AGM and post-AGM discussion report

| 22.10.2018

The BSA AGM took place on 13th October at the Wesley Hotel & Conference Venue in Euston. Please see the draft Minutes here. The meeting was well attended. 

Following the formal AGM, Tim Fell hosted a discussion which began with a report back on the Conference, given by Christine Simpson, which you can read here. The meeting then moved on to look at finances.

Finance Report

BSA’s treasurer (James Smith) talked through the figures for the current year, 2018. The conference has muddied the picture a little – we’ve seen extra income in this year from the conference, which has been followed by large payments out. So, although income is ‘up’ this year, the actual underlying trend is down from last year, and the graph below shows that the BSA got very close to the edge during September/October.

Owen Simon Legacy

At the start of October the BSA received a legacy of £290k bequeathed to us by Owen Simon, an active and dedicated supporter of the BSA. The BSA will also receive the proceeds from the sale of Owen’s house, which will be in the region of £860k (the August 2018 probate value). This will have a transformative impact on the BSA. We have been working with the trustees since June to look at the needs of the charity and how to make this a sustainable and effective organisation. 

The bulk of the legacy, from the house sale, may come in very soon – or the house might not sell for a number of years. Consequently, whilst we can and will plan for it, we can’t budget for any of this money.

We will use this legacy to develop the core functions of the BSA, long-term. The Five Year Plan that we have developed aims to build the BSA into a sustainable organisation, delivering revitalised information and support, by 2021. Our overarching vision is to change public perceptions of stammering and stop stammering being seen as a joke. Core to this plan is growing our membership, reaching 6,000 members by 2021 and 10,000 by 2023. We believe that if we can inspire our membership to play an active part in the BSA, then this will help both secure our financial future and help us deliver change.

The budget for this year and the years ahead are quite tight. Despite the legacy, we are still working to a tight budget, and need to bring in additional grants to support our activities.

2018 Expenditure

We will invest an initial £45K into staffing and infrastructure, and then spend in the region of a further £100K in 2019 and again in 2020, on staffing, support and infrastructure. This will include a pilot webchat and helpline service in 2019, which will then run full time from 2020 onwards, running 5 days a week. The intention is that with or without the remainder of Owen’s legacy, we need to be sustainable and able to deliver a higher level of support and information to those who stammer, by the end of 2023. 

Over the next months we will bring in a Service Director to oversee our information and advice including updating the wealth of education-focused resources created by Cherry. Steven Halliday (who is currently volunteering for us) will start full time as Webmaster & Supporter Care Manager. We will set up Salesforce and establish a functioning CRM system for our membership and bring in a part time Salesforce Administrator (2 days p/w). We will also employ a Communications Director (2 days p/w) and an Administrator (increasing the hours already worked by Jacqueline Fitzsimmons). This team have clear set goals to reach each year, and fundamental to the financial plan is the expansion of our membership, supporter base. 

Finally, we’ll be running annual YouGov polls, tracking levels of awareness and understanding about stammering and the BSA. There was a query from the floor that academic research would be cheaper than a national poll, this was countered by a BSA Trustee, Rob Grieve, who believed that, although worthwhile, an academic piece of research is likely to be more expensive and would also take more time to complete.







Donations (including Gift Aid)


















Conference & sales






Owen Simon legacy






Other legacies






Total Income









Support, Information, Conference


















Administration / staff






Office Costs






Owen Legacy Fund







Total Expenditure














Target number of supporters












Ave raised per member






Five year plan

Jane Powell emphasised that the BSA can only exist with a larger core team, providing extra services, with a larger income and supporter base, see table above. We have a target of 3,700 members by the end of 2019. The proposed rebrand, and subsequent campaign, will help us do that. Otherwise we face cutting staff and activities down to the bone again. We can test out the new brand and campaign – keeping the BSA name, but ‘Trading as Stamma’ – and see how that runs. Or we can spend a year consulting over a new name and trying to secure another agency to see if they’ll work with us.

A number of members expressed disappointment that there had been no consultation over the new name, and unhappiness with the proposed brand. Jane Powell explained that she had simply seized the opportunity offered by the agency, that they had capacity over August to work with us, and taken it. 12 people who stammer, with a wide range of backgrounds and ages, were involved in the process, recruited via Facebook, the ESN, City Lit and the Trustees. Part of the reason the agency wanted to work with us was because several of the team are people who stammer and so they were keen to be involved in raising awareness and shifting public perceptions. A number of members pointed out quite vehemently that the BSA needs to reach out to young people if we are to have a future.  

After a lively discussion it was agreed that we should test out the new campaign. If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t bring in new members and financial support, then we’ll drop it and come back to the drawing board.  Jane Powell then presented the Strategic Objectives for the next 5 years.

Strategic objectives

1. Support more people who stammer
-Recruit a professional to oversee BSA advice & information (Service Director).
-To trial out a 3-month webchat/helpline service. 
-Review BSA information, set up new website.

2019 Goals
-Increased traffic on a new, stickier website.
-An evaluated webchat pilot. 
-1,000 webchats and helpline calls.

2. To Build Community Support/Facilitate Networks
-Ensure ESN learnings are pulled through to the new website.
-Use the new site to platform stories, showcase setting up local/online groups.
-Seek funding/grants to support Network/Local Groups coordinator.

2019 Goals
-Network/Local Groups coordinator funded .
-3,700 members & supporters.
-Increase in local groups, online groups.

3. Educate The Public About Stammering
-Rebrand the BSA and create a new website which will help visitors understand difficulties facing those who stammer and understand how to best respond. 
-Produce public information on materials such as postcards, buttons, stickers to enable supporters to communicate our messaging to the public.
-Develop and implement a proactive communications and marketing strategy.

2019  Goals
-BSA to benchmark levels of understanding on causes of stammering, awareness of BSA, understanding of challenges faced by those who stammer.
-BSA to reach more people who stammer and see a growth in membership and support base.

4. Manage the BSA Effectively & Efficiently
-Implement Salesforce and build a responsive, secure CRM system.
-Refurbish BSA office
-Establish clear protocols and policies to protect staff and data.
-Build and train staff team.

2019 Goals
-£120K raised in donations & fundraising by the end of 2019. 
-Integrated CRM system pulling data from fundraising platforms and from website. 
-Refurbished office.
-Robust policies and written procedures in place, compliant with GDPR.

Naheem Bashir suggested that as Trustee he could reach out and bring a body of experts together to help advise the BSA on issues such as Salesforce. 

Lifeline Appeal

This will take place on the 18th November. Scroobius Pip will present the appeal. He is a person who stammers, a musician and actor who has a large following on social media. He also presents a weekly podcast – Distraction Pieces – interviewing other artists, writers, actors, presenters and activists. The BBC are considering who else to focus on – currently under consideration are Jimmy Lang, Yinka Dolan, Mandy Taylor, Naheem Bashir.   

Jane Powell is working with Walter Scott on the interviews. We will use footage of the interviews to generate interest in the run-up to the Appeal, and we will then need to push hard on social media to expand its impact. The dual purpose is to raise funds and bring in new members. The latter will be a struggle as we don’t have a functioning CRM system – we currently have mailchimp, which doesn’t capture or contain any financial donation information.