We love Small Charity Week at Volume 48; we can all see it getting a bit more attention year on year. The work these the charities who are a part of this network do, is great and incredibly varied!
To share a small story that highlights the problems and importantly solutions of big companies supporting small charities. A story as old as time itself…if time was only the last 20 years of charity/business relationships.
We met with a small charity (which for this story will remain nameless), the charity we met receives a number of offers from local and national businesses, who want to paint walls, do gardening and other tasks. To clarify the charity does not have an endless supply of gardens that need tending to by amateur horticulturists.
As a small charity, the offer is tempting to have business teams come down, not because of the free work, but as it could lead to a relationship and subsequently raise funds for the charity. The view is taken that “as a charity we may get funds from them later… so don’t charge them to attend”.
And herein lies the problem, which is two-fold:
Firstly this charity admitted that only about one in ten of these businesses turn into anyone who is willing to fundraise for them – often the businesses are already supporting someone bigger and on a national level, and it takes time and resource to grow these teams into something more.
Secondly, one of the groups who attended to do some gardening recently, caused some damage to some of the drains while digging, they hadn’t made a donation, didn’t cover the costs for repair, so actually caused more damage than good. Consequently, the charity not only needed to get actual gardeners/plumbers in, but then fill out all the claims paper for insurance and all the other tasks needed.
Now this is sounding terribly negative, which is not what we want! Volunteering, in essence, is incredible, but for a business to be able to really help a charity by being ‘present’ it really needs to be more mutually beneficial. Sometimes the stereotype events aren’t the ones to focus on - it pays long term to build something more sustainable.
We’re working with a number of charities and we’re not looking to leave a burst pipe and a bill to foot; instead we are building lasting, reusable, marketable and strong events which engage employees, fund charities and leave a lasting legacy of success.