No I do not want my office painted – but give me some cash!

Some thoughts on the CCVS annual conference 2014

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All too often the relationship between the business sector and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) is a series of unproductive and transient communications. The VCS view all businesses as being incredibly wealthy and therefore they have a duty to fund our work, and business all too often sees the sector as a source of ‘team building’ or feel good factor opportunities – when groups of unqualified people come and paint/build/clear something. We want to move beyond this and the recent CCVS annual conference ‘Working with Business’ was the start of a long road to developing real partnerships and relationships.

Firstly do not get me wrong, for some organisations groups of willing bodies descending to complete a task can be useful, and to be fair if there are any painting and decorating or office fit out firms out there who want a team building day then our offices could do with your help – but the bottom line is if I want the office decorated I want a decorator. I am also saying that businesses who want to give money, but nothing else, would never be turned away; again CCVS has an almost infinite capacity to use your unrestricted donations so send me your cheques! I do however believe that both sectors can get a great deal more from working together and we need to encourage, enable, and nurture this.

Our conference produced a few notes from the breakout sessions, but these were very much set up to be networking opportunities for those there rather than about feeding back information that would never be used. We also have some great slides from some of the presenters and these include many tips and ideas. Check out both on the website.

I took a lot of positives from the conference, but the bottom line is that there is a gulf of understanding and often language between the sectors. Despite this I was struck by the desire to close this, to learn more about how to work together and what is going on and the opportunities for building real relationships. To this end we at CCVS will commit to a number of actions.

  • We will develop training for the VCS about how to make your pitch and how to approach your contacts
  • We will work with partners including Business in the Community to find ways to bring the sectors together to facilitate that contact
  • We will find ways to promote the diversity, ingenuity and sheer wonderfulness of the VCS to local businesses so that they can see the depth and variety of organisations that they can work with.

Finally, we will look out for any decorators who want to do team building so that we can utilise their professional skills and expertise, as well as their enthusiasm and desire, to support the many causes that exist out there – most notably the cause of giving my office a good makeover!

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