INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - There are more ways than you may think to engage with business

DEBORAH HAMILTON LEWIN

Heart of the City, the reference point for corporate social responsibility and community activities, has this week launched its latest publication Engaging with Business, a Good Practice Guide for Community Organisations.

Developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it provides charities and community groups with a useful hands-on guide, full of practical advice and case studies from community projects working in partnership with City firms.

Heart of the City aims to increase the involvement of businesses in the community, but its influence is much wider. We work with companies in or around the City, but the recipients of their support can be anywhere in the world.

The biggest hurdle facing any charity is how to make that initial approach.

It is important when contacting a company to be as targeted and relevant as possible. Rather than glossy brochures and expensive marketing materials, more and more businesses are looking for a link with their existing community programme objectives.

Many businesses are actively seeking community organisations to partner with, but charities need to think about what they can offer a company. Partners often want to involve their employees, so you must look at how you can offer opportunities along these lines.

Companies can provide many benefits often never considered: venues and workspace; expertise in IT; marketing; business mentoring; foreign language skills. The list is endless. Our guide, we hope, will encourage community organisations to start thinking of new ways to engage business with their work.

Engaging with Business is downloadable from www.theheartofthecity.com or in hard copy from Heart of the City on 020 7332 3643.

Deborah Hamilton Lewin, director, Heart of the City

The Institute welcomes Viewpoint articles from its members. Please email (Membership@institute-of-fundraising.org.uk).

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