Why should business help support charity?

puzzle

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.

More than one million LinkedIn members add Volunteer & Causes section to their profile

Volunteer Opportunities Help Employers Attract Talent, Report Says

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…

Party Promise on Volunteering… what if!

hands

A Conservative government would offer up to 15 million workers three days’ paid leave a year for volunteering…

Under the party’s plans, a new law would be passed requiring public sector employers and companies with more than 250 employees to give staff up to three days a year to do voluntary work. David Cameron said the plan would help to “build a stronger society”.

If… if… this happened in Bucks what does this mean? Rupert Waters, Head of Economic Research at Bucks Business First, sucked his pencil for no more than a second to tell me that Buckinghamshire has about 70 businesses that would fall into this category.  That doesn’t sound many to me, but when I thought about the impact of that it started to seem interesting.  If… if… 70 businesses in Bucks released each employee for 3 days volunteering that could mean 52,500 days of volunteering – that would be a £ value of about £2,500,000!

So if… if… the policy became a reality, if all companies signed up to it, and if all employees wanted to get involved, this could have a mammoth impact in Bucks. But let’s assume that only 10% of people took up on the proposal then that is still 5,250 extra days of volunteering in Bucks. Think what effect that could have on lives of so many. Our gardening project, run by Community Impact Bucks, would be able to help every elderly person in Bucks keep their gardens in order all year; volunteer drivers would drive the sick to hospital every day; the homeless would find help and support every day; drop in centres would be open every day…

The list of community projects achieved would lift the lives of thousands of people and the volunteer team support at Community Impact Bucks would be rushed off their feet! I think the team would think that is a price worth paying …….

So whoever gets in, if they took up David Cameron’s pledge, all I can say is that we will be very happy to work with those 2,000 new volunteers and I am sure that the charities and volunteer groups we represent will welcome them with open arms!

NB There are other political parties available and all will stand by their proposals. If… if…!