Most people recognise that the Third Sector, i.e. charities and not-for-profit organisations, is an important part of our Society, meeting various needs that neither the Public Sector nor the Private Sector either cannot or in some instances should not provide. Funding for such organisations comes from many sources, and when we think of contributing towards organisations in this Third Sector, giving money is usually the first thing we think of. Of course money is needed and in many cases it can be the simplest way for us to help, whether as individuals or as businesses. Please do not think that anything which comes later in this article is intended to be a reason to reduce your giving. However, sometimes we can help in other ways too.
- Many people of course do volunteer and give their time to help out in one charity or another, either directly or by taking part in fund-raising activities, depending on their abilities and personalities.
- When businesses become involved, other than as donors of money, they usually think in terms of encouraging employees to take on a specific project, generally something of a physical nature, such as cleaning up an area or decorating a property. These are often the things the charities themselves ask for.
However, there is another way in which many of us in the business world could contribute more effectively, which neither we nor those involved in running the charities are apt to think of. We could provide our business skills and experience to assist in the management of the charity in question.
- It may be that some help with routine book-keeping or other office work would be a help, in many cases, and where appropriate, let us try to help in that way.
- What about management advice? From finance to health and safety, from human resources to insurance.
What this would mean is that:
- We could help them to use whatever resources they have more efficiently and effectively.
- We could help prevent foreseeable mishaps, whether physical, financial, or reputational.
Many small local charities will not be able to consider employing the appropriate professionals, but many of us could lend them someone, either as a one-off to get things set up on the right footing, or periodically to give advice and monitor progress.
I will be writing soon about the ways the Third Sector could help the rest of us!