The new responsible business group Reciprocate will be hosted by Oxfordshire Community Foundation, and aims to help the local business community become more strategic in their thinking about community engagement, realising their good intentions through the power of many.
Over the past few months, a group of local businesses has been in discussions with former High Sheriff Tony Stratton and OCF, reflecting on how we might build on the ethos behind Tony’s 2014 High Sheriff project and create a network of businesses in Oxfordshire that espouse responsibility. The evidence from our focus groups and the recently published Business Barometer suggests that many firms in Oxfordshire are keen to make a greater contribution to local communities, but simply don’t have the time.
The new business group, Reciprocate, aims to help companies realise their good intentions, but with minimum hassle and at manageable cost. Reciprocate already has a strong base of Founder Members, a Steering Group of local business leaders and the encouragement and support of a number of county organisations and institutions.
We see the main benefits being the opportunity to learn from others through shared experience; an up-to-date source of information and reference to assist CSR decision making; collaborative projects; pooled resources and ideas; and the ability to pass charitable requests to others – the ‘positive no’.
Business leader Tony Stratton, who has been collaborating with OCF to make Reciprocate happen, comments: “In my experience, the majority of charities are not at all sure how to approach the corporate sector and as a result, many of their appeals fall on deaf ears, simply because they are not aligned to the goals of the businesses they are targeting. We really believe that Reciprocate will make a material difference to our local community by helping members be more effective in their CSR and community engagement.”
Following a six-month trial period, membership will be £350 per annum, with a cap at 100 businesses for the first year. If your company is interested in becoming a member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. On receipt of your expression of interest, either Tony or Kate Parrinder from Oxfordshire Community Foundation will make contact to answer any questions and discuss membership.