Social Venture Partnership

Social Venture Partnership is a structured corporate skills volunteering package for businesses – it enables businesses to work with 5-10 new-start social ventures (charities, social enterprises, community businesses and projects) over a period of 6 months, through varied volunteering opportunities. These opportunities allow businesses to provide support based on the skills and experience of their staff, enabling new charitable enterprises to start, become sustainable and grow. Volunteering within Social Venture Partnership has a focus on using business skills to build the capability and capacity of people with ideas for social change. The programme can be adapted to support the specific priorities of a business, either a geographical area or a particular theme (e.g. Children and Young People, Environment etc.).

Social Venture Partnership creates various volunteering opportunities for your staff including skills sharing, business skills presentations, selection panels, board memberships and mentoring. Opportunities for volunteers will range from 1 hour to several days of volunteering time per volunteer.

Over the years we have supported new local and international projects to start and grow into award winning social organisations. 75% of the people supported through this programme set up a charity of social enterprise who are now employing staff and have a huge social impact. Many of the businesses that help to establish these new organisation, go on to work with them beyond the end of the programme, creating a lasting relationships between the charity and the business that helped them establish.

Examples of projects started with Social Venture Partnership:

IMAS – International Mixed Ability Sport, a Community Interest Company creating an international movement of able-bodied and disabled sports player participating together.

Social Leadership Challenge

Social Leadership Challenge is a skills based volunteering programme where businesses support existing local charities or community projects to grow and thrive. We identify community based organisations with a specific sustainability or growth issue. Your volunteers then work with the charity or social venture to create solutions or deliver a practical project.

Over several sessions, volunteers will use their business skills to get involved in problem solving, listening skills, presenting, pitching, ideas development, mentoring, team working, leadership and creative thinking to come up with affective solutions or practical ways they can help the charity.

Volunteers will be supported to work on ideas such as business planning, events planning, problem solving, marketing and ideas development. Depending on the programme the volunteers will present their final ideas back to the charity or will support them to deliver a practical change.
To create ongoing significant external leadership roles, volunteers would be given the option of mentor training, and would be matched with individuals leading specific business functions within the Charity.

Volunteers will generally all give between 1 and 2 days of volunteer time, split between facilitated team sessions, a visit to the charity, a presentation for the charity and / or a practical delivery session with the charity.

Participate offers a full support service around Social Venture Partnership and Social Leadership Challenge, including:

  • Finding people to work with (both new-start and existing organisation) – your volunteers can be involved in a friendly ‘dragons den style’ panel to pick the participants for the programme
  • Providing written briefings, training and support to all staff and volunteers involved in the programme
  • Project management for the life of the programme, including step by step programme’s for staff and communications between all partners
  • An evaluation report – showing how the intervention has supported the community organisations and how the project has benefited the volunteers
  • PR support for the programme – including input in press work and social media

Bespoke Programmes

As well as our flagship programme, Participate also works with businesses and partners to develop bespoke programmes, tailored to the specific needs of the business, provided that we can demonstrate that the programme has real social benefit. Companies have used these programmes for staff development, leadership training and to raise the profile of their community programmes. Examples include:

  • A mentoring programme, matching volunteers with people in various charities to act as a sounding board and critical friend
  • An ‘apprentice style’ challenge to generate income for a local charity or charities
  • Charity Shop Challenge – teams of volunteers take over charity shops for the day in a competition to use their business skills and implement ideas for fundraising

Other Ways to Help

Although volunteering is a great way for corporates to get involved in the community, it’s not the only way. Participate can support you to find other valued opportunities:

  • Fundraising: getting employees involved in fundraising for the community is great fun and offers real benefits to your staff and business. We have lots of ideas of how you can fundraise in unique and interesting ways that really engage your staff
  • Pro Bono: provide free services to the community through the professionals in your organisations – they might be lawyers, architects or HR experts

Why Work with Us?

Impact on people’s lives – This is at the heart of what we do. By getting involved you can expect the following outcomes:

  • You can deliver a sustainable impact on a community
  • Your involvement can be a catalyst for other investment and community initiatives
  • Your staff sharing their skills and time enables communities to help themselves

Impact on your business – As part of your wider Corporate Social Responsibility programme, working with Participate can help you boost your profile as a socially responsible business. A partnership can help you:

  • Demonstrate commitment to your community, clients and staff
  • Increase employee loyalty and pride
  • A positive impact on your businesses productivity, skills base and team working

Impact on your employees – Working with Participate on your employee supported volunteering is a competitive way to develop your workforce. We can work with you to ensure any volunteering aligns with your organisations objectives as well as leadership and development objectives. Benefits to staff:

  • Develop leadership skills and opportunities to explore new ways of working
  • Increase staff loyalty and motivation through positive experiences
  • Enhances staff awareness of communities in which you operate

‘Social Venture Partnership has provided opportunities for community and employee engagement across the business. Our colleagues have been involved in mentoring, skilled volunteering and team challenge activity to help kick start the new ventures. This is a great example of where businesses can leverage their peoples expertise across a wide range of skills to support the growth of some great ideas. We’re proud to be part of this fantastic initiative’