Venues are 'most valued benefits'

Anita Pati

A venue for an event is the most valued asset companies can offer to community groups, and is even better than cash, according to new research.

Heart of the City, which advises City firms on CSR policy and is funded by the City of London Corporation, commissioned a survey from consultancy Smart Company of 100 not-for-profit groups from ten London boroughs.

Almost half (48 per cent) cited a venue as the most valued asset, followed by training (40 per cent), professional expertise, promotional links and gifts in kind, all at 26 per cent. Only one in five organisations valued cash support most highly.

The research also found that, despite 2005 being Year of the Volunteer, more than half (51 per cent) of groups said employee volunteering had stagnated over the past year. Forty per cent said they found it difficult to recruit corporate volunteers for important projects.

Kay Harper, corporate partnerships manager at east London-based Community Links, said she had noticed an increase in demand for company office space across the sector. "Companies and community organisations are working more creatively," she said. "It's come a long way since the days when companies would simply write a cheque - they are looking to use all their resources now."

The survey also found that accountants and lawyers were the most supportive professions and that marketing and communications were the skills most sought after by not-for-profits, at 20 per cent.

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