We want to re-imagine the relationship between business and charities. We want to go beyond traditional approaches to Corporate Social Responsibility. We want to see businesses investing in charities to develop reciprocal relationships with each other and support the wellbeing of their employees. Research tell us there are Five Ways to Wellbeing. Three of these are Give, Connect and Keep Learning.
In Community Circles we are looking to connect with 100 Businesses who want to support their employees improve their wellbeing through giving, connecting and keeping learning. Alongside this, we want to see how contributions made to the charity can be reciprocated by boosting the profile of the business in different ways. We are curious about how we can learn from the ways that some major fashion brands are now using Instagram Influencers. What could this mean for businesses and charities?
What could this look like in practice? Employees time
One way a business can get involved is by supporting the Two hour club. What is possible with 2 hours a month? We are creating a range of role descriptions, like mini job descriptions. These can help employees decide whether the role helps them to do the things that matter to them and their values, matches to their skills or is an opportunity to learn something new.
An example of this is Elaine form the Salvation Army, she provides a venue for our Knit & Natter group. The Knit & Natter group is promoted on Facebook, and other social media platforms, and always mentions The Salvation Army venue in the posts. This way, The Salvation Army gets mentioned two or three times a week. This is helping to raise their profile locally and encourage more people to use the venue.
Another way that businesses can get involved, is by supporting a Small Spark! A Small Sparks is a small fund of £250 which supports a great idea in a local community. An example of this in action is Kevin and the team at Wigan Timber. When they heard about Becky’s Little Library Small Sparks project to build a Free Little Library for sharing books and bringing people together around their love of reading, they were keen to help. Kevin listened to all of Becky’s ideas, and used his 3D design skills to create an easy to follow 3D guide for becky to use when building her Little Library. He also provided the materials she would need to complete the project, at a much lower cost, and threw in some nails and glue for free!
The little library is now standing tall in the local flower garden, with a story of how it was built, and Wigan Timber’s generosity stuck inside for everyone to see. This helps raise the profile of the business’s, as everyone who uses the Little Library hears Kevin’s story. We also tag them in all the social media posts related to the Little Library, providing regular publicity for the company.
Here are some other ideas for how businesses can get involved.
Ali works in marketing in a manufacturing company. He is helping Community Circles with their social media strategy. He says it gives him a buzz to see the boost to their profile on social media, and he has learned more about the differences in promoting a charity compared to marketing for sales. Community Circles are delighted with their support from Ali and have offered an Action for Happiness course to Ali and his colleagues to further support peoples wellbeing.
A local craft shop supports the weekly ‘Knit & Natter’ group that meets in the community centre by donating the wool for the group. The Knit & Natter group is promoted on Facebook, and other social media, and always mentions the Craft Shop in posts. This way, the craft shop gets mentioned two or three times a week. The owner, Sue, says she is really grateful because she never gets round to using any social media for the business, and this is helping to raise her profile locally. The Knit & Natter group are delighted with the donation of wool which is supporting them to knit blankets for the local hospital.
One of the ways that Community Circles connects people through shared interests is through Circles Connected. This is an on-line opportunity for people to join short sessions that interest them throughout the week. A lifeline for people who find it hard to get out and meet people in person.
Tracy works for an IT company. In her spare time she loves to bake, especially cookies. The role she took was to do a live video session sharing her favourite recipes and tips for cookies baking basics on Circles Connected. She said it was a stretch for her learning to video herself but loved seeing the photos that people posted of their cookies. She says it has boosted her confidence in doing presentations at work and supported her wellbeing by sharing her love of baking with others. Community Circles has shared the appreciation of the company on their social media and has contributed feedback to their annual report about their community contributions.
Community Circles is working with local and national businesses to see how we can work together for employee wellbeing, and to help promote each other.
If you are interested our work in Ashton, please get in touch.