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Sponge cake with strawberries

Giving something back - The mutual benefits of charity support

By Andy Quickende… | Fundraising Events News | 14 May 2019

I love cake. 

I’ve always loved cake.

Moreover – I love making cakes.  I qualified as a baker and confectioner about a thousand years ago, and although the last time I stepped into a professional bakery as anything other than a customer was nearly 30 years ago, the skills that I learned are still appreciated by family, friends and colleagues.

Working at Yeomans means that we get to see the work of many charities.  Every day we are part of the amazing work that is being done both at home and across the world.  In many cases we feel like we are part of your team, helping you to help those you aim to serve. 

Many members of the team also enjoy supporting charities at a local level too.  We often hear about colleagues who’ve spent their weekend running a 10k, leading a youth group, or helping at the school fair or church bazaar. 

Quite unsurprisingly for me, my involvement with a local charity started with cake…

…Last year, whilst at choir practice and discussing our next concert (and subsequent donations for the raffle) I agreed to make a cake.  This is not an unusual thing but during the ensuing conversation, one of my choir colleagues, suggested that I might like to contact a friend of hers who has set up a social kitchen in a city close to home. The premise of the kitchen is two-fold: 

  • to use food surplus where possible
  • to train and equip those with barriers to employment – people with learning or physical disabilities, the homeless and serving offenders for example. 

It piqued my interest.

I emailed the kitchen at Lily's Community, explained who I was (and my skills) and asked whether there was anything I had to offer that would be useful. 

Initially, I was asked to run a breadmaking course – a piece of cake for me (pun intended) – so I arranged to volunteer for a full shift first to get more knowledge about the organisation and to learn about the equipment and space available.

That was nearly a year ago.  I’ve met so many wonderful people, volunteers and customers alike.  My volunteer role has expanded to providing catering assistance for weddings, birthday parties, supper clubs, general restaurant service, training and guiding volunteers. 

I love it!  I can’t do every weekend due to other commitments, but I’m there as often as I can be and it’s great to be able to use and share the bakery skills I learned all those years ago.

All this from a conversation about cake.

I wonder if my story of charity involvement is similar to the stories of any of your supporters?

Do you know what motivated your supporters to get involved in the first place?

lightbulb moment

For me there were a few factors and they all played a part in encouraging me to find out more.  What are the "lightbulb moments" that encouraged your supporters to get involved:

  1. The charity is local – There were no geographical barriers to me getting involved
  2. A friend told me about it – A recommendation from a friend who already knows the charity immediately helped me build a level of trust in the organisation
  3. My skills fitted – It’s great to feel that I’m able to help in a way that is tangibly of use
  4. I was welcomed and encouraged – My level of involvement has built up over the year.  I didn’t just run in headfirst but was able to visit and build relationships with the team. In developing my involvement in this way I feel that my contribution is valued and I am seen as a person, not just a commodity who’s there to help increase the income.

One thing that has particularly struck me during the year is how charity involvement can be a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • I benefit because I’m doing something that I really enjoy and want to do!
  • The charity benefits because I’m sharing specific skills with them that are very relevant to what they do.

It feels like a win-win situation! How are your relationships with supporters mutually beneficial?

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