Comas – “Happiness, health and belonging for people struggling with life”.
Comas is a social innovation charity using community development to help people find the solutions they need.
Based close to the Royal Mile, Comas provides a range of consultancy, training and advisory services that are designed to support the wider objectives of the organisation – dedicated to supporting people and organisations working for change. Comas has recently been awarded funding from the Enterprise Ready Fund – to develop and deliver burn-out training and awareness sessions, specifically aimed at the third sector and also the public sector.
Comas believe that we can't keep doing the same things we have always done and expect different results. When people continue to experience isolation, poverty, stigma and fear, we have to recognise that real social change for them requires different thinking, new perspectives and a relentless search for what works.
Comas' growth trajectory during the first five years shows that their income has steadily increased. Though this has been hard work - cash fundraising is a challenge – due to limited capacity and small networks.
In their first two years, most income came from commissioned work - contracts to provide research, evaluation, consultancy or local needs assessments for the public sector or other third sector organisations. Contracts took a dip as public and third sector cuts began to bite, but these remain an important source of income for Comas.
Over time, as their track record became more established, most growth came from grants from trusts and foundations, or government. All of these grants remain short term, for pilots and projects.
By the end of the first year, they secured cheap premises in order to recruit an intern and provide a focal point for volunteers.
The Board of Directors focused on survival and the concept of Comas' approach
In year 2, they focused on building Comas as a social innovation organisation.
They started the Serenity Cafe Project by using a small grant to begin working with people in recovery to build their community and their community hub. The main task was to create a space for social innovation.
As our main project, the Serenity Cafe, became successful, we developed our reputation and our leadership role. However, for many external stakeholders, Comas was somewhat invisible behind the Serenity Cafe.
Comas has survived thus far without 'core funding' - they have no regular grant to rely on which pays for key costs of rent, administration/finance and the CEO.
They aspire to find a funder which will provide a long term contribution to these key costs, which they would add to with funding from diverse sources - continuing to earn money from commissioned work, improved cash fundraising, and ensuring each of our projects contributes a fair share to these costs.
In 2013, Comas completed 5 years as a social innovation organisation growing by using a mixed economy of grants, income generation and cash fundraising.
Project development requires confident investment - they are often venturing into the unknown in innovative work - and they urgently need to build a reserve to ensure they can continue to develop and supplement grant funding when necessary.
Comas have built a reputation as a forward thinking organisation and see their next task to be communicating with the wider, donating public to secure wider support for their work through fundraising.
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8 Jackson's Entry
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