“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” – Sherry Anderson
As we approach the end of year 4 and we start feeling more grown up as a company we move our horizons beyond what we can do for our customers and what we can do for our team to how we begin to start helping our wider community.
I was chatting about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with a London client; his response was ‘CSR why wouldn’t you!’ Put any good you are doing to one side for a moment; with a purely business head on CSR is:
- Good for team morale.
- Tax efficient (Financial assistance is subject to Tax relief).
- A compelling part of a client engagement story.
- Another tool in the ‘employer of choice’ brand; in particular, it resonates with generations ‘Y’ and ‘Z’. (According to 2018 Edelman Earned Brand Study 53% of consumers believe brands can do more to solve social problems than governments).
… but there is a challenge with CSR, and that is finding the right organisation(s) to partner with. In a previous business we were very fortunate. Our next door neighbours ran a small charity providing vital help to widows & orphans in Tanzania. There was a deep level of trust that money raised was going directly to those who needed it, but also a granular level of reporting that gave us certainty that we were making a difference. (The extra money the business raised supported 10 children with their schooling for another year bought 4 bicycles, 8 mattresses and 25 mosquito nets etc.). ‘The ’x’ pounds raised directly resulted in this impact’ was powerful, but the geographical disconnect was noticeable.
At Marshall Wolfe the team were adamant that they wanted to do something at a local level and also create an environment where the team could donate time as well as fund raise.
We stumbled across Volunteering Matters at a Corporate Charity Golf Day and their message really resonated. I was delighted when I was given the task of leading the engagement with Volunteering Matters. I am now giving up time on a weekly basis to support their GrandMentors scheme and we’re looking forward to rolling out an initiative where the Marshall Wolfe Team can help with careers advice and guidance for young adults. Individuals who have not had the levels of support so many of us take for granted.
So what is it about Volunteering Matters that resonated:
- The emphasis is absolutely on the willingness to give up time to help with significant intervention.
- There is a genuine drive to allow those who need support to design and run meaningful and impactful programmes. Many of the young people in Volunteering Programmes have been let down by the systems the community has created so to assume we know the solution is a mistake.
- The Charity has a strong local presence.
- There is a highly engaging local team.
… so I agree CSR ‘why wouldn’t you?’, but the real impact on the programmes overseen by Volunteering Matters is a personal one. Not the ability to ‘look good’ in front of peers, but I am talking about how good it is for the soul. A wise individual once said to me ‘if you’re searching for happiness you will struggle to find it, if you concentrate on making other people happy you will invariably be happy’. I have found this to be true, but frequently deviate from this wisdom.
Searching for an opportunity for you (and / or your business) to make a real difference. Find out more here
Marshall Wolfe is part of the Rokker Network : www.therokkernetwork.com