Change Accelerator: Hannah Sayers

Change Accelerator: Hannah Sayers

Our Change Accelerator for September is Hannah Sayers. Head of Fundraising and Innovation for Enable Leisure and Culture, and Founder and Director of Small Change in the UK.

Please briefly describe what your organisation does 

Enable Leisure and Culture is a charity that strives to enrich lives and strengthen communities. Small Change is a social enterprise that gives free fundraising support for small non-profits.

How did you get into social impact sector? 

I’ve always been a strong believer in giving back. It’s something I feel passionately about and have a strong desire to make a change.

I first started working with communities in 2005 when I went to Leeds Beckett University to complete a child development degree. During that time I worked with many charities who support children and young people in some of West Yorkshire’s most deprived areas and lived in Africa for just under 3 months volunteering at a school in a remote village in Ghana. Here is where I discovered my love of fundraising when I secured a £400,000 grant for one of my charities.

After university I continued my work with children and young people and became a business development manager for an outdoor children’s charity in London. I then moved on to a parks and open spaces department where I was successful with a £1.9 million pound funding bid to the Heritage Fund, for a 5 year Project.

After that I became the senior trust fundraising officer at The National Deaf Children’s Society, before finally moving on as Head of Fundraising and Innovation at a South London Charity where I am now. Alongside this I co-founded a community action group in my home town and have been successful with numerous grants to improve the local area.

During the Pandemic I founded Small Change Makers CIC and established a volunteer fundraising team to help small non-profits such as food banks, community centres, peer support groups etc access funding. We want to make funding opportunities accessible to everyone and want to make change in the fundraising sector.

What is your driving force for accelerating change? 

I strongly believe that anyone can change the world and I want to champion small change makers. It doesn’t have to be someone who makes a grand gesture or donates a huge amount of money.

We live in a world now where our lives are lived online and where people feel like they need to compete to get likes. Why is a huge donation or money raised quickly the only measure of success? We are increasingly seeing stories of people making massive contributions or doing things that an average person may not be able to achieve, and this can be demoralising for those who are making a big difference every day in someone’s life, but on a smaller scale.

During my time at Enable LC and since founding Small Change I have seen the huge impact people can make to their communities just by making small changes. However, feedback and research that states only 3% of UK voluntary sector income (e.g. from grants, trusts and foundations) goes to organisations with annual incomes of under 100,000 (NCVO Almanac 2020) – is alarming. How is this right? There is an economic inequality in the charitable sector, and we need to act. Large funders all over the world are often not challenged, as they are the lifeline for many organisations. But if this isn’t challenged, where is the accountability, innovation/drive for change? So, I want to tackle this, be brave and make the fundraising world accessible for everyone.

What one piece of advance would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?

Don’t wait for the right time, you can make change by just starting small and being your own champion. You’ll be surprised at what you can do, when you believe that you can.

Do you know an inspirational Change Accelerator? Nominate them for our next newsletter and to be entered into our global awards by emailing us here.


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