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Peter McKinlay McKinlay Douglas Limited

Connecting with Communities: A Presentation to the New Zealand Federation of Vocational and Support Service Inc. Peter McKinlay McKinlay Douglas Limited. 22 June 2006. Introduction. My brief is to speak particularly about engagement with business.

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Peter McKinlay McKinlay Douglas Limited

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  1. Connecting with Communities: A Presentation to the New Zealand Federation of Vocational and Support Service Inc • Peter McKinlay • McKinlay Douglas Limited 22 June 2006

  2. Introduction • My brief is to speak particularly about engagement with business. • My contribution will take the form of a series of personal observations. • They come from some years of experience of different ways of engaging with the community and community organisations. • That experience includes local and international exposure to a wide range of different community structures including cooperatives, trusts, community banking, local government and the business sector.

  3. What is community? • Different understandings of community – geographic? ethnic? faith? Economic interest group? Gender or sexual preference? The list goes on. • Normally, whoever makes up the list, it leaves out the business community. Why?

  4. A Possible Answer? • Until the mid-1980s New Zealand was a highly protected and regulated economy. • Whether you were a farmer, a business person, a trade unionist, or a voluntary sector or community group, government had a box for you and kept you fed. • That has all changed. Is the answer to my question that the voluntary and community sector has not caught up with the change?

  5. Why engage with Business? • A crude answer could be because they might give us money. • A more intelligent answer will be based on at least two key considerations: • Business, and especially the people who work in business, are as much a part of the community as we are. • Business, and people who work in business, have a range of skills, resources and needs which, if we understand them, we can access to our mutual benefit.

  6. Business as Part of the Community • We are all familiar with the large corporates that dominate our economy as they do most others. • The Corporate Social Responsibility movement has made large corporates increasingly concerned about their relationship with communities in which they carry on business. Their support for the voluntary/community sector is increasingly important. • New Zealand, though, is very much a country of small and medium enterprises – locally owned firms employing fewer than 50 people. Their managers, their owners, and their employees are your neighbours, your friends and often volunteers within your organisations.

  7. The Needs of Business as Business • For large corporates this may often be a working relationship with a voluntary or community organisation which will enhance its standing in the community and provide long-term commercial benefits. IBM’s relationship with schools is an example. • For others, increasingly working with community organisations can be an important part of their own staff development programme. Consider the relationship between WEL Energy and the Huntly Energy Efficiency Trust.

  8. Talking to Business • It is the standard communication challenge. The person to whom you are talking understands their language not yours. • Do your homework, understand the organisation you are approaching, know the value which you believe you can offer. • Use networks. Personal relationships are much more effective than cold calling.

  9. The Tindall Project • A review of Business Social Investment Activity in New Zealand. • Included consideration of major corporates but focused on achievements of small and medium enterprise in New Zealand. • Two case studies – Perry Group and Foundation; Accolade Packaging and Avalon Inc.

  10. Perry • A successful privately owned firm. A long tradition of owner support for community activity. • Establishment of the Perry Foundation. • A strategic approach to the use of business skills and resources to promote major community development initiatives. • A precedent for other significant private groups?

  11. Avalon Inc • The dilemma of a former sheltered workshop operation faced with the need to give trainees standard conditions of employment. • Partnering with a private firm to establish a new venture. • Critical success factors – the preparedness of the private firm to “go the extra mile” in working with Avalon – and the readiness of Avalon to understand the importance of accepting commercial disciplines. • Avalon was “investment ready”. • A model for other similar organisations?

  12. Some future options • Consider the role of some of our major “philanthropic” trusts including community trusts and energy trusts. • What about options that bring together the community’s collective economic power such as community banking? • Whose task is it to pick up these challenges?

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