I’ve noticed a worrying trend lately within charities, social enterprises and community groups losing trustees and supporters from the Private sector due to the increasing demands of these individual’s day jobs during the current economic trials and tribulations. So, not only are these vital players within our communities losing financial donations as budgets get tighter, they’re also struggling for bodies and knowledge.
With only scarce signs of the economic downtown bottoming out and any recovery still on the distant horizon, how will charities survive this withering of support?
I can speak from a very personal and daily battle with the moral dilemma of being able to offer the commitment I personally feel is appropriate – and as something of a perfectionist has been a lifelong challenge for me – and not allowing any negative ramifications due to multiple time demands. As the Chairman of one community regeneration project (Enable) and Trustee of a charity (Liverpool Habitat for Humanity) on top of running a business (Coethica) and being a father and husband, every day is a stressful time management conundrum with no real end in sight.
If ever there was a need for more people to step up to the voluntary plate it is now. The UK does have a marginally reticent cultural approach to volunteering compared to the USA say, but there is a growing imperative to further engage with those with the passion, skills, commitment and enthusiasm to support projects of every shape and size. Let’s be very honest here, the Public Sector cannot and should not be expected to solve any country’s social problems alone. Any Government’s role is best exploited as facilitators. The Voluntary sector is key to social cohesion assisted by a healthy dose of socially aware Private sector businesses engagement (more needed please – sign up for help here!)
Every single person, regardless of job, age, skills, colour, race, religion has skills and some spare capacity essential to a good cause within your own area. The gaps in the UK appear to be the awareness of the opportunities, how accessible these are and the benefits for playing your part (whether you want them or not!)
In times of crisis and hardship we all have to prioritise both ourselves as individuals and our families, it’s called survival, but there are countless millions that are needed right now, today, to shore up fragile projects in your community.
Many businesses do allow volunteering on work time, but not enough encourage individuals to offer their own time out of a work setting. Schools need Governors, charities need Trustees, and every good cause needs bodies and hands to help keep their heads above water. There are many, many benefits of helping out a local cause confidence building, networking, learning new skills in addition to the obvious moral reward from giving something back, so why not get stuck in?
If your company wants more help with improving their volunteering programme I know a company that can help or if you are an individual who wants to get involved with a local good cause try Googling ‘volunteer’ for more local information. If your based in Canada / USA check out Chris Jarvis’ blog www.realizedworth.com for some great advice.
Or if you know a good cause that needs help leave a comment here with what you need. You never know who is reading!
Please forward this post on to your friends. We need to get more people volunteering now!