OCF’s corporate engagement initiative now boasts 30 members, including Allen Associates, Withy King, Unipart, Bicester Village and Finders Keepers – and now First Line IT. One of the group’s first projects will be to audit the existing community activities of its members as a benchmark for future achievements.
Reciprocate, a group of businesses committed to collaborating for the benefit of the local community, has recently expanded, and includes companies of all sizes based in Oxfordshire. The group will proactively share community engagement ideas, pool resources, work together on projects and drive responsible behaviour.
One of the most recent additions to this responsible business community is tech service provider First Line IT, who join a series of high-profile founder members. The company’s CEO Barrie Giles wanted to build on their existing charitable work with Pegasus Theatre, and felt that the ethos of Reciprocate was a great match for a small business wanting to achieve greater impact in a smart way. Barrie says: “We’re very practical people – you have to be when you’re providing IT advice and support. So we decided that we wanted to support Pegasus in a suitably practical way. Having found out from them what they needed most was help in increasing their revenues through ticket sales and donations, we introduced them to our own marketing partner, Zanzi Digital. We are sponsoring Zanzi to work with Pegasus to find and use new ways of connecting with and involving greater numbers of people and organisations with the theatre, through social media, SEO, and other digital techniques.”
Reciprocate will help First Line IT continue in this vein by linking Barrie up with like-minded directors of other local companies who have been working in a similar way with local charities for many years. For example, law firm Withy King and estate agent Finders Keepers will be sharing their experience of sponsoring a Charity of the Year – including how to avoid the pitfalls for the charity when the year comes to an end.
As part of the Reciprocate initiative, OCF is keen to showcase how much great work businesses are already doing in their community, but for which they might be under-acknowledged. One of the group’s first activities will be to carry out an audit of in-kind and charitable activities of all members, translating them into a monetary value that will then be used as a benchmark for the success of Reciprocate going forward. A new audit will be carried out after one year as a way of illustrating the impact the business group is having on the local community.
It is hoped that the new collaborations forming between Reciprocate members will lead to a much more strategic approach to charitable giving amongst the local business community – ultimately allowing it to make a greater contribution to Oxfordshire’s dynamic community sector.