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7 ways your business can engage with charities

2nd April 2021

Octopus volunteers at Quiz Night

By Pippa Day, Senior Fundraising Officer

Partnerships between corporates and charities can bring diverse – and often surprising – new support. Here are 7 ways you can make a real difference in your local community:

1. Charity of the Year partnerships

These partnerships bring a richness and help us develop a sense of community. As well as donating their time, expertise, or money it helps engage people in conversations about autism and what we can all be doing on a daily basis to improve the lives of others in society.

In 2020, our charity was awarded a Charity of the Year partnership with Southside Wandsworth, a large local shopping centre. This key partnership has resulted in several fundraising opportunities within the centre. Including raising more than £2000 by asking for a small donation to access their kids’ space play area.

2. Digital volunteering

This year, we have benefitted from long-standing support from our friends at Octopus Group. This included a team of ‘digital volunteers’ who supported our charity team with everything from icon design to developing a database to track Speech and Language Therapy allowance. By volunteering their time and sharing their digital expertise on specific small projects, they were able to save our charity money.

3. Reach out!

Smaller charities with limited capacity are not always able to put resources behind reaching a wider audience. By actively reaching out you might be able to help solve a problem you didn’t even know existed.

Southside Kids’ Space provided a temporary home for our Early Years’ service so that we could keep the service running throughout the pandemic.

“BeyondAutism Early Years has been supported by Southside Shopping Centre throughout an incredibly difficult time. Their generous offer to use the Kids Area on their premises allowed us to provide continuous support for families during the pandemic. We are all incredibly grateful, we would not have been able to do it without them!” – Bernadett, Head of Early Years

4. Gifts in kind

If you are moving, getting rid of old technology or have a surplus of resources – get in touch with local charities to see if they have a need. Gifts in kind save charities huge amounts of money every year and your unneeded goods could be much-loved by someone else.

5. Team building through volunteering

Strengthen your staff team by carrying out volunteering work together. If usual, practical volunteering opportunities are not available – why not get them to take on a team challenge such as a virtual event, or sign up to a live event to train for/work towards later in the year? As well as strengthening the bond between your team, this has the feel-good factor for making a real difference in your local community.  (add picture of Octopus painting the playground)

6. Look to local charities to fulfil training needs and learn new skills

Southside Wandsworth have committed to participating in our training on understanding autism. We hope that deepening people’s understanding of autism – particularly for key members of our community such as front of house staff – will result in a more inclusive society.

7. Share your local charity’s information and resources

Autism effects 1 in 100 people. Use your database/network for good to share valuable, free information and resources amongst your networks. You can do this via sharing posts on social media. Or you might choose to add a link to an email communication being sent to your database as part of ‘World Autism Awareness week’. Sharing information helps us get closer to realising the changes we want to see in society.

Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved! We would love to hear from you.

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