How we work
Every year, through a combination of grant-making, volunteering and fundraising, Zurich Community Trust (ZCT) is able to support over 600 deserving causes across the UK and overseas.
As a grant-making trust, the people supported by our community partners are always centre stage. They are at the very heart of what we do and shape all our activity.
We're proud to not shy away from the more ‘challenging’ social issues - providing grants for areas of work overlooked by other funders and funding critical core costs - so the type of organisations we work with is truly diverse.
From small charities and grassroots community groups through to the big ‘household names’ of the charity world, our aim remains the same - to listen to the concerns and funding priorities of those applying to us, and those we’ve chosen to work in partnership with, to give help where most needed. And, of course, where it will make the greatest positive and practical difference to the lives of those they support.
Our partnership approach, the focus on sustainability and the thought that goes into every grant are the defining characteristics of our work.
Find out more below about how we evaluate our work and the importance we place on both learning and sharing.
Christy Abraham, CEO, APD
ZCT compelled APD to push its boundaries and grow into an organisation that is sustainable and responsible, never once losing sight of its commitment to ensure justice and dignity for disadvantaged people with special needs
(Previous India programme 1994-2018)
More than money
To make a meaningful difference to the lives of others, you need more than money - you need people! We make our charitable giving go further by encouraging colleagues working for Zurich UK to donate both time and money through ‘Zurich Cares’, our community involvement programme,
Each year we engage over 35% of the Zurich UK workforce in sharing their time and business skills with the community. So our charity partnerships are powered, not just by pounds, but by people and the commitment and talent they bring.
We’re proud of the difference we make through our relationships with community partners, donors and supporters.
We hope you will be too when you download and read our latest impact report here on the right!
Making it count
How we measure the impact of our community investment and the power of networks.
Measuring our impact, to be accountable to our donors and partners, is key to being a responsible funder. So we take time to always demonstrate what we do and show how it works. Only by doing this can we hope to continuously improve. It’s the only way forward. Pam Webb, Head of Zurich Community Trust.
How do we know we're making a difference?
So how do we know we're making a difference through our grant-making and volunteering? Put simply, by asking the right questions and acting upon the answers. By being a critical friend and by establishing at the outset of every relationship just what we want to capture and measure in terms of outputs and impact.
There's no 'one size fits all' approach. For grants up to £1,000, we don't ask charities to submit an impact report. For grant beneficiaries above this level, including our national and local multi-year funding partners, we ask for proportionate impact data from a simple one off survey to an annual impact progress report. While for our longer-term Social Transformation programmes, funds are set aside at the outset to appoint external independent academic organisations to provide comprehensive qualitative and quantitative reports.
How we measure up
To help capture the key data we work with LBG, a network of over 180 companies with leading community investment programmes. LBG helps us to learn and share best practice so that our community investment is measured in the most meaningful and consistent way.
We’re often asked to share our experience to help shape and inform other programmes and I can honestly say that, when we do, the learning is always two way. Steve Grimmett, ZCT Head of Programmes and Communications
The power of networks
We firmly believe that by sharing best practice and through the effective use of networks, we can make the most positive, measurable and sustainable difference to communities across the UK and overseas. We’re proud to work in a collaborative spirit, both with our charity partners and external colleagues and professional bodies in the voluntary sector such as the following:
ACF (Association of Charitable Foundations)
ACF (Association of Charitable Foundations) is an umbrella body for foundations and grant-making charities in the UK. It provides guidance to around 350 members on policy and advocacy, research and information, and a wide-ranging programme of events and learning.
Involve Swindon, a local employee volunteer network, is run by the Swindon Volunteer Centre and Voluntary Action Swindon, with annual funding from local organisations including ZCT. It’s a great example of successful advocacy at grassroots level, and brings together representatives from local employers, the statutory sector and the voluntary sector to work collaboratively to encourage employees to give their time and develop their skills through volunteering in the local community.
Originally chaired by the late Tony Martin, ZCT, this role is now taken by Pam Webb, Head of ZCT, who says: “With the funding challenges voluntary organisations are facing in these difficult economic times, the need for the sharing of business skills has never been greater. Often the voluntary sector organisations don’t have the time to ask and the private sector isn’t sure how to offer help. Involve Swindon bridges that gap and performs a vital brokerage role between the private sector in Swindon and the local voluntary sector." For more details: Visit their website or email Pam Webb.
In 2014, Volunteering Gloucestershire started receiving an increasing number of requests from local businesses to find volunteering and charity projects for groups of employees. Inspired by the success of Involve Swindon, Volunteering Gloucestershire then launched Involve Gloucestershire. This is now growing into a network of companies, statutory bodies and voluntary organisations who work together to encourage employers and employees to give their time and develop their skills through volunteering in the local community.
The Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP)
The Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP) based in Farnborough, Hants, is a network of socially responsible businesses and organisations working together to make a lasting difference to the community.
Two of the programmes include:
- Youth Aspirations Fund, providing financial support and manpower to projects and organisations that raise
aspirations in their local young people
- Give & Get Days, an initiative to encourage local businesses to provide more Employee Volunteering days
Steve Grimmett, ZCT Head of Programmes and Communications, is Vice Chair and sits on the Steering Group. For more details: Visit their website or email Steve Grimmett.