Written by Kylie Barton
Although One Community is classed as a medium sized organisation from employee number perspective, when looking at revenue alone, it is indeed a small organisation. It is made up of several smaller projects who look for funding and other opportunities themselves as independent entities with their own accounts. It is a dog eat dog world out there when it comes to bidding for funds, but what is not always considered, is the opportunity for big organisations to support local community projects in a number of different ways and not just through funding. In this article, we shall look at a number of these opportunities and demonstrate that organisations can support each other even if money is limited.
Projects that run sessions for their service users, such as coffee mornings, youth clubs, or information sessions all need spaces from which to do so. Many businesses or organisations have spaces that are not used at specific times of the week such as evenings or weekends. For example, Eastleigh Football Club loaned One Community Young Carer’s their club house for their Christmas Party, and The Point volunteered a room for Hampshire Young Carer’s Choir. If your organisation has a space that might be suitable for a charity to run events, do consider reaching out to let them know. If a space lies empty, why not allow a good cause to utilise it for members of your local community?
Don’t panic, this doesn’t have to mean pounds and pennies! Charities and community groups often need prizes for raffles or tombola’s which they then use at events to help them raise funds. A range of things can be donated from chocolates to nice smellies, baskets to art supplies, or from vouchers to toys. As long as an item looks new, and is unopened, charities will find a use for it. People can make a difference here too, not just businesses. Our transport department service users are absolutely fantastic whenever we put a call out for something, this Christmas they donated over 150 selection boxes for vulnerable young people!
When voluntary organisations are strapped for cash, unfortunately one of the first things that has to go is PR. This is because first and foremost the client facing work must be protected, which means any streamlining focusses behind the scenes. Sadly this is slightly counterintuitive, as if a charity doesn’t shout about itself, there is a risk no-one else will, which means those with spare cash don’t hear about the great work being carried out. So if you are a big organisation, and have a good online presence through PR work or Social Media, you can utilise your platforms to mention your local charities, and give them a bit of air time too.
In the third sector, it tends to be the case that staff members are the jack of all trades, and masters of none. This is great as it prepares them for anything that may come their way, and means they are perfectly situated to help the public with any number of queries. There may be times however when specialist knowledge is needed such as law, construction, planning, PR, write copy – any number of things. If your business specialises in something, no doubt your knowledge may be of use to your local charities at some point. So ensure lines of communications are open…
Larger organisations by their very nature have contacts coming out of their ears. These contacts may also be able to help with one of the above, or maybe even with funding. As a business it is good for your CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to get to know the charities in your area, especially the smaller, more localised charities who may need that little bit of extra support. The multi-agency approach is big these days, and we need to make sure this takes place cross sector: private; public; and third.
So you see, there are many ways in which businesses and larger organisations can get involved with local charities without having to dig too deep into their pockets. All these little bits and bobs add up and really are appreciated by the organisations, their staff, and the service users who ultimately benefit.
Our Voluntary Sector Support Team here at One Community can and do broker such relationships, and so if you have something to offer, get in touch, and we can help to build those bridges.