Community and Contributions (Issue 99)

May 29, 2008

News and analysis on community investment activities. Perhaps the most important news item in this section relates to the announcement by the UK Government that it it funding new research into measuring Social Return on Investment (SROI).

The real power of community investment

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is an extremely powerful evaluation method that is often overlooked in the search to measure the impact of community investment activities.

All the news items appearing in this section reinforce the real power, diversity and potential of community investment. They include examples of businesses working with international government organisations and national charities. They show how to get employees and customers involved in corporate activities. And they demonstrate that effective community partnerships can work in any area and be supported by a wide range of resources. While these examples of corporate activity should provide practitioners with ideas and inspiration, perhaps the most important item relates to the announcement by the UK Government that it is funding new research into measuring Social Return on Investment (SROI). This is an extremely powerful evaluation method that is often overlooked in the search to measure the impact of community investment activities. In this edition’s Guest Editorial, Jon Lloyd argues the importance of measuring impact as a key driver in securing support for community investment. The SROI approach provides a robust method of demonstrating the financial value of social gains that flow from a well-managed programme. Leading funders such as the Vodafone UK Foundation are exploring how to use this approach to assess the impact of the partnerships it is involved in. Community affairs practitioners would be well advised to monitor developments in this area and explore the potential of SROI in measuring impact.

Related news


BT and UNICEF have joined together on a programme aimed at supporting and training Brazilian adolescents to use a range of communication tools. The objective is to improve the quality of education in their schools and communities – and to teach teenagers to make better life choices. The youth participation programme focuses on low-income communities, and will train young people to use the Internet, radio, blogs, photography and video to publicise school-improvement campaigns – and to help shape public policies on health services, the environment, digital inclusion and other issues important to their communities. 10,000 adolescents at schools in five of Brazil’s largest cities will benefit from the partnership. BT is providing £500,000 in funding to the initiative. Schooling is a big challenge in Brazil where only 4 out of every 10 children who start primary school actually complete secondary education. By equipping these young people with communication and technology skills, BT and UNICEF also hope to improve their future job prospects.

Contact UNICEF 0870 606 3377


Retailer Argos has donated 20,000 items to In Kind Direct. Donations include items as diverse as coffee tables and mp3 players. The donation, which was announced on 17th April, is one of the largest received by the charity, which was set up in 1996 by the Prince of Wales in order to distribute companies’ surplus goods to charities, helping to avoid unnecessary waste. It is the only organisation coordinating in kind giving on a national scale. Since the charity started, £65 million worth of goods has been donated by over 700 companies to more than 4,500 charities. These represent every kind of cause, including under-privileged children, sickness and disability, family welfare, homelessness, emergency relief, community support and job skills training. The catalogue is online, enabling people to place orders at any time.

Contact Argos 0845 120 4365
In Kind Direct 020 7714 3922


Sportswear company Nike is planning the world’s biggest running event with runners across the globe being given a chance to take part in the 10km race. Nike+ Human Race will span continents and cover 25 cities, with the first race kicking off in Taipei and the final race taking place in LA. After each race competitors will be rewarded with an exclusive music concert. Each race will start on the same day, and race courses are expected to take runners past famous landmarks, with the course in Istanbul spanning the city’s Bosphorous Bridge and giving participants the chance to literally run from Europe to Asia. Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Craig Mottram and Yuna Kim will take part in pre-race and race day activities in different cities around the world.
Registration for Nike+ Human Race opens on June 2nd and runners can join by visiting to “Save A Spot” in their chosen city.

Contact Nike 0207 949 0456


IBM is sending one hundred of its high potential employees to several emerging markets to develop their leadership skills while helping to address socio-economic challenges. Romania, Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Ghana and Tanzania have all been selected as counties where the employees will use their existing skills on projects that intersect economic development and information technology. The program, known as the Corporate Services Corps, is part of IBM’s Global Citizen’s Portfolio, a series of investments and programs to help IBM employees enhance their skills and expertise in order to become global leaders, professionals and empowered citizens. In order to identify the right projects and local organisations where IBM’s employees might have the most impact, IBM has partnered with Citizens Development Corps based in WashingtonD.C., Digital Opportunity Trust based in Canada and Australian Business Volunteers. More than 5,000 IBM employees applied for the program. Before the year ends IBM intends to send out a further 100 employees, and is committed to enabling 600 employees to participate over the next three years.

Contact IBM general enquiries 001 800 IBM 4YOU


US supermarket Safeway kicked off a month long campaign of awareness and fund raising in April to help people living with disabilities. Held in partnership with Special Olympics and the Easter Seals, a US charity for people with disabilities and special needs, the aim is to raise millions of dollars to fund regional rehabilitation services and autism programs, provide job training grants, and adopt athletes so they can take part in Special Olympics games across the country. Every year, during April and August, Safeway raises funds at more than 1,700 stores in the US and Canada. To date Safeway has reached millions of customers and raised nearly $100 million to support organizations such as Easter Seals, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Augie’s Quest and Special Olympics. Safeway also employs more than 10,000 people living with special needs.

Contact Safeway press: 001 925 467 3000
Easter Seals: 001 312 726 6200
Special Olympics: 001 202 628 3630


The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services has submitted a proposal to the Department for Children, Schools and Families, asking them to consider supporting the development of a Volunteer Youth Workers Accreditation Scheme. The NCVYS believes the scheme could be an integral component of the youth workforce reform plans, requiring each volunteer to submit a portfolio demonstrating that they had achieved a required level of training and practical work experience. Volunteers would then be awarded a certificate, warrant or card that identified him or her as a recognised volunteer youth worker. The proposal has been made in response to the DCSF’s plans to regulate and licence the youth workforce. The NCVYS opposes the plan because it argues it would discourage volunteers and believes that their scheme would offer the Department a different approach to licensing. Instead of restricting what a volunteer can or cannot do, accreditation would reward achievement and incentivise volunteers to take up training and professional development opportunities. The scheme is hoped to deliver better results, driving up outcomes for children and young people.

Contact National Council for Voluntary Youth Services
020 7278 1041


We Are What We Do, the organisation behind the book, Change the World for a Fiver, has joined forces with national volunteering charity, TimeBank, on a programme which aims to empower young volunteers. Two hundred volunteers aged 16 to 25, from London and the North West, will, this summer, give talks at primary schools and community groups. The presentations are planned to spread the message that small actions in large numbers produce big changes. The hope is to connect young audiences with some of the biggest issues facing the world today, such as climate change, racial divide and social injustice. The programme is based on We Are What We Do’s findings that one of the most effective ways of engaging people in the need for change is simply to talk to them and share inspirational stories. The principles of the scheme are to hand power over to young people and to equip them with the skills required to engage with others. The Young Speakers programme is funded by the Aldridge Foundation with match funding from v, the youth volunteering charity. There are plans to extend the initiative to other areas of the country in 2009.

Contact Timebank 0845 456 1668
We Are What We Do 0207 396 7463


Seven campaigning eco-activists have been awarded the top Goldman Environmental Prize for their work fighting government and corporate interests to bring about better conditions for people in their communities. The recipients include two Ecuadorians waging a legal battle against petroleum giant Chevron, a Mozambican pop star working to bring clean water and sanitation systems to rural populations, and a Puerto Rican grandmother fighting to save a marshland. Other recipients include a Mexican, a Belgian and a Russian. The Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded every year to grassroots environmentalists in each of the world’s inhabited continental regions. In 2008 the award will be worth $150,000 and it is the largest of its kind.

Contact The Goldman Environmental Prize
001 415 345 6330


Charity2Charity, a company which provides the third sector with an internet auction platform that gives charities the ability to broadcast sales in real time, has joined forces with Help the Aged. The site means donations and purchases can be collected and made 24 hours a day, everyday of the week. When corporate sponsors and individuals make valuable donations, these can be auctioned by the charity at any time, rather than having to wait for a specified fundraising event. By working with auctioneers, software developers, consultants, and industry leaders Charity2Charity aims to provide an efficient and user-friendly service.

Contact Charity2Charity 0845 224 2215
Help the Aged press office 0207 239 1942


Bringing together investors, the public sector and social enterprises, the Government has announced it will carry out a new programme in order to standardise and improve how social return on investment (SROI) is measured. The programme will enable investors to assess the social return, in financial terms, on their investments, thereby facilitating comparison between the social impacts of various investment opportunities. The announcement was made by Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector on Tuesday 6th May. He said the move would benefit social enterprises and other third sector organisations by clearly demonstrating their contributions to public services and potential investors which, in turn, would attract more funding. The Office of the Third Sector in the Cabinet Office, in partnership with NESTA, is presenting Good Deals, the first national social investment conference, sponsored by the RBS Group and organised by Social Enterprise magazine.

Contact Cabinet Office Press Office
0207 276 0317
22 WhitehallLONDON SW1A 2WH


A pioneering organisation that takes unwanted office furniture and recycles it has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Green-Works is a social enterprise and environmental charity who provide a national service on an industrial scale. Collecting redundant office furniture, Green- Works either remakes the furniture to sell on its website or sells it on to other not-forprofit organisations, charities and social enterprises at special rates. Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, EDF Energy and BT are some of the top UK firms who use Green-Works rather than send old office furniture to landfill sites. Green- Works has helped provide more than 80 jobs for marginalised people and has donated furniture to some of the poorest places across the world.

Contact Green-Works 0845 230 2231