CoOp project inspires the NGO sector in Ireland to collaborate more with SMEs

On 26th June 2019 Youth Work Ireland invited other Youth NGOs as well as representatives from sectoral associations to a training and discussion session as part of the CoOp project. These included member of several youth NGOs as well as Volunteering Ireland and The Wheel, who represent the NGO sector in general in Ireland.

The day started with an introduction to the CoOp Project given by Anne L’Henoret, CoOp Project Manager for Ireland, followed by a short group brainstorming session on the ‘Motivations and Challenges’ that present themselves to both Youth NGOs and SMEs in relation to CSR, designed to get the participants thinking in terms of both mindsets. The workshop then moved straight into looking at possible ways to overcome said challenges, asking participants to be creative and think in terms of recommendations that could feed into our Policy Brief. We set up themed tables around four areas where improvements and innovation could take place: National Policy, Local level public policy, NGOs as a whole sector, and SMEs as a sector. The participants formed teams who moved from table to table, adding to the lists of suggestions.

After a quick coffee break and networking opportunity, YWI presented some of the Case Studies collected during the CoOp project, including videos. Inspired by those the participants started working on their own projects, developing plans for their own CSR activities, guided step by step in a by Anne, using very practical templates taken from the COOP Ready Tools guide.  These included:

  • Needs Assessment
  • In kind support vs funding
  • From needs to asks
  • Profiling and how to ask
  • The Fundraising Plan template

The group then discussed the next steps of the CSR/Fundraising process, and the pros and cons of targeting SMEs as opposed to Larger Corporates.

Finally, Anne presented the various outputs and free resources created as part of the CoOp project, provided the link to the CoOp website and offered hard copies to those who wanted them. The participants sat down to a nice lunch, swapped contact details and shared experiences.

The participants reported getting great value from the day. Many have stayed in contact with Anne in order to get further support and share their new CSR experiences.