And which I think, again, is what some social enterprises really struggle with, because they don't think that they can do that they think that it has to kind of conform, even though they've created completely radical solutions.

Will -  18:54 

Okay, um, how do you What's the most innovative way that you You've seen people engage their staff supplies, customers with their mission purpose?

Kathryn -  19:09 

That's a good question. And I think one of the things I think, I don't know if it's innovative, but I think what works really well is when brands and the people within those brands are just really open and honest about how they run their business. So, there's complete transparency and accountability. And there's a real sense. So, on social media, for example, they're always sharing behind the scenes of how they're running their business. So everything from so you really know who the people are in the business, you know, the stories, you know, what's going on day to day, you kind of see and the good and the bad of what's going on in that brand. And I think for me, that's something I really am aligned to and I always look for brands that have that kind of thing because I don't know what it is. There's probably some really You know, clever psychology around it, but I do think you feel part of the family kind of thing, you feel part of that brand, and you're invested in them. And I suppose you've built a relationship with the people that make up that brand. And it's not this kind of, and distant business, it's actually something you feel part of. So, I think, I think lots of social entrepreneurs are doing that quite cleverly, and really kind of, because it's part of their values to be open and transparent. They kind of have that openness on all their communications as well, so that they're, you know, and also having and customers, for example, create their content, their social media content, so that, you know, if you buy a particular product, and then you were and you take a photo and you tag them in, they will share that as you know, their content because it's showing their customers as well.

Will -  20:53 

Yeah, that's really good. That's, um, yeah, I guess and that's, that's where we should be going. Is that true? started saying that stuff honesty, isn't it? Mm hmm.

Kathryn -  21:04 

Yeah. And I think it's really knowing because I think consumers are becoming more savvy about and, you know, supply chains, human rights, environmental practices, they're asking more questions. And the way they're asking more questions and putting more pressure on brands is through social media, it gives it kind of gives us the access to brands to challenge publicly, where brands have to kind of show up and respond. And, and so I think social enterprises are just doing that naturally, because they see when you don't do that, and you don't have that openness, all sorts of things can go wrong. I think it's just part of it becomes part of the culture to do that. Okay.

Will -  21:44 

And what do you think if you could give some advice to our listeners about helping them with their purpose? What would you think that would be?

Kathryn -  21:56 

I think if people don't feel they have a purpose to their business. And they feel like they want to have a and in the, you know, in terms of a social or environmental purpose. I think it's, it's almost harder to, you know, to obviously, if you're starting out, it's easy to kind of think, well, what's the Why? Why are we doing this? What are we doing, but I think if you're all already existing as a business and you're looking at, we want to maybe sort of define and have a clear purpose, I think the best thing to do it could be to actually, you know, engage with your stakeholders and your customers and find out because they're probably already has a bigger purpose. They just, you know, it's just unpacking that and stuff. And, and I'm just going back to an example that I think is brought up in lots of books around purpose and you know, discovering your why and stuff but it's an airline in the states that looked at and that went through this process. Basically, they were really struggling and realised that they needed to kind of bring Staff, customers, everybody back on board with a more clearly defined purpose. And I'm not going to be able to explain it very well now or what it was, but essentially, it was around, you know, relationships and everybody, both staff and customers, and the experience that staffing customers have been the most important thing, which actually, I think for an airline company isn't necessarily, and it might, it might sound like, well, that's just it's lip service. It's an easy thing, but they really embedded it in and I'll share this example so that you can kind of maybe share it with. It's not explaining it very well at all well, but it was a really powerful expand around their business and to make that difference.

Will -  23:46 

Just Okay, yeah, I think I think I know who you I think it's US Airways you're talking about. I think.

Share this podcast