Ambassador recommends: Louise Skinner from Octopus

Heart of the City | 17 May 2021 | News
Ambassador recommends: Louise Skinner from Octopus

Every month we like to share a recommendation from one of our ambassadors: something that inspires them in their responsible business work. This month we asked Louise Skinner, Head of Octopus Giving at Octopus. Louise leads Octopus’s charitable foundation, enabling philanthropy and volunteering at scale across all Octopus people. Octopus really believe in the power of giving back especially through volunteering work with charities in a number of different ways including their three-year charity partnerships.

Third Sector podcast

“Although I often read and listen to articles and podcasts about responsible business, what I’m recommending is actually a podcast produced by and recorded for the charity sector. I believe it’s so important to keep abreast of and find inspiration from the charity sector if we as businesses are to partner them in the most impactful way possible.

The role of charities in the Covid crisis and beyond

This podcast is about how charities have innovated during the Covid crisis both to aid the vaccine development, assist with its rollout but also support the increased needs of people as we emerge from the pandemic. They talk about how Cancer Research UK was able to respond and innovate quickly, providing key resources available to it to help with the scientific development of Covid therapeutics. This not only helped the crisis but also indirectly help lessen the impact on cancer diagnosis and prognosis that Covid has created.

Seeing charities innovate so quickly to an urgent need is so inspirational and one that I think we as businesses can help with when we partner with charities. Octopus gives unrestricted grants as part of our partnerships as we believe that charities being able to flex and innovate to respond to changing needs is so important.

The podcast also talks about the crucial role that volunteering has played during the pandemic and how there’s been a boom unlike anything seen since World War II. The vaccine rollout alone has shown the power of people giving their time en masse in creating real change and has been nothing short of inspirational. We’ve seen this too at Octopus in the past year with people giving double the hours of a non-pandemic year to good causes. So how can we capitalise on the huge amount of altruism emerging from the pandemic and harness this as a business to create real change with our next charity partners?

Skill sharing volunteering

We’ve seen a strong move to skill-sharing volunteering. Our last charity partners fed back that they’d like to see us working with future partners in a much more project-based way. So when we choose our next charities we’re keen to make sure we really get under the skin of the big challenges they’re facing as they emerge from this crisis. We want to make sure we’re well set up for our people to volunteer in a way that creates the biggest impact possible for them and the people they help.

Keeping abreast of the issues facing the charity sector but also the huge amount of inspiring work that charities do via this podcast is crucial for me in delivering the best impact possible for our partnerships. The inequality made worse by this pandemic will mean there’s an even bigger role for charities and I want us to be ready to help them in the best way possible.”

Learn more about Octopus Giving here

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