12th November 2020
By Leonora Buckland, Principal Consultant at Stone Soup

As the pandemic struck, a universal and hopeful sense of pulling together in adversity emerged resulting in many offering to help others worse affected, for example by supporting a local food bank or delivering essential items to vulnerable people. We might look back and say that the pandemic has changed the very concept of volunteering and community (in a positive direction) – it is too early to say.

In the immediate light of Covid-19, Stone Soup consultants wanted to care for each other, their families and their local area, but also the social sector which is a place of so much striving, hope, brilliance but also struggle. Many social organisations on the frontline in the pandemic were buffeted by uncertainty, drastic potential funding cuts and facing major strategic decisions. They desperately needed to keep their organisations open and serving their beneficiaries (with houses, trainings, food, a lifeline) and to adapt their fundraising and business models whilst keeping their staff safe. Funders moved into emergency mode engaging in a free spirit type of grant-making which has not been seen in many years whilst looking for collaborations. Never before had the proverb, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together,’ seemed so true for the social sector.   


Illustration by Katerina Limpitsouni

How social organisations deal with this crisis will define their survival in the medium and long term. Here we analyse how they are adapting their communication so as to reinforce the message and boost fundraising.

By Pilar Ballet  Stone Soup consultant specialised in strategic communication
and Angela Millan  Stone Soup consultant specialised in creativity and social innovation and fundraising
The pandemic and social distancing have arrived with a bang in the Asilo de Luarca hospital in Asturias. The residents are senior citizens whose lives, up to now,  have focused  on enjoying their visits,  taking part in outside activities and local life. However, nowadays they are isolated in the home with hardly any physical contact and afraid of contagion. “Before this it was very important for us to tell people  what a happy home it is and change the negative perception that people usually have of residences by talking about our daily life, anecdotes and life in general. With the corona virus we’ve lost that happiness and don’t know how to convey what we do and get it through to people” explains Sandra Cuesta, director of the home. This is one of the direct consequences of the pandemic  on a lot of social organisations in Spain. How to communicate when many of the organisations are still searching for their own new normal?

Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash

By Sophie Robin, Managing Partner
Stone Soup Consulting
Article originally published on Diario Responsable

Quien haya trabajado alguna vez en el mundo de la consultoría sabrá que las relaciones de confianza son la clave de un modelo de negocio sostenible. Los contratos se ganan, bien porque ya existe una buena relación (es decir, los clientes quieren seguir trabajando con una consultoría porque han tenido buena experiencia con ella), bien porque las personas que ponen en contacto a las entidades cliente con la consultoría ya se conocen y confían la una en la otra, o bien por reputación previa o recomendación directa.

El mundo de la consultoría es un poco como el mercado de las canguros: existe un mercado abierto, pero parece que cuando se trata de cuidar del pequeño (aquí la empresa), la mayoría prefiere escoger a las personas o entidades que conocen y aprecian. Hasta ahora todo es perfecto, comprensible y legítimo.

Los problemas empiezan cuando este capital de confianza empieza a ser el único criterio que entra en la balanza, y es utilizado a pesar de las reglas establecidas en el mercado.  Cuando consultorías y clientes que ya se conocen, trabajan juntos o simplemente se aprecian por una relación personal, empiezan a falsear las reglas del mercado haciendo prevalecer el capital de confianza por encima de todo.


Are you interested in impact measurement and management? This free webinar is a hands-on experience of two innovative methodologies: the Impact Management Project (IMP) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) operating principles for impact management.

The speakers share their experience working on two case studies with organisations that have used these two different impact measurement methodologies. 

  • From one side, Stone Soup Consulting and the NGO Oxfam Intermon Spain will present their learnings from the IMP based on their experience evaluating the social businesses Acuapez, in Bolivia, and San Pedro in Paraguay. Both projects are supported within a venture philanthropy program called “Enterprises that change lives”. 

  • On the other hand, Better Way and STOA will share their experience on the verification of STOA’s impact management system and its alignment with the Operating Principles for Impact Management issued by IFC.


24th of November 2020 at 2:30 PM CET (1h15')

In March 2020, all partner teams for the latest iteration of the Erasmus + ArtE program (“ArtE-the Art of Employability”) travelled to Witten in Germany to participate in the initial staff training event, a wonderful oppportunity to share best practice and learn from the more experienced partners in the program. The program is based on the JobAct® theatre methodology - which addresses disadvantaged people and fosters their social inclusion with a combination of theatrical education and social work. Read more about the approach in the blog post: Introducing the Erasmus + program “ArtE-the Art of Employability.

ArtE project partners meet in person in Witten, March 2020

Through theatrical work, participants acquire competences in communication and interaction, as well as personal and social skills, underpinned by creative theatre approaches to boost their self-confidence. JobAct® projects actually taking place on stage. The sense of achievement by developing a successful stage play, leads to a long lasting trust in one's own capacity.