How business skills volunteering can help charities minimise the impact of COVID 19

 In Community, News

COVID 19 is presenting charities across the country with a series of unprecedented challenges. Many are struggling to continue to deliver their services, leaving communities to cope without essential sources of support at the time of greatest need. It has been incredibly heartening to witness the many fundraising and community-based initiatives that have been launched in the past few weeks with both individuals and groups pulling together to provide emergency relief. The ELBA team have been particularly impressed with the efforts of our community partners who have worked tirelessly to create innovative ways to reach east Londoners. However, with the economic impact of COVID 19 yet to be fully realised, the battle to sustain the third sector has only just begun and it is therefore important to look beyond emergency relief and consider how volunteers might help to secure the future of east London’s many incredible charities.

ELBA’s Connect Team draw on the professional expertise of employee volunteers to provide business skills volunteering support to third sector organisations in east London. We place trustees on the boards of local charities through the BoardBuilders programme, deliver Leaders In Partnership which pairs senior members of staff from our community partners with a coach/mentor from one of our member companies, facilitate a range of consultancy and capacity building activities and support the service users of local charities to gain key personal and professional skills. COVID 19 restrictions have presented us with the challenge of taking all of our programmes online, adapting our offer to help our community partners to address their most pressing needs.

Our first step was to reach out to the community to find our how business skills volunteers might be able to assist. We quickly established that a key area of need was access to consultancy in a number of business areas. Charities are facing a combination of HR, Communications, IT, Legal and perhaps most pressingly financial concerns and, with services severely stretched, community leaders are having to make decisions that will inevitably shape the future of their organisations. Employee volunteers from a range of business functions can therefore play a hugely significant role in advising community leaders on the best course of action. With this in mind, ELBA’s Connect Team’s primary focus has been on paring community organisations with individual or small groups of volunteers so that professional skills and expertise can be deployed where needed. We have been delighted to see such a wide range of business professionals offering their time and have already been able to deliver essential advice to several charities.

With strong leadership perhaps more important now than ever before, ELBA’s Connect Team have found ways of adapting our existing programmes.

Launching on 21st May, BoardMatch10: Digital Edition will provide local charities with the opportunity to recruit new trustees remotely. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of joining a charity board then please visit BoardMatch10.eventbrite.co.uk to book your ticket.

Our Spring Leaders In Partnership will continue as planned with a digital launch in May. We are still on the lookout for volunteers that can give 1 hour per month to support a community leader. If you would like to learn more then please contact antonia.williams@elba-1.org.uk.

The ELBA Toolkit, a series of capacity building sessions has been moved online with business volunteers currently planning grant application, sales and marketing and IT workshops that can be delivered remotely. However, we still need more volunteers that can teach a key professional skill to a selection of charities. If you have some skills that you can share then please contact harriet.joseph@elba-1.org.uk.

Above are just some of the many ways that you can give your time to support the local community. Employee volunteers have a huge part to play in the coming weeks and months as we all pull together to manage the impact of COVID 19 and ensure that we continue to build thriving communities in east London.

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