Take a bow, but take a stand too

Kevin Armstrong

Policy Lead

24th September 2020



This year you’ve probably already been encouraged to clap, kneel, be silent, display rainbows, express support on social media and possibly even boycott social media. We now live on a politicised planet where indifference is facing extinction, and I think there’s one group in society better placed than most to use their power to bring progress.

It’s a wonder that indifference is taking this long to die because it’s been advised against for nearly 500 years now. Ever since ‘The Prince’ by Machiavelli was published, politicians everywhere have known that it’s tactically wise to pick a side, rather than sit on the fence. Even if your side loses, at least you still have a new ally in the loser, said Machiavelli.

Of course, there’s also a compelling moral argument for us all to speak up, for example to be anti-racist rather than just non-racist. Machiavelli agreed, even though he didn’t talk about white privilege exactly. Whenever we gain power, by virtue or otherwise, he said we should at least appear to be compassionate, faithful to our word, guileless, and devout. Can you think of any person or organisation that fits that description?

UnLtd knows it isn’t there yet. We’ve stated that we can ‘do better’ and we’re taking steps to do so, but we are still really chuffed to receive recognition this month for one of our recent efforts to amplify the voices of social entrepreneurs and disabled people. Our #UntapSolutions campaign has been shortlisted for a National Campaigner Award alongside some fantastic campaigns like #CharitySoWhite. We’ve already learnt a lot from the campaign so far, but there were some centuries-old fundamentals that we were proud to get right, such as:

  • Seizing the opportunity of the General Election to make allies, rather than remain in silent indifference.
  • Being faithful to UnLtd’s call to be, buy or back social by commissioning social entrepreneurs to recruit our campaign support team, commissioning a social entrepreneur to deliver the creative part of the campaign, and designing the campaign to promote social entrepreneurs.
  • Showing our devotion to supporting social entrepreneurs to achieve impact by working with Hart Club to give neurodiverse artists their first commissions – supporting their careers with the aim of reducing the disability employment gap.

If we can do it, you can.

In truth, #UntapSolutions was inspired by you, not Machiavelli. As a social entrepreneur, when you see the need for change, you get up and do your absolute best to make it happen before you even consider asking others to act. Not only that, but you bravely develop new, more impactful solutions to problems. You made us think about how our campaigns can work in new ways to make a direct difference for you, as well as an indirect difference by achieving policy change.

I can’t think of any group that is more compassionate, faithful to their word, guileless and devout than social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs have the potential to sweep the National Campaigner Awards in the future, but we recognise that some of you may appreciate a bit of support to get there.

If you are a social entrepreneur who would like to feature prominently in future UnLtd campaigns or receive some guidance and training on how to influence policy independently, please get in touch. Please also get in touch if you or your organisation could help UnLtd to expand its work in this area. We piloted some workshops last year, but if there’s appetite for it we’d love to do more to support social entrepreneurs to maximise their impact in a politicised world.

We’ll also continue with our campaigning, as well as behind-the-scenes influencing on things that matter to you. If you haven’t already done so, please help us to #UntapSolutions by contacting your MP. Beyond this and the other campaigning actions you’re possibly already taking, my only ask is for you to take a bow. Quite simply, #UntapSolutions wouldn’t have gained awards recognition, backed neurodiverse artists, promoted social entrepreneurs over a million times online, or attracted cross-party support from well over 100 politicians without your inspiration and support.

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