A few weeks ago a random email landed offering TimeBank the opportunity to be a beneficiary of corporate volunteering.
Now as regular readers of our blog will know, Employee Volunteering is one of our core areas of work, particularly skills based volunteering which helps community partners to move forward in a way they simply have neither the time nor sometimes the knowledge to do. But this put the boot on the other foot – we were to be the beneficiaries.
I can think of nothing better than embedding a belief in the power (and fun) of volunteering for both the individual and the company from the very moment an employee walks through the door. So, all credit to firms which immerse their future leaders into the charity sector from day one. We were well briefed and had to provide our graduate banking team with a social media challenge, support them to do it, evaluate them and attend the end of project presentation. There was also an added element, which the natural competitor in me latched onto: there was to be a winning team out of the 16 groups of graduates matched with a charity. So for me there could only be one winner from the moment we embarked on the project – TimeBank doesn’t ‘do’ losing!
And so one Friday morning a couple of weeks ago our graduate team arrived – very smart, very enthusiastic, extraordinarily polite, business-like and ready to take on the world (remember how that felt?). I worried what they’d think of our slightly shabby building where the lift comically takes you to whichever floor it feels like rather than the one you have pressed. Fortunately we had two things to win them over – chocolate biscuits and a fantastic brand new initiative we wanted them to work up a social media campaign for: Christmas Party Volunteering. They loved it, they got it, they instantly had lots of ideas and they were as competitive as me!
The thing about this scheme is that they have to fit it in around their intensive graduate training programme working in lunch hours, evenings, weekends – just like people who volunteer normally. We agreed a process of communication via email and they came back to us that evening with their first thoughts and various things they needed from us. On Tuesday I headed off to Canary Wharf at lunchtime to film a video with them for their twitter campaign and we’ve been filming our staff team too. Over the next few days they put the film, the plan and their ideas all together for the start of the campaign today. So watch this space I’ll tell you how it goes……