I’m Glenn Pougnet and this is #MYCHARITY

This week for the #MYCHARITY interview series, we speak to Glenn Pougnet, Director at StreetSmart, a charity that aims to support homeless organisations by providing the most personal and effective care for individuals in need.

Glenn Pougnet Director at StreetSmart
Glenn Pougnet Director at StreetSmart

Location: London

Current job:  StreetSmart Charity Director

One word that best describes how you work: Juggling

Your biggest success: Raising £7 million for the homeless

Your greatest fear: Being lonely

Your biggest dream: Opening the batting for ENGLAND

Your favourite movie: Bladerunner

Your role model: My grandmother

First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I was born and raised in Essex, a mixed-race family, the first member in my wider family to go to University. Growing up in the eighties, I hated seeing inequalities not just being tolerated but lauded as a good thing. I worked in Publishing for 13 years until I took over at StreetSmart in 2006 despite not knowing much about fundraising or homelessness. Been blagging it ever since.

Tell us more about StreetSmart and what has been the impact of the pandemic on your workday?

We are a small team that run a successful fundraising campaign working with restaurants, pubs and hotels during the build-up to Christmas. The pandemic greatly affected the hospitality industry and therefore frustratingly for us it meant a huge reduction (approx. £500,000) to the funds we raised. Although communication with the team and participants was relatively easy to maintain we struggled to implement the physical aspects the campaign requires – deliveries of collateral, visits to promote. We are all very much people persons so we’ve missed that day to day contact and the constructive mixing of business and pleasure over lunch.

How much digitalisation has helped the charity sector and StreetSmart in these difficult times?

Huge help when it comes to communication and getting our message out. It has also helped when looking at alternative ways of fundraising We’ve tapped into the food delivery boom and had successful online raffles and virtual cook along.

StreetSmart has incredible partnerships with some of the best restaurants in London and the UK, how challenging has been to grow so quick?

We’ve been around since 1998 and started with 30 restaurants so I would say it’s been a steady growth to now 600+. Some of that growth has been organic – owners expanding, chefs from established restaurants setting up on their own but bringing StreetSmart with them. High staff turnover in hospitality means keeping a good, up to date contact list is important in order to help maintain those prized relationships with supporters. Also, the key to our growth has been our sponsors – LandAid who cover all our central costs and make it possible for us to plan properly for the years ahead which is gold dust in these uncertain times.

Can you share a few tips StreetSmart has used to create such an incredible cause/brand awareness?

Keep it simple – It‘s a great idea for the right cause at the right time of year. We’ve tried to keep it consistent and sustainable and never getting greedy and I think the industry has responded to that. Good media partner support and respected industry endorsements have helped create a strong and trusted brand.

In your opinion, which digital channel is working best to communicate to your donors/supporter?

That’s probably Instagram now given the foodie world we operate in.

How do you recharge? What do you do when you want to forget about work?

Play with my twin toddlers although that’s like another exhausting job so hardly unwinding. I like cooking although the lockdown has exhausted my repertoire, I still find chopping vegetables therapeutic.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend?

Grace Dent’s book HUNGRY

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _____ answer these same questions.

Edmund Elephant from Peppa Pig, he’s a clever clog.

What’s the best advice you would give to Millennials who want to approach the non-profit sector?

Learn a bit about business first – the best organisations and individuals I’ve encountered in the sector have some business acumen and operate efficiently. Add flair and enthusiasm to that grounding and you’ll make a difference, who knows you may even make the world a better place. You don’t necessarily have to think out of the box – as so many problems just require a better box.

You can follow @StreetSmartuk on Instagram 

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