"I have realised how important the social founder spirit has been in helping us cope."
Trewin Restorick is Founder CEO of Hubbub, a groundbreaking environmental charity and social enterprise. He is also Founder of the charity Global Action Plan. Trewin has written a guest blog for the Social Founder Network on how his ‘Social Founder Spirit’ has helped Hubbub address the impact of COVID-19, looking at how his original founder values have helped them ride the storm.
And you can also hear Trewin's fascinating and insightful story of how he founded and grew Hubbub and Global Action Plan in our Social Founder Stories podcast interview with him. See below the blog for links to the podcast.
Like many organisations, COVID-19 had an instant impact on Hubbub most notably knocking a £2.4 million hole in income. The past five months have been a period of rapid change and readjustment placing a huge strain on the whole organisation. As the Founder of Hubbub it has been a period to reflect on what I was trying to achieve when establishing the organisation and to reflect on how it needed to adapt to cope with massively changed circumstances. During this, I have realised how important the social founder spirit has been in helping us cope.
The importance of culture
People join Hubbub because they have a shared sense of purpose. We all want to do what we can to create a better environment and society by delivering transformative campaigns. This sense of joint mission has been essential during a period of profound and unexpected change. Employees have been willing to accept new ways of working, to support their colleagues and to be flexible. This has helped Hubbub to transform rapidly.
Values outweigh plans
Hubbub was built around a core set of values and we have made every effort to ensure that these are embedded within the organisation. These values have taken precedence over detailed business planning – which has surprised many people who join the organisation and has not always been welcomed by funders interested in long-term investment.
This emphasis on values has been crucial in dealing with COVID-19 when any business planning would have been become rapidly irrelevant. Our team was able to adjust rapidly and be clear about how we need to change to remain relevant and impactful.
Cash is king
Hubbub started with an initial investment of £25,000. From day one cash was king with incredibly tight cashflow management required to ensure we could survive with virtually no money behind us. This culture has been retained even as the organisation has grown and has proved invaluable in helping us address a sudden and unexpected loss of income.
COVID-19 has disrupted all aspects of our lives. New things have become important and the public mood has been volatile. As a social enterprise, Hubbub has always been acutely aware of our role in society. During the lockdown we undertook extensive public polling and ran virtual events with over 200 organisations to tack opinion and priorities. This has enabled us to remain relevant, developing new campaigns that meet societal needs
We have sought to embed a generosity of spirit, openly sharing the results of our public polling and helping organisations make new business connections. This has built strong links with many of our partners and funders enabling us to openly share how we are coping during the crisis and highlighting the help we need. This sense of openness and collaboration has been invaluable as we negotiate massively changed circumstances.
In this same open-book spirit, I recently collaborated with the Social Founders Stories podcast, to share the origin stories of both Hubbub and Global Action Plan, the two organisations I set up. I shared my insights into the key stages of creating and growing a charitable organisation, with the hope it would help and inspire others who have aspirations to create socially conscious organisations themselves. The full podcast is linked below.
Obviously, COVID-19 is far from over and we face further deep uncertainty. How the next twelve months pan out remains to be seen but I feel sure that our social founder spirit and values will help us weather the storm.
Trewin Restorick, CEO & Founder, Hubbub