How can volunteering enhance your career?

October 24, 2019

Millennials are driving social purpose. As a recruitment consultancy, they want us to connect them with employers who have an authentic purpose and a genuine commitment to corporate responsibility. 

For many, it’s not just about making money, but how an employer is changing the world. They have become the driving force behind ‘giving back’.

97% of the charity sector is made up of small charities – that’s over 160,000 charitable organisations with an income of less than £1m – yet one in three of us can’t name a local charity, and wouldn’t know where to start that process.

I spoke to the team here at Frazer Jones who manage the Social Purpose Agenda to find out how to connect the dots together. 

As part of your Social Purpose Agenda, you have an option for volunteering. What does this include?

Team Up is a skills-based volunteering initiative that supports charities of all shapes and sizes. These are charities that need crucial HR advice and support, and we give them access to HR professionals in our volunteer network who then offer their own time and resources. 

We have unique access to professionals who have the much needed HR expertise to help charities grow and therefore achieve more. These charities often need HR advice and support but can be restricted by limited resources and minimal budgets. 

We now have more than 500 volunteers registered in the UK, who support over 50 different non-profit organisations every year. Some charities initially think it’s too good to be true, but have discovered the partnership is of enormous value and even better, is that there is no cost involved for them. 

Our partnership with Reach, the UK’s largest skills based volunteering charity enables us to provide a really broad range for our HR volunteering opportunities, it has really helped us develop the initiative. 

So, how was it founded?

We were looking at how we could evolve our own social responsibility programme and thought carefully about how we could leverage the incredible HR network built over the 20+ years that we had been in business. 

We wanted to utilise this invaluable resource to provide specialist advice and support in areas that could have tangible business benefits. 

We didn’t want to build an agenda around what we thought the charity sector may need, we wanted to provide practical solutions to their current challenges and create a meaningful impact. 

So, we spent time in the sector. Consulting with charity leaders, listening to these experts about the challenges. But, whatever we did, it needed to enhance an individual’s personal development and develop an education piece for the client. This is when Team Up was created. 

This isn’t about business to us, it’s about our purpose and the legacy we want to leave in our community.

What would your advice be to somebody considering skills based volunteering?

I’d say think carefully about the cause. You are about to give up a considerable amount of your free time so it’s important you have a genuine interest in the work that they do. 

Do your research, consider its financials, leadership and board and really get to know them. 

Skills-based volunteering can enhance your CV, especially when applying to organisations that value social purpose. Trusteeships are also a great step towards non-executive director posts for individuals as you can gain knowledge and experience around governance. 

For charities that struggle to source business talent and may default to word of mouth referrals, it can also support in bringing diversity and business talent onto boards. 

How important is Social Purpose to Frazer Jones and the wider business?

Variety is really important to us; we want to support charities in a range of different ways. Yes, we still have a more traditional charity partnership, but it is strategic and so much more than just raising money. Resurgo, our charity of the year enables us a business to truly commit to social mobility and ties in perfectly with our recruitment expertise. 

Our Space Your Space, our office space sharing initiative enable us to help over 200 different charities each year. We share our own resources and space for trustee meetings, training days, special events etc. As you can imagine this continues to be one of our most popular initiatives, for our business it is incredible to be working alongside so many diverse and interesting causes. 

We also host a series of breakfast events and webinars to showcase the incredible work of the charities that we partner with. All of our speakers are experts in very current and topical people-focused challenges.