Think you don’t have the business skills to volunteer? Think again!

 In Community, News

ELBA’s Connect Team work with the employees of our member companies to facilitate business skills-based volunteering which supports the third sector in east London. In the current economic climate, the vast majority of charitable organisation are extremely stretched meaning that, whilst lots of incredible community work is taking place, very few of our community partners have absolutely all of the requisite knowledge, skills and resources within their staff teams to fulfil their full potential. Accessing these resources from outside the organisation is often prohibitively expensive and therefore volunteers can therefore play a vital role in building organisational capacity by drawing on the skills that they use at work every day and applying them to the third sector.

So far this year we have seen some brilliant examples of volunteers using their work based skills in different settings. The letters G,D,P and R have been on everyone’s lips in 2018. All of ELBA’s member companies, along with businesses across large portions of the world have amended policy and procedure to comply with the new regulations. Charities have been equally affected but many have not had access to the knowledge and skills required to carry out the necessary changes. Step forward business volunteers. In March, two fantastic Linklaters volunteers delivered a three-hour long GDPR masterclass for 15 different east London based charities and, in May, HSBC volunteer Mark Taylor delivered a GDPR workshop at Bootstrap Company for over 20 different organisations. Mark returned a few weeks later with colleague Dan Harris to run GDPR clinic, securing himself ELBA’s May volunteer of the Month award for going above and beyond. The work of these four brilliant volunteers has meant that over 35 east London based organisations have been able to access essential support that they would not otherwise have had.

Another fantastic example of business skills volunteering has been ELBA’s Social Media Club. Each month, a selection of volunteers from ELBA’s member companies meet with an ever growing group of ELBA’s community partners for a one-off session which supports charities to get more social media savvy. Some of the volunteers are social media professionals and others are simply enthusiastic volunteers who use social media platforms in their personal life (Who doesn’t, right?). The sessions have enabled a number of charities to set up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts, supporting them to build their profile and to engage with key stakeholders. A particularly great session was led by Bupa’s Head of Digital Communications, Andrew Byron, whose efforts were rewarded with ELBA’s March Volunteer of the Month award. At the most recent meeting of the Social Media Club, one of the charities set up their first Tweet deck using Hootsuite. Not bad for an organisation that wasn’t active on social media just a few moths ago!

A final example of business skills-based volunteering that has taken place in 2018 comes from the fantastic Denise Deen, Senior Receptionist at Westfield Stratford City. Denise regularly trains Westfield staff in customer service skills and so decided to offer her expertise to train some groups of east Londoners who were not in employment, education or training. She has conducted four exceptional sessions, thus far, training over 35 east Londoners. We are delighted that she has offered to train two further groups in the coming months. Those that receive the training are provided with free access to essential skills that will help them on their employment journey.

In this article we have discussed just three pieces of business skills-based volunteering. ELBA works with thousands of volunteers each year and we firmly believe that everyone has something valuable that they can share with the east London community. So, if you would like the opportunity to give back then simply contact Jonathan Tait via jonathan.tait@elba-1.org.uk and we will find the opportunity for you.

Check out all of our volunteer profiles here, for examples of exemplary volunteering in the east London community!

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