Sharing a common culture, giving meaning to work, coming together around a vision, discovering another world... It is now essential to write this new chapter in corporate history. These key messages are very often announced during seminars and conventions, to be heard and taken up by all.
In order to go further and make these concepts tangible, Mécélink, a corporate patronage consultancy firm, builds bridges between companies and the SSE (Social and Solidarity Economy) – two worlds that need an intermediary to create shared projects and long-term relationships.
We spoke with Sandrine Garnier, a consultant at Mécélink Rhône-Alpes.
What is Mécélink’s purpose?
We bring together companies and organisations working in the public interest, such as non-profit organisations. Very often, companies are driven by their values to become engaged and carry out projects, without knowing which doors to knock on or which approach to adopt. We meet these needs by facilitating relationships, linking up the right company with the right cause, and helping create projects.
What are the ‘Journées Solidaires d’Entreprise’ (Corporate Solidarity Days)?
They are practical actions that allow company employees to contribute to and support a non-profit organisation, for a day or half-day. These include team-building activities for seminars and company days for volunteering. These types of actions are deployed by various departments within companies, involving HR, communication departments, CSR teams and management teams. They generate deep respect and even pride among employees for their employers, in addition to the emotion of the moment, which is often intense. They also come away with a strong feeling of having been useful.
Can this be the starting point for a relationship?
For the company, it can be a meeting that is followed by a long-term partnership with the organisation, for example. Solidarity actions can also be repeated. For employees, it is often an opportunity to learn about a sector they are unfamiliar with. This can lead to a vocation for some, or at the least a desire to more as volunteers or future donors.
For non-profit organisations, it is a way to raise their profile and benefit from a range of skills all at once, which is of great assistance.
KEYS TO SUCCESS WHEN ORGANISING YOUR CORPORATE SOLIDARITY DAY:
1/ Take the time needed: identify your aims, and choose the right organisation, with a mission in line with the values to be put across;
2/ Commit to building a sincere relationship, with the organisation and employees, adopting a two-way, educational approach;
3/ Dare to be creative.
For example, Mécélink assisted the property development company Hammerson with the organisation of its Community Day France. A total of 110 employees provided assistance to six partners through very different actions, from sorting clothes to planting trees, renovation works, and voice recordings to help people with hearing impairments access works. There is something out there for all tastes and talents.