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CSV Launches £700,000 Government-Backed Professional Volunteers Drive

CSV has announced a new volunteering drive to get 9,000 professionals and recent retirees involved with more than 400 community groups over the next twelve months.
The scheme, called the Professionals programme, has been backed by a £705,603 grant from the Cabinet Office’s Social Action Fund.

The National Grid is the first major company to pledge to support the programme and aims to have 1 in 5 of its 10,000 UK employees involved in community activities by the end of next year.
To coincide with the launch of the Professional programme later today, CSV has conducted a survey on the professional skills gaps amongst 50 local and national charities involved in community activity.

It found that 47 per cent have a need for skilled volunteers, in particular business skills, including fundraising, marketing, accountancy and finance and IT and web design.

Lucy de Groot, chief executive at CSV, said: “Our findings reinforce what we are hearing back from charities. It is clear that in the period of austerity we are all going through charities need more volunteers with commercial skills. They also need to make better use of the professional skills of existing volunteers to ensure their organisation is more business-like to achieve greater charitable impact.”

Mike Westcott, global HR Director at National Grid, added: “We are delighted to be partnering CSV in the launch of the Professionals programme and expect a significant number of our staff to bring their wide range of skills to bear positively on the voluntary sector.”

Based on its research findings, CSV recommends the following actions and approaches to increase the number of professional volunteers that give their time to charities –

• Easy matching: Partner organisations and volunteers need an easy and
straight forward matching process to encourage involvement.

• Diversity counts: Partner organisations value CSV’s access to volunteers with
different backgrounds and skills.

• Active retirement: Businesses need to raise more awareness of volunteering
opportunities in staff who are about to retire and look at including active
retirement in their CSR strategy.

• Visibility: Small local organisations and groups need to increase their visibility
and communication strategy amongst potential professional volunteers who
are not aware of their services.

• Flexible volunteering: More flexible volunteering opportunities need to be
available to suit professional lifestyles.

• Impact: Charities need to make better use of the professional skills of existing
volunteers to ensure their organisations

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