The 2015 Project: Volunteering, social action and corporate engagement

Katie Howe was part of NCVO’s Parliamentary and Media Team and has now left NCVO. Her posts have been archived here for reference.

Activities like volunteering, campaigning and working with businesses are of central importance to the voluntary sector, and are key characteristics of many charities. They are important relationships with individuals and with businesses to discuss in relation to the future of the voluntary sector.​

Charity seeks corporation for meaningful relationship.

Our P5 practical workshop at Evolve 2015 will show you how to find a corporate partner to help you uphold your values, meet your mission, and remain financially stable.

Find out more about Evolve 2015

Volunteering, social action and corporate engagement is the second theme up for discussion in the 2015 Project. This is a consultation with NCVO members to find out the key issues for them, with a view to us translating the sector’s expertise and experience into one strategy, and highlighting our ideas to political parties ahead of the 2015 election.

As always, we want to make sure we are representing our members in all our talks with politicians, and champion the voluntary sector in everything we do.

We want to hear your views and experiences on three important questions:

Snippets of what our members have said so far:

“There is a lot of interest in emergent technologies and micro volunteering such as slivers of time, and we need to be abreast of all that, but the big under-developed area for me remains sport and small community groups, where, despite some excellent practice, it is not embedded as in health and social care, youth work, education etc.”

“I’d be keen to have some more clarity on internships, work placements, volunteering for social enterprises.”

“If volunteers are seen to be replacing paid staff (or if workless people are forced to ‘volunteer’) the whole concept of volunteering could be lost for a generation or more. We must only use volunteers to add value – or risk undermining the very idea of volunteering.”

“The major role infrastructure organizations have is that we are brilliant at linking and joining things up. We are well connected in the statutory sector with the projects we have running, we are linked to hundreds of local community and voluntary groups and we have good links to some businesses, currently building on this. By linking with such organizations as ours businesses will find a wealth of options for developing their CSR appropriately and timely.”

“No more new initiatives, structures or organisations! Channel funding to and through the existing Volunteer Centres to ensure local responses to local issues (in line with other political rhetoric) and recognise the value of volunteering in itself – not only as a means to helping people into work, but a way to allow people to ‘give something back’ to their communities and as a way of increasing social cohesion.”

Some food for thought:

Levels of formal volunteering have remained fairly stable throughout the last decade, although arguably volunteering has never before been so widely acknowledged by the public and by Parliament, thanks to the successes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Makers.

Interestingly however, there seems to be some sort of movement towards more episodic, short-term grassroots social action, and social media has strengthened this trend. This shift in the way that people are able to engage with organisations through social media is something that campaigners and campaigning organisations are thinking about, and will need to adapt to in the future digital environment.

Another debate for campaigners and campaigning organisations is the increasing role of businesses and brands launching social, public awareness campaigns, as well as the wide-ranging take up and expansion of businesses’ corporate social responsibility programmes.

Why you should get involved

This is your chance to shape our policy lines around the next general election. With an election in the very near future, it is even more essential that we are clear on what we, and our members, believe to be important for the sector. The 2015 Project is your opportunity to influence these discussions.

Come along to our policy seminars on these topics, and make sure your voice is heard.

Blogs from sector leaders

For any more information, contact us at – we’d love to hear from you!

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