social action and
How can charities engage with individuals,
and businesses, most effectively
This presentation covers the second theme of NCVO’s 2015 Project:
volunteering and social action.
It explores three topics – volunteering, campaigning and corporate
The 2015 Project aims to stimulate discussion about what role
charities can, and should, have in a number of areas.
The feedback we receive will form the basis of NCVO’s work ahead
of the 2015 election.
Levels of volunteering have been fairly stable throughout the last
Formal volunteering is probably the most familiar definition of
volunteering – through groups and organisations – although more
informal forms should also be recognised.
Source: Community Life Survey
We couldn’t discuss volunteering without mentioning the huge
successes of the 2012 Games Makers – and the reported increase in
volunteering levels immediately following the Games.
The Games Makers brought volunteering into the spotlight like never
before, and allowed volunteering to be talked about regularly in the
media, the public consciousness and politics.
There seems to be a movement towards more episodic, short-term
grassroots social action, and social media has strengthened this trend.
Campaigns are increasingly being established and led by individuals, as
well as more traditional campaigning charities and organisations.
New trends in social action
Source: The Telegraph
Case Study: The No More Page 3 campaign, which has used a Facebook page and a
Change.org petition to raise support, and has over 100,000 signatures.
Membership of political parties may be in decline, but the expression of
political opinion is happening through other routes, including through
social movements and one-off actions (eg online petitions).
Changes in participation
Source: NCVO Participation Almanac
The coalition government’s
localism agenda has devolved
power to local structures, bringing
about a greater need for
campaigning groups to target local
This could potentially help charities
have more beneficiary involvement
in their campaigns.
Localism & beneficiary
Source: Cambridgeshire County Council
However, some business brands
are increasingly taking on
campaigning roles – and there
is discussion over whether this
has begun to create blurred
lines between campaigning
charities and campaigning
Source: NCVO Campaigning Effectiveness
Charities are often the best placed organisations to understand the
issues affecting vulnerable groups – and they therefore make effective
An example of this is Dove and their Real Beauty campaign, which looks
to “create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety”.
The company has created a range of advertising and teaching
resources to promote a healthy approach to body images.
Although on a far broader scale than just engaging with charities, the
business world has worked on embracing corporate social responsibility
(CSR) over the last two decades.
How CSR is evolving
Source: BBC News
Both consumers and employees are expecting more from businesses
too – ethically, environmentally and socially.
A spotlight on corporate social responsibility may have triggered a
trend towards more meaningful relationships between businesses and
– whether through employer supported volunteering, or partnerships
to deliver similar concepts or goals.
How are businesses going about this?
• Using employee skills more thoughtfully when volunteering
• Involving social responsibility, including community
engagement, more fully into corporate strategy
• The triple bottom line – profit, people, planet
How should charities look to capture the 2012 spirit of volunteering?
How can campaigners support one another better, and both charity and
individual campaigners work alongside each other?
How can charities convert individual online activists into committed
Is there a tension between local and national campaigning and how can
charities deal with this?
Business interests and charitable aims – how can linking with corporates
help to meet your charitable mission?
So what does this all mean?
Some food for thought.
If you have 2 minutes - We’d love to hear your ideas in relation to
these big debates – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have 10 minutes – Please read our discussion papers and
blog posts on each topic, and respond to the questions.
Discussion paper and guest blogs from Lord Seb Coe, & Kirsty Palmer
– former Chief Executive of Volunteer Centre Kensington and Chelsea
Discussion paper and guest blog from
Discussion paper and guest blog from PDSA Volunteer Manager
Community Life Survey http://communitylife.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/explore-the-
Community Action in England
NCVO Participation: trends, facts and figures http://www.ncvo-
Cambridgeshire County Council
Guardian - What do statistics tell us about changes to levels of volunteering?
Pathways through participation
NCVO Campaigning Effectiveness http://www.ncvo-