The Power Project calls for a new way of thinking about power, and action to build solidarity in social change.

By doing so, social sector organisations could increase their legitimacy and effectiveness –  and help unleash power to create change across the whole of civil society.

It’s time to reshape how we work for social change.

The Power Project heard a genuine desire among social sector change-makers to work alongside people with first-hand experience of inequalities and poverty. But many don’t find the social sector a welcoming place to pursue change, which is a loss for us all.

What if we could combine people’s first-hand understanding with the resource, capabilities and reach of social sector organisations? Imagine what we could achieve together.

Our new guide – It’s All About Power – will help you do just that.

It’s All About Power

The Power Project calls for a new way of thinking about power, and action to build solidarity in social change.

How might thinking differently about power help build solidarity in social change? 

There is no sticking plaster. We need to change how we think as much as what we do. This will look different for each organisation. But it begins with each one of us thinking differently about our own power.

The story so far

So far, the Power Project has hosted a two-year inquiry into power in civil society. Supported by the Cornerstone Fund, the inquiry focused on London – England’s most unequal city – but drew on learning and conversations from around the world.

Click here for more about the Power Project

The challenge

Some social sector organisations already work in meaningful solidarity with people with first-hand experience. But we heard this is the exception, not the norm. Too often, people feel excluded or unwelcome, and engagement can feel tokenistic – even exploitative. It can perpetuate the very inequalities organisations work to tackle.

Click here for our challenge to social sector organisations

Why power?

People who work in the social sector already talk a lot about power. Yet phrases like ‘empowering people’ or ‘sharing power’ can sound empty unless they’re backed up by better understanding and meaningful action. Talking about power can feel abstract, or uncomfortable. But power is everywhere, and it affects everyone. Unless we take the time to understand it, we’ll keep making the same mistakes.

Click here to understand why thinking differently about power can help

See power

We can only act intentionally to change what we can see. Power is complex, dynamic and pervasive. The Power Lens tool offers a bird’s eye view of the ‘nested’ systems that make up civil society, and the power that flows through and between each of them. 

Click here for the Power Lens, a tool to help you see power more clearly

Transform power

Just talking about power won’t solve anything. But seeing imbalances of power more clearly, then taking reflective, strategic, power-aware action to shift that balance, just might. The Power Framework is a tool to help inform and plan your strategic action to reshape power in social sector organisations.

Click here for the Power Framework, a tool to inform strategic action for solidarity

Power Project Learning Review 

Regrettably, some of the people involved in the Power Project raised concerns about the project with SMK’s Board in February 2023. We agreed to publish a Learning Review. We hope our reflections have value for others seeking to work in deeper solidarity for social change.

Watch SMK CEO Sue Tibballs talk about the Power Project

Power Project blogs

Who's involved?

Find out who’s already part of the conversation.

We welcome anyone interested in exploring power and acting to build solidarity in social change

Read more >


Helping you think differently about power.

Download resources from the guide, and find out what our community is reading, listening and watching to help build solidarity in social change

More here >

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