Friendship Works is all about the transformative power of one to one relationships. We see this everyday in the friendships between our mentors and the young people they support.
Like individuals, organisations also need good friends in order to prosper and flourish. Over the last three decades one of Friendship Works’ most important and influential friends has been our Patron, Jonathan Pryce. Since 2005 he has hosted annual fundraising events for us and, in December 2011, starred in our show at the Café de Paris with fellow performers Michelle Dockery, Sian Phillips and Sheridan Smith, raising £115,000 – a huge amount for a small charity.
Jonathan’s recent article on The Guardian voluntary sector network described what makes for a good relationship between a charity and its patrons. His advice for charities is:
“Make sure that your patrons care and understand about your cause. Make sure you have a role for them. Famous names on a letterhead are attractive – but if you really use your patrons they will enjoy it far more. Give them a job to do that they can do well, and you’ll go far.”
We’ve been really lucky to have patrons, like Jonathan, who’ve taken the time to understand what we do and who have been prepared to work closely with us to reach our goals.
I will be part of a panel hosting a live Q&A about charity patrons on The Guardian website tomorrow, Tuesday 17 January from 1-3pm. We’ll be taking questions and discussing the advantages and pitfalls of celebrity patrons. I hope that you’ll join me online to share your experiences and advice.