Don’t doubt for one moment the immediate difference your time and expertise can make to a non-profit.
I wonder if I am alone in facing Christmas with a bit of trepidation… the excitement about being reunited with our families for a more ‘normal’ festive season post pandemic, has had the edge taken off by a heavy year with ongoing war in Ukraine, the cost of living crisis, concerns about the environment looming larger than ever and now mounting strikes. It can be hard to celebrate this joyful time when you think about all those who won’t be with their families and friends this Christmas and might be struggling just to stay warm or have enough food to eat.
However, the one thing that reassures me is to know how many people out there are working so hard to change this and make a difference. To support people facing hardship and trauma. To champion peace. To tackle the climate crisis. Forget about the politicians who are well intentioned but having to deal with the enormity of the challenges we face as a society (and trying to balance the books) - I’m talking about the real super heroes - the charities who are working to improve the lives of everyday people. Supporting individuals in need, their local communities and causes close to their heart. There are thousands of remarkable non-profits up and down the country doing just that, day in day out.
Nearly one million people in the UK, 3% of the total workforce, have devoted their lives to helping others, working for charities and non-profits. Often sacrificing their own financial gain to work for a cause they care about. We might not all want or be able to do this, but we can certainly help them.
The non-profit sector is up against it like never before, their reserves were wiped out during the pandemic, team members are exhausted, future funding is drying up fast as government, corporates and donors are counting their pennies for the economic crunch ahead - yet demand for their charitable services are increasing exponentially. More and more people rely on non-profits organisations such as food banks and advice centres to survive. A recent report by Charity Excellence showed charity resilience to be lower than during the pandemic and the risk of charity insolvencies ever increasing. The crisis is expected to be at its worst in Q1 2023… Read more here
Source: Charity Excellence Framework (link)
So on a practical level what can we do to help? One option of course is to give - donations of money or food or an extra Christmas present for a family in need. Another one is to give your TIME and SKILLS! It often doesn’t feel like the right time to take on a volunteering role - there is always a work deadline and ambition we want to meet first, a change in personal circumstances we’re waiting for - “I’ll get involved when the children are older” - or you simply haven’t quite found the right volunteer role for you. But the truth is - the right time never seems to come as there is always another priority. Unsurprising that most volunteers are retired!
However, don’t doubt for one moment the immediate difference your time and expertise can make to a non-profit. The number one skill that charities are currently in need of is support with their finances - from cash flow and contingency planning, weighing up strategic decisions, preparing fundraising bids and assessing their own performance. As an accountant (whether a trainee or qualified) you can bring so much beyond the book-keeping and reporting requirements.
So spare a thought this festive season and see if you can find a non-profit and a volunteering role that suits you. Maybe just a few hours a month or even one day a year. The benefits flow both ways - according to the Value of Volunteering report last year, 80% of volunteers report improved communication, influencing & relationship skills and More than a third said volunteering had helped them apply for different or more senior roles. On a personal level, I can assure you your life will be enriched by it. If you can’t see a role for you on our Featured Opportunities page then look at our resources page which has a whole host of other sites for finding opportunities. Or contact a charity you care about directly to offer your support.
Already volunteer? Persuade others in your network to get involved by talking about the value it brings to you.
And if now really isn’t the right time then don’t worry…. But remember, there's no time like the present and no present like the time!
If the idea of volunteering your skills with a non-profit has caught your imagination - follow these 3 simple steps:
Follow Charterpath on LinkedIn for all the latest news, inspiration and roles
Have a look around our website at www.charterpath.org.uk for case studies, helpful resources and live volunteer opportunities
Sign the Charterpath pledge to show your support for our mission and volunteer your skills for at least 2 days each year
Alice Clementi and Alex Marsh co-founded Charterpath as a community interest company in 2020, with a mission to increase the proportion of accountants volunteering from 10% to 50% - inspiring more accountants to volunteer their time and expertise, connecting them with non-profit opportunities, and engaging with a wide range of organisations so volunteering is a core part of an accountant’s career. For more information, visit www.charterpath.org.uk.