How volunteering can sharpen your professional skills

Image of charity team walking together

We recently caught up with Nick Magee and Innes Hall, who work at Lloyds Banking Group, on their experience as Charity Mentors.

Charity Mentors are Lloyds Banking Group staff who volunteer their time and expertise to help charities funded by the Foundation.

The mentors use their skills to help support the charity they work with, providing specific expertise in areas such as marketing, digital, HR, business planning, financial management as well as more general soft skills gained through their career with Lloyds Banking Group.

Nick and Innes have been mentoring Cathy Jerrard of South West Community Chaplaincy in Exeter for the last 18 months. Here’s what they had to say about why they became Charity Mentors, and how the experience has helped them build their own skills:

Innes’s story:
Innes and Cathy

'I became a mentor through my colleague who was already part of the scheme who encouraged me to get involved. Initially I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to offer as a mentor, but it’s been a really worthwhile experience.

‘It’s been great for me to come in and learn so much about how charities work and the issues they’re facing but also how my skills can help support Cathy in meeting some of those challenges.

'Often, I think you forget the skills you have or at least undervalue them.

‘Often, I think you forget the skills you have or at least undervalue them. It’s been great to be able to support Cathy in a range of areas and realise that those skills I have can be useful outside the context of my day job.

‘Cathy has so much experience and I’ve learnt a lot her from her too about how things work in charities and different ways of doing things. My experience working with Peninsula has made me stop and think a lot in my day job about what we’re doing and how.

‘The things we’ve talked about have really been guided by the relationship we have and Cathy’s needs and the needs of the charity. I’ve been able to help support her with issues around the board as well as pull other bank colleagues in to add more specialised support for their brand refresh project and accounting needs.’

Nick’s story:

Nick and Carthy

'It might sound cheesy but for me it was about helping people. It’s something different from my day to day job but what’s great about the scheme is that Lloyds support you to do it. Initially I overheard Innis talking about it and was keen to get involved. He invited me to take part in a call with Cathy and now I’m here. And it’s been great to have Lloyds’s support to do it. They really throw their support behind the mentoring scheme.

'It’s a relationship that works both ways. We’ve had conversation where we’ve gone through Cathy’s projects and weeks later I’ll be talking to someone else and something we discussed or a learning from that session comes to me and impacts on my own work.

‘For me, what’s great about the Charity Mentoring is the relationship. It’s not about us telling Cathy what to do, or even just me using my skills from my role with Lloyds to help her with the same issue, it’s often about just talking things through and helping to find best way of doing things and thinking about issues in a different way.

‘It’s a relationship that works both ways. We’ve had conversation where we’ve gone through Cathy’s projects and weeks later I’ll be talking to someone else and something we discussed or a learning from that session comes to me and impacts on my own work. It’s been really valuable in that sense too.

‘I think coming from the corporate world being a mentor and being involved in this great charity has made me a more well-rounded colleague in my day job and probably a more well-rounded person too. It’s given me another perspective on things and another string to my bow.’

Cathy says:
Cathy

'The brilliant thing about the Foundation is not only the financial support but the additional support they offer. The opportunity to have a mentor from the bank, someone with a whole different set of experiences was a really exciting one for us. The best support we’ve had are our mentors Innes and Nick.

‘They’ve helped me think through things about our strategy. They’ve involved other departments of the bank to help with certain areas – like Sophia, who is in the branding department, she’s been helping us to think about refreshing our branding and reviewing our website and upgrading our whole approach to communication.

‘Having a mentor, it’s about having someone to talk about things with. Knowing these guys have all this knowledge and experience that we can tap into. It’s been invaluable.’


If you have a grant with us and would like to find out about being matched with a Charity Mentor please contact your local Grant Manager.

If you are an employee of Lloyds Banking Group and would like to find out more about being a Charity Mentor, contact Kay Cameron, Volunteering Programmes Manager: kcameron@lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk or call 0370 411 1223.

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