Small steps for big impact

We’ve just finished our Impact48 weekend event with In Search of Sanuk in Bangkok. Bangkok is in the international news this week for a big political protest, the “Bangkok Shutdown”, a mostly peaceful protest which has been marred by some violence.  Luckily our event was no-where near the protest areas so we were able to concentrate on the job in hand.

“I feel that we’ve done more in the last 48 hours than we’ve ever done… ever”. Michelle, In Search of Sanuk volunteer


In Search of Sanuk are a truly inspiring group that directly provides food, shelter, and educational support for survivors of torture and trauma, focusing special attention on at risk women and girls.

Dwight and his volunteers work tirelessly to care for hundreds of people and entire families that might otherwise be reduced to prison, forced prostitution or slave labour.  They house, feed and support these families, including children of all ages.  More than that; they work to bring opportunity, dignity and fun to those that have none.  “Sanuk” is the Thai word for fun and enjoyment.

And they do all this almost exclusively on a volunteer basis.

Go watch their video for a taste of their amazing work.

Of course, doing so much (especially without paid staff support) means it is hard to find the time to do all the important organisational work and big picture planning that is needed. This is where our Impact48 was intended to help in some small way.

Our small group started on Saturday morning with several hours of discussion of their biggest challenges and brainstorming ideas that could help.  Once again I was surprised how much focused creativity can be generated with the right mix of external expertise and confident openness from the organisation. This resulted in a list of exciting suggestions for fundraising, school & food events, awareness raising, volunteer management  and administration and time management improvements.

One major need that was a requirement for many of these ideas was for more insight into the organisations financials and an annual report for 2013. These would be used for everything from fund and awareness raising to grant applications. So this is the major task we set out to tackle over rest of the weekend.

I am delighted to report that, between nipping out for coffee and the wonderful local food, we were able to: set up and import all 2013 financials into an online accounting system, produce financial reports and write the copy for an annual report AND design and layout that report to produce the polished product.  Thus completing an important milestone for the organisation in 48 hours.

On top of that the team were able to draft some significant changes to their website copy that will be used to encourage more donations and improve the volunteering process. We were also able to make some technical improvements to the website.

A very successful weekend all round.

For me the experience of joining Dwight and the other volunteers was incredibly rewarding. I hope that we managed to take a small step towards ensuring their great work in Bangkok continues for a very long time to come.


Please visit In Search for Sanuk and give them any support you can.