Do you want to come for a day out with us? The SiGNAL team is looking forward to taking part in Community First’s Business Volunteering Day in the Bordon Inclosure on Friday 7th June. We’ll be helping the Deadwater Valley Trust pull up some of the invasive Himalayan balsam that’s taking over in some parts of the woodland, and enjoying networking with a difference!

Community First are an organisation that supports local community groups like the Deadwater Valley Trust. Part of its remit is to help recruit volunteers from the local business community, with the aim of building relationships between the voluntary sector and businesses in the area.

How your business can make a difference

There are many ways that businesses can support local groups. While practical support in the form of hard labour – as we will demonstrating at the Business Volunteering Day – is much needed, other support can make a real difference. Janet Duggan, Business & Volunteering Engagement Manager at Community First, told me that marketing is the top thing that they get asked for help with.

Marketing is a vital part of recruiting volunteers, promoting events and fundraising in the not-for-profit sector, but not many community groups have marketing professionals in their voluntary teams. That’s why Community First are actively recruiting businesses with marketing expertise to help these groups. Support is delivered in a number of ways. For example, Community First run training days with corporate marketing teams where multiple community groups can get essential skills. They also recruit businesses to work directly with a local group, by offering a few hours marketing a month for free or campaign-based voluntary services. It’s a great way for micro and small businesses to give back to their local community without impacting their business adversely.

Marketing support is not the only thing community groups need. Professional business services, such as accountancy and bookkeeping, are also essential for running a voluntary organisation and by offering these services for free your business can help reduce costs and ensure funding is used for project work. Business development support can also be useful, helping the voluntary sector have a bigger impact by applying private sector methodologies to their plans.

If you would like to offer your business’ services to a local community group, contact Janet at Community First and she can help identify a good fit for you, your business and voluntary organisations in the area. Janet’s contact details are at the bottom of this article.

What’s in it for you?

I’m sure you can already think of a number of reasons why volunteering is good for you and your business. However, for the benefit of anyone who’s wondering ‘what’s in it for me’ here are 4 reasons for getting involved:

  1. It’s good for your community: if you live and work in the same area as a voluntary group you support, you can have a direct impact on your local community. For example, by coming to the Business Volunteering Day next month you will be helping improve a public amenity that you and your family and friends can enjoy any time you like.
  2. It raises the profile of your business: you can expect a certain amount of publicity for supporting a local community group. That exposure can be very beneficial to local businesses as it raises your profile within the community your business is based.
  3. It differentiates your business: many customers make decisions about whether or not to buy from a business based on the company’s values and culture. If you have a corporate social responsibility programme (giving your time or skills counts as CSR) you can differentiate your business from those that don’t give back.
  4. It’s good for your team: if you employ people having a CSR or volunteering programme in place can be a useful tool for attracting and retaining staff. It’s proven to increase employee satisfaction and engagement in the workplace.

Ready to start making a difference?

If this has inspired you to volunteer there are various ways you can get started. You can contact a local voluntary group directly and offer your support or get in touch with Janet at Community First for her matchmaking services!

Even better, why not come along to the Business Volunteering Day on Friday 7th June? As well as helping the Deadwater Valley Trust, it’s also an opportunity to find out more about volunteering and speak to the Community First team.

You’ll also get to meet other local businesses and enjoy a slightly different networking experience with the SiGNAL team!

Contact Janet Duggan for more details on 07467 941013 or email janet.duggan@cfirst.org.uk. You can also find information and book your place at the Business Volunteering Day using this link – https://bit.ly/2uZ2Rz4

business volunteering