Social value buddy scheme

Small charities, community and faith groups, as well as small businesses, were among those hardest hit as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They experienced challenges in managing cash flow, fulfilling existing funding requirements, accessing new funds, retaining staff, volunteers and even buildings.

We are asking larger organisations who can offer two or more hours of volunteering time, to come alongside smaller organisations to offer support. This could be simply to help them set up a social value marketplace account and post requests, or it could be a longer process of working together with the charity or business, for example, supporting them to develop their future business model and strategy.

Contents on this page

What do smaller organisations need?

  • Non-financial resources. There are however, multiple non-financial needs that would benefit the organisation and those they serve, for example, extra building space, voluntary staff capacity, social media support and shared back-office functions.
  • Time, and/or business advice. The challenge for many smaller organisations is that staff often don't have time to step away from service delivery to articulate these non-financial resource needs or to think about how they might adjust their business/funding model and organisational strategy.
  • Funding. Although this is not part of the social value or the buddy scheme, it's important to recognise what charities and small business' might be focused on. It's often hard for smaller organisations to look beyond the immediate need to fund staff, buildings and core operations.

How can larger organisations help?

  • Strategy support. Come alongside, get to know the other organisation's vision and work through something like a basic Business Model Canvas. As always, ability to execute is key – prepare realistic recommendations for what next steps they could take with the resources they currently have.
  • Specialist support. Building on the business model, you may have time and skills to offer additional support in fundraising, operations or marketing and comms, either in developing strategy or in practical delivery such as writing funding bids.
  • Access to non-financial resources. Bringing clarity to the vision and the strategy can also make it clear what resources will be needed, both financial and non-financial. You can help the charity articulate these needs, create an account on Social Value Marketplace, and post any non-financial needs such as donated office equipment, voluntary support, building space, with the aim that other organisations and businesses using marketplace will get in touch and respond to these requests.

First steps

  • Create an account on Social Value Marketplace.
  • Post one or more offers of support, with the title Buddy Scheme as above. For example, "Buddy Scheme - strategy support" or "Buddy Scheme - support in accessing resources".
  • When you post the offer on Social Value Marketplace, a charity/community/small business staff member will get in touch directly.
  • Alternatively, you can respond to the existing Buddy Scheme request posted by Surrey County Council. A staff member will contact you to try to connect you with a charity that would benefit from this.
  • If you need any other support, please contact

First meeting

  • For organisations that are used to providing consultancy services, you'll know where to start, but we recommend some caution – as grateful as the other organisation's staff may be for your voluntary time and expertise, they may also be anxious about time away from delivery/managing delivery of their services. Their time is precious too and many will be keen to know what the takeaways from the time will be.
  • Set expectations. Be clear about the time you have, the limits to the skills and resources you can invest, and what you believe the realistic goals are for your time together.
  • Ask and listen – not just to what the charity does, but why they care and what their vision is for the communities that they serve.
  • Consider talking about 'better outcomes' as well as 'needs'. When thinking about non-financial resources, rather than just asking "what do you need?", try asking "if you had more building space, voluntary hours, marketing expertise, partnerships with local businesses, and so on, what would you do differently or even better?".

For any further questions or support, please contact

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