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Guardian Volunteering Week: sharing skills and collaboration Building business collaboration through sharing skills with your community
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Guardian’s successful community partnerships are those where our volunteers share their professional skills with our partners and develop their own capabilities. Through Volunteering Week we have developed projects that break down barriers and align both business and community needs through collaboration, illustrating how both businesses and community groups benefit from volunteering.
Volunteering Week provides an annual opportunity to deliver projects that offer a diverse set of skills to our community partners. Volunteering Week 2012 ran from 17-21 September. Throughout the event, 270 GNM staff volunteered. Working with 12 community partners across our UK locations to deliver 16 projects.
More than 90% of community partners strongly believed their organisation benefited from the particular business skills that GNM volunteers were able to share. 95% strongly believed that GNM volunteers were committed and enthusiastic .
It means that now our building can offer long-term support to young people in the local community.
Over 80% of staff said they had increased their sense of well-being and pride in working for GNM.
The week really opened people’s eyes to what was possible when you collaborate across the business and share your skills with your local community.
Projects were tailored to specific needs of community partners, managed by dedicated Project and Media Managers. Project Sponsors, typically an ExCo Director, secured board participation ensuring buy-in across all levels of the organisation.
We used our media strengths to ensure that our internal and external communications were engaging and raising awareness of our work and our partners. This proved key to the energy and success of the projects.
We engaged artists to illustrate project progress live in our communal areas producing 2m high illustration each day. We also produced a video and our websites ran editorial coverage of the events.[/one_half_last]
The majority of volunteers found 2012 an excellent networking and learning opportunity. However, some staff stated that our primary focus for the week digital transformation was not relevant to their project. This was due to the diversity of projects and the complexity of combining skill goals with volunteering and the often voiced desire to do something completely different from their daily job.
In response, we chose a broader theme for 2013: collaboration. Projects will be as diverse as 2012, developed in-line with community partners needs, our business priorities and the skills we can offer.
Openly collaborating within your business and community can set you apart from other employers. We were overwhelmed by the positive responses. A young worker from Live Magazine, said: “Nothing would have ever prepared me for what was one of the best days of my life, on a professional and personal level”. One volunteer reflected the general mood: “I came away from the day feeling uplifted and in high spirits. This feeling continued into the day after! Engaging with colleagues and the community is a great motivational tool and it feels good to give something back to the community.”[/one_half_last]
Environment and Sustainability Manager
Guardian News and Media
Christoper is responsible for developing and implementing the Living our Values 2015 sustainability strategy across the business. In addition, he has responsibility for internal staff engagement, digital media carbon footprinting, sustainable procurement, public reporting (www.guardian.co.uk/sustainability) and data analysis on sustainability performance. Christopher has previously worked as the Environmental Manager for AEA group and Sustainability Coordinator at the Department for Transport. He was also the Head of the Envirowise Retail and Commerce Team helping business to improve their environmental sustainability including M&S, Boots, Gap, Virgin Group and Land Securities.