Making a genuine connection

There has been a shift in recent years with the relationship between charities and organisations.

Sam Mason, Community Fundraiser talks to us about how the perception of volunteering is changing in the mind of companies… 

The relationship between charities and the businesses that support them is changing. The days of fundraiser and leadership team posing behind an oversized cheque aren’t behind us, but more and more we’re seeing organisations want to roll up their sleeves and take a closer look at what a charity does. You can explain Certitude through emails, through a PDF that outlines who we are, where we work and people we support, but increasingly companies want to make a genuine connection; not simply to know, but to understand.

During the past few years we’ve hosted volunteer teams from some of the biggest organisations in the country, including city heavyweights Lloyds and Barclays Bank, British Gas, Prudential and international tech giants. Typically these events fall into one of two camps: the harder, DIY, refurbishment style projects, or the softer, skills based, interactive occasions.

We’ve seen teams creating a computer room at one of our mental health services in Lambeth, providing a space for people to go online, develop IT skills, look for jobs and reconnect with their communities through social media platforms. We’ve had gardens utterly transformed, from overgrown, uninviting wastelands, to enticing suburban oases, somewhere to relax and enjoy a little patch of summer in the city.

We’ve also seen purely interactive occasions, based around making Halloween decorations for an upcoming party, or more skills based initiatives featuring a team of solicitors from a local firm joining our Step Forward programme in Bromley, explaining their jobs, how they go into law, what they like about it and what their daily routine looks like.

We’re developing a long term relationship with a firm of architects that wants to go beyond simply making a financial contribution. Through a series of site visits and meetings with people we support, they’re helping us to redesign the garden of our resource centre in Ealing. They’re consulting, designing, sourcing materials and volunteering their time to install it. Using their skills to transformative effect. Root to branch. What better example of the how this next generation of partnerships can underpin what we do: enhancing the quality of our work in partnership with people we support.

We’re excited and heartened to see a shift from the arms-length approach. For Certitude, these volunteer events build deeper bonds with our supporters, bringing an understanding of our work, of people we support and ultimately fostering a more understanding and inclusive community. Now, more than ever, that’s exactly what we need.

Sam Mason

Sam Mason

Community Fundraiser

Sam works with local groups and organisations, building relationships within our local communities to support key projects across Certitude.