Inspiring Finance Professionals to Be A Force For Good

Alastair Paterson our consultant managing the role
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Six months into the partnership between Marks Sattin and Charterpath, we are already seeing the benefits – growing a diverse community of 1,500+ professionals across social media channels and over 300 accountants who have signed the Charterpath pledge - equivalent of 600 days volunteered and creating over £175k value for non-profits. It cannot come quick enough - with the non-profit sector in crisis, the need for volunteers has never been greater.

You don’t need to look too far to see another depressing headline about the state of the world right now. Whether it’s the war in Ukraine, impacts from extreme climate disruption or the cost-of-living crisis.

The good news is that In the non-profit sector there are hundreds of thousands of charities, schools and community groups working hard to try and find solutions to these (and many other) issues and support the millions of people affected by them. But it’s seriously tough out there - the sector was only just starting to recover from the impact of the pandemic and is now being hit hard by the cost of living crisis. More people are turning to charities for support so demand for services is up, yet public donations and grants are falling and inflation is increasing operational costs - an almost impossible balancing act.

Charities are doing what they always do - rolling up their sleeves and doing their best - but they are desperately in need of more people to support them. There are estimated to be over 90,000 trustee vacancies across the UK right now. 
The most recent Community Life Survey by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reinforces the challenge in recruiting volunteers with:
  • Formal volunteering* at least once a month down to 16% in 2021/22 from 27% in 2013/14
  •  Formal volunteering at least once a year down to 27% in 2021/22 from 45% in 2013/14
  • 25-34 age group showed lower participation in formal volunteering at least once a month compared to every other  age group at 10% in 2021/22 (a worrying sign for where this trend could head)
  • The most common barriers for formal volunteering are unsurprisingly related to available time with 49% citing ‘work commitments’ and 31% ‘do other things in their spare time’. Whilst these are genuine obstacles to volunteering - at Charterpath we believe that they can be overcome if accountants and finance professionals are more aware of the benefits for them as volunteers - growing their networks, developing new skills and improving their well-being. 

    Employers too can do more to support their employees in facilitating and promoting volunteering opportunities - for example giving their team members an allowance of time to volunteer - with many studies showing that volunteer programs boost productivity, increase employee engagement, and improve hiring and retention - a true win-win!

    Recent research from the Department for Education confirms that financial skills are the most in-demand skill set among governing boards. Whilst there are over 350,000 accountants in the UK, non-profits struggle to recruit volunteers with financial skills. Unfortunately this is not surprising as it is estimated only 10% of accountants currently volunteer their skills to non-profits each year. 

    At Charterpath we are on a mission to increase this to 50% and have developed three targeted ways to chart a path between accountants and non-profits.

    1. Inspire more accountants to volunteer their skills to non-profits
    2. Connect non-profits more easily with volunteer accountants
    3. Engage with other organisations so volunteering becomes a core part of an accountant’s career

    We are very grateful for the support that the team at Marks Sattin has given Charterpath - providing a much bigger platform to promote our mission and the great news is it’s working, with 100% growth in volunteers since the partnership launch. Pleasingly, these volunteers also represent the diversity which non-profits are seeking with 45% female, 38% non-white and over a third are under 35 years old. We have now promoted opportunities for over 80 non-profits of all sizes ranging from the Together coalition founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, to The Trussell Trust, Scouts and Manchester Deaf Centre.

    Inspired to support our mission? 

    1.  Follow Charterpath on LinkedIn for all the latest news, inspiration, and roles
    2. Check-out our website at www.charterpath.org.uk for case studies, helpful resources, and live          volunteer opportunities
    3. Sign the Charterpath pledge to volunteer your skills for 2 days each year

    Do you lead a Finance team - ask Charterpath to join a team meeting (virtual or in person) and present directly on the benefits of volunteering and how to get involved.

    With your support, we can achieve our ambitious goal of increasing the number of accountants who volunteer their skills to non-profits and bring lasting positive change to communities across the UK.

    12/07/23
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