Give your time to charity, urges Mafia

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The Yorkshire Mafia social network is breathing new life into the Government’s Big Society agenda with a networking initiative that helps professionals donate their time to charities.

Next month’s Skill Will 2 is aimed at business people who want to offer their expertise to charities in need of support and advice.

It follows November’s launch event, which was attended by 70 volunteers and charitable organisations.

The organisers are looking for professionals from a wide range of backgrounds who can volunteer skills in areas like marketing, finance, HR, PR, design and IT to a sector which is suffering from a fall in donations.

Ed Ryder, a marketing man from Otley and one of the founders, said: “It is quite simple. Volunteers and charities negotiate how much time is needed and plan the development themselves. In many cases, volunteers also utilise other colleagues as the project develops.”

Geoff Shepherd, founder of Yorkshire Mafia, claims the first event generated more than £150,000 in volunteered time. The idea started as a discussion on Yorkshire Mafia’s online forum, he added.

Mr Shepherd said: “In this environment, people have charity fatigue. Times are tight. But most people want to give; it’s human nature. They can’t give money but they can give what they are good at.

“The professionals get professional development. We can take an auditor from an accountancy firm and give them back as a marketeer, a fundraiser and a business development manager.”

More than 130 people are registered for Skill Will 2 from 6-8pm on February 8 at The New Ellington Hotel in Leeds.

The organisers believe Skill Will has “massive potential” and plan to expand the initiative across the region and then rest of the UK.