Simplified access to free support for small charities

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A new initiative to make it easier for small charities to access free professional support is being launched.

A new initiative to make it easier for small charities to access free professional support is being launched on Friday 23 June, during Small Charity Week by 19 organisations offering skilled volunteering, all members of the UK Pro Bono Association.  

Seven out of ten small and medium-sized charities say that they are actively looking for pro bono professional skills to support what they do – but only four out of ten find it. The new initiative will close this gap, with the charities offering pro bono and free support and services running a mutual signposting and referral service between themselves to ensure that charities find their way to the most appropriate help that they need. 

The members of the UK Pro Bono Association, founded by Cranfield Trust, Pilotlight and Reach Volunteering, are making a pledge that: “when charities or social enterprises come to any of us needing pro bono support that we are not able to give or that others could give better, we take steps to guide them to the support that they need.” 

Amanda Tincknell CBE, Cranfield Trust CEO, said, “this initiative will provide a much clearer and more accessible pathway for small charities who want and need vital support but don’t currently know what is available and how to find it. Members of the UK Pro Bono Association bring together thousands of volunteers to share their skills and knowledge free of charge, working alongside charity leaders. This initiative will help them find the right support.”
Research by Pilotlight suggests that together, pro bono providers have engaged professionals to support 8,300 charities and social enterprises over the last year. For many, a shift prompted by the pandemic has been from in-person volunteering to the opportunities of virtual volunteering. 

“There is a wide array of support open to small charities, if they can find their way to it. This new initiative should help, because if charities are in touch with any one provider, they have a supported pathway to others. It will be like having a guide by your side, wherever you are in the forest.” says Ed Mayo, CEO of Pilotlight.

The system of signposting and referral is for use by members of the Pro Bono Association. The members signing the pledge are: 

  • Charity Excellence Framework 
  • Charterpath 
  • Cranfield Trust 
  • DataKind UK 
  • Digital Candle 
  • Ella Forums 
  • Ethical Angel 
  • ICAEW 
  • Inspiring Scotland 
  • LandAid 
  • LawWorks 
  • MarketingKind
  • Media Trust 
  • Pilotlight 
  • Pro Bono Economics 
  • Reach Volunteering 
  • Scottish Tech Army 
  • The OR Society 
  • Whitehall Industry Group 

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