A Dundee law firm is urging other businesses to commit to staff volunteering, claiming it adds value to employees’ lives.
In 2020, Thorntons signed up to Social Good Connect, looking to help staff feel connected during the challenges of lockdown.
Launched by chief executive Caroline McKenna during the first lockdown, the social enterprise makes employee volunteering simple.
Social Good Connect connects employees with their perfect opportunities through digital search and match technology.
Thorntons legal director in the firm’s St Andrews office, Sue Arrowsmith Rodger, has now been volunteering with Dundee-based Tayside Cancer Support (TCS) for around 18 months.
‘I know it makes a huge difference’
She has joined the charity’s team of befrienders.
Her role involves providing a fortnightly phone-based service for the charity’s clients, many of whom are living with cancer.
Volunteering doesn’t have to be face-to-face, with a variety of virtual volunteering roles, not only can you fit it around your schedule, there’s the added benefit that you can choose to volunteer with a charity in any location.
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— Social Good Connect (@sgconnect1) January 8, 2022
Sue said: “Although the part I play at TCS may feel relatively small and I can volunteer in small chunks of time, I know it makes a huge difference to the people I’m helping.
“The people we support are on an emotional rollercoaster, with diagnoses and treatment options for cancer changing all the time, and it’s a lot to process and cope with.
“I supported one client for a year whose family member had cancer, and now I am supporting someone new, who has a diagnosis of cancer herself and has just started her treatment.
“Often people just need a place to offload and vent in confidence about the challenges they’re facing.
“They don’t want to burden their own families with their deepest fears or concerns and I can feel that they’re keeping their emotions locked up.”
Businesses can make significant impact
Ms McKenna believes businesses can make a significant difference to charities.
She said charities are often “crying out for expertise” and Social Good Connect aims to provide that, while also helping volunteers.
She said: “Many of us are unaware of how useful our professional and personal skills really are.
“Giving back can be as simple as spending 30 minutes or an hour sharing skills we already have.
“Too many charities are crying out for expertise, in-depth knowledge and specialist skills.
“When skilled professionals give their time and expertise to causes they care about, they feel good about themselves.
“They return to the workplace with a new energy, perspective and new connections, boosting staff motivation, retention and even recruitment.”
Volunteering to become a way of life
Thorntons partner Craig Nicol believes volunteering should become a way of life and part of the company culture going forwards.
Mr Nicol said Social Good Connect was “ready-made” for the law firm.
He added: “Volunteering with the support of your company adds value to your job and your personal life.
“What makes this platform different is that it matches employees with causes that really matter to them and helps them find specific opportunities to volunteer in that area.
“Joining the platform has channelled our community spirit – for staff and the wider community – in a more organised way.”