"Business In The Community" In Australia?
17 April 2003 at 1:04 pm
A seminar in Melbourne this month revealed a growing interest in setting up a Business in the Community (BITC) based on the UK model here in Australia.
Called Employee Volunteering: an International Perspective, the seminar’s guest speaker was David Halley, the Director of European Development for Business in the Community (UK) .
AMP provided the location (through their AMP Foundation partnership), and Positive Outcomes brought David Halley over from the UK.
There was much discussion about the role of BITC bringing together the thinking and initiatives currently in Australia.
Halley covered the building of partnerships between NFPs and corporates in the UK and Europe, and how BITC assists the facilitation of these partnerships so the expense for NFPs is limited. Effectively BITC is a partnership ‘broker’.
BITC educates NFPs about everything from ‘what is a corporate’ and beyond, and finds out what is required by NFP’s (e.g. dollars,education/training, mentors). BITC also liases with the corporates to emphasise the benefits of partnerships and the opportunities for their business (e.g. branding, social responsibility, team building).
Halley said that corporates are very keen to harness the strength of NFPs, which are operating on a shoestring budget and managing people, and that the NFP needs to play to these strengths in their appeal for partnerships.
Halley emphasised that the NFP needed to keep up their end of the partnership and develop the partnership (possibly by having a dedicated staff member in charge of partnerships). Even though no money from the NFP is required, it takes time and commitment to develop partnerships with corporates. Partnerships need to satisfy the corporates, their employees and the NFPs.
Here’s how BITC companies get involved with NFPs:
– gifts in kind / recycled resources
– use of premises
– access to products / markets
– Cause Related Marketing
– access to training (spare seats in corporate training days)
– professional advice
– free publicity or space
– support to fundraising
Benefits to NFPs:
– reducing costs (not just increasing revenue or fundraising amount)
– building capacity of staff
– acquiring office or other equipment
– improving service to clients
– publicity for mission
– research projects
– access to professional skills
– additional free resources
BITC also encourages a ‘time-bank’ concept for corporate employees – the company nominates a bulk number of volunteer hours available for NFPs and employees put their hands up for various amounts of time they can offer.
Business in the Community is a unique movement in the UK of 700 member companies. Its purpose is to inspire, challenge, engage and support business in continually improving its positive impact on society. Its member companies employ over 15.7 million people in over 200 countries. In the UK its members employ over 1 in 5 of the private sector workforce.
BITC’s work is 60% funded by the corporates who pay a membership fee. The remaining 40% of funding comes from government sources and some philanthropic trusts.
You can find out more about BITC at www.bitc.org.uk
Thanks to Pro Bono Australia team member Karen Burr for her input into this story.
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