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Matchmaking venture connects professionals with good causes

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Alex Swallow

A matchmaking scheme which enables people to help hard-pressed charities by volunteering their professional skills is being piloted in Greater Manchester.

Resonate-Connect is a pioneering website which matches the specific skills of employees across the region with good causes for short-term, pro bono assignments.

These range from advising on marketing, finance, technology, human resources, legal matters and business development, to providing research, graphic or web design and copy writing services.

The assignments vary in length from a few hours to a few days, and may be undertaken remotely or in person.

The team behind Resonate-Connect says the initiative will benefit companies, because helping good causes makes their staff more fulfilled and more productive in their jobs.

The website, www.resonate-connect.org.uk,is now live and the venture will be officially launched at Manchester Cathedral next month.

It is expected to be rolled out nationwide in the coming months.

Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council, will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will take place from 6.30pm to 9.30pm on Wednesday, April 29. Up to 250 business people are expected to attend.

Social entrepreneur Alex Swallow has been recruited to head Resonate-Connect, which is based in Little Lever Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. It is an offshoot of Resonate, a not-for-profit recruitment agency.

Alex said: “We know there are charities that desperately need and deserve support. We also know that businesses want simple but effective ways to get involved in their local communities while developing the skills of their workforce.

“Resonate-Connect will bring them together. The response to the initiative has already been extremely positive and we aim to launch it in other cities following the pilot in Manchester.”

The website, which is free to use, allows volunteers to upload a short profile listing their skills and availability.

Charities and other groups upload their projects and the skills required. They then receive a list of volunteers who match their requirements, and the parties are put in touch to make the necessary arrangements.

Alex said: “Volunteers have the chance to support causes they care about by using their professional skills. We also believe that volunteering adds to a sense of self-worth, builds new skills and confidence, and boosts productivity.

“Employers who give their staff time off work to volunteer in this way will benefit from a happier, more motivated and engaged workforce.

“Volunteering all too often involves painting fences or similar activities, which doesn’t allow people to use their professional skills.

“With Resonate-Connect, we believe we have developed an ideal and effective solution.”

Companies are urged to register for the launch event via www.resonate-connect.org.uk/event

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