Charities Unite: How Social Enterprises Can Work Together

At Better Venues, we’re proud to be part of a nationwide social enterprise. We are committed to the principle of our venues and our work doing good for the communities that support them. Every year, we work with social enterprises and charitable organisations.

Across the country, fledgling charities, voluntary teams and social enterprises contribute services and support to their communities and people in need. However, in a challenging economy with soaring rents and costs, it can be incredibly difficult for such organisations to thrive and prosper to do good.

With over twenty years of experience in the sector, we’ve put together four core considerations for social enterprises looking to affirm their position and expand their provision.

1. Share spaces

The price of office or workshop space continues to skyrocket, particularly in London. There’s a huge amount of square footage dedicated to flexible workspace these days, but the costs are often unsustainable for many smaller organisations. Creative sharing spaces are popping up across our outer and inner cities, catering for freelancers and small organisations in need of decent WiFi and a flexible collaborative space. Track down your local one, or make enquiries about setting something up with the owner of an appropriate space - a scout hall, or a nearby church.

2. Trade volunteers

There are many job-to-job freelancing platforms out there, whether its TaskRabbit or Fiver, that open up a global pool of talent to organisations with even modest budgets. And yes, they’re very convenient, but they still cost. This is where social enterprises and charities commonly depend on their own limited pool of volunteers. With better and more cohesive communication between local organisations, this network can be dramatically expanded. From design to DIY, the skills are out there, and there are cost-effective tools for pooling them.

3. Engage with local business

When you’re driven to provide services and support to your community, some can be suspicious of forming partnerships with local businesses. But doing so is a win-win situation - whether its specialist labour or necessary supplies, forming lasting agreements with companies can keep your own services afloat. Whether they’re a local chain of plumbing suppliers or a startup digital agency, switched-on business will understand the benefits - many take on a level of work pro bono for good PR, in order to improve connections in the broader charity sphere. If you need a website built or an office rewired, just ask - you’ll be surprised by what can be achieved with a positive pro-business outreach programme.

4. Plan and perfect combined events

Once you’ve established supportive cross-community networks to bridge the gaps in your services and support, you can go to the next level - expand, and do even more good! Events are a big part of reaching new people; both those that need your services, and those that can further facilitate them. If you can, work alongside a group of organisations when developing outreach events.  Whether its a public event, or an invite-only meal with targeted influencers and business people, cooperation - and the opportunity to plan strategically on a community-wide basis - will broaden your reach and affect faster and more positive change.

Do you run or volunteer for a local charity or social enterprise? Share your tips for making the most of your community and supporting your work.

Visit the GLL and Better websites

Better is a registered trademark and trading name of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), a charitable social enterprise and registered society under the Co-operative & Community Benefit & Societies Act 2014

GLL operates under a company and VAT group structure:

Greenwich Leisure Limited, IPS Registration Number 27793R and Inland Revenue Charity No XR43398 (parent company); GLL (Trading) Limited, Company Registration Number 04234158 (subsidiary).

Registered address: Middlegate House, The Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6SX.

Inland Revenue Charity no: XR43398 VAT registration no: 219749179

Contact us

© Copyright GLL 2014 – All rights reserved.