If I ran a business today I would find it hard enough to pay staff, tax, rent, rates and keep everyone employed let alone think about supporting a charity. Business is already paying tax that goes to support the sick, vulnerable and destitute without forking out to support charities on top of that burden.
So why do some business owners continue to find time and funds to work with local charities? Community Impact Bucks runs programmes to develop charities into sustainable ongoing businesses with the help of expert volunteers – business leaders who give up their time to work with charities to develop their own strategy for fund raising.
Community Impact Bucks were so impressed by the skills that volunteers had to offer that they established a specialist list of experts who are willing to give up their time to help charities. These include: legal experts, finance experts, business leaders, marketing experts, plumbers and electricians. Often volunteers are highly paid and leaders in their field. Their impact when working with charities is impressive – recently, following the support of a business expert volunteer, the Chilterns MS Centre achieved a 700% increase in earned income!
Community groups don’t just look to business for a hand out either. The fact is that businesses and charities share the same society. A businessman or woman is as likely to rely on the services of a cancer care organisation that is a charity as anyone else, and I presume that they don’t lose that sense of value the moment they turn up in the boardroom.
There are many reasons why charities would appreciate the support of business apart from funds: the skills of the directors, the support of the staff on volunteering days and the fresh engagement and views from another sector. But these are not one-way relationships. Charities may be able to teach business owners some vital skills. Charity leaders are often experts at being flexible as the needs of their customers/beneficiaries change; budget control is a survival skill; charities are inventive – often growing a national organisation from a frustration and a dream to see things better – and are often staffed by the dedicated teams of highly qualified experts.
Helen Cavill, our Volunteer Hub Coordinator, noted that young employees are looking to work for organisations that link to charities. In recent studies the Social Responsibility element of a firm is identified as being an important decision-making element for young professionals deciding to join.
Furthermore, if you are in business you may want to get the most out of your team – and volunteering can help here too! A review of health and volunteering, which included 40 studies and was published in BMC Public Health, revealed that volunteers benefit from reduced rates of depression and an increased sense of life satisfaction and well-being — doing good, it seems, made them feel good. “Our systematic review shows that volunteering is associated with improvements in health,” lead author Dr. Suzanne Richards of the University of Exeter Medical School in England said in a statement. Other studies suggest improved longevity of up to 3 years for those volunteering…