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Extending our mission through employee volunteering

Extending our mission through employee volunteering

21 June 2019

Members of OUP’s Group Communications team based in Oxford recently spent an afternoon volunteering for local charity African Hospital Libraries (AHL).

Every year, OUP supports a number of charities across the world whose work aligns to our mission—excellence in research, scholarship, and education through publishing worldwide. We do this by donating funding and resources, such as books and learning materials, as well as giving our people the opportunity to make their mark and give back to the communities we work in through volunteering.

AHL’s mission is to make life-saving, up-to-date health information accessible for all clinicians. First established in 2014 by two GPs, AHL has set up clinical libraries in hospitals across Sierra Leone to provide relevant, life-saving health information to improve the quality of healthcare. The AHL team is small, with just five trustees based in the UK, and they don’t have anyone who is solely dedicated to managing their communications activities. Following discussions with the Group Communications team about where AHL most needed support, it became clear that the charity could benefit from understanding more about best-practice communications.

‘We wanted to do something that would make the most of our skills, while also supporting AHL’s long-term ambitions. AHL has an amazing story, and we wanted to help them tell it,’ said Christine Richardson, Group External Communications Manager. ‘Plus, it was an opportunity for us to spend time together, which can sometimes be a challenge for a team like ours.’

Following a short presentation from Claire Blacklock, one of AHL’s trustees, the team spent the afternoon providing guidance on:

  • Communicating effectively both within AHL, and with key partners and stakeholders
  • Reviewing AHL’s website and social media channels
  • Identifying a good story
  • Dealing with the media
  • Potential fundraising and event ideas

Both Claire and colleagues at AHL were delighted with the outcome, commenting: ‘We cannot thank the team enough! It was so helpful and inspiring to receive such thoughtful and creative advice and ideas. We have already put some of this into practice and look forward to reporting back to the team in the coming months on the impact of their volunteering.’

‘It was a real privilege to help such a worthwhile cause,’ added Christine. ‘All of us took something positive away from the experience, and we’ve definitely been bitten by the volunteering bug. I hope it’s the start of many more team volunteering days to come.’