Impetus Trust, the venture philanthropy pioneer that invests in charities and social enterprises working to help break the cycle of poverty, has today called on the UK public to volunteer their professional skills and expertise to charities. The appeal from Impetus comes at the start of Volunteers Week (1-7 June), an annual event celebrating the contribution that volunteers make across the UK.

Impetus is highlighting the need of charities for skill-based volunteering which involves individuals contributing the professional skills they use in their everyday jobs to a charity, for example by reviewing a charity’s financial systems, or helping with business planning.

The benefits of skill-based volunteering are increasingly being recognised by employers, as staff members can further develop their professional skills by applying them in a charitable setting. Impetus has seen a 53 per cent increase in the number of professionals interested in skill-based volunteering from 2009 to 2010.

Daniela Barone Soares, Chief Executive of Impetus Trust, said: “We urge professionals to think strategically about their volunteering. Just giving time is not good enough. There are over 13 million people living in poverty in the UK, and if we are to make real headway in reducing this number, everybody needs not only to give their time, but to give it effectively. Experienced professionals have specific skills they have built up over their working life, and we call on each and every person to find opportunities to contribute these skills, to help improve the lives of others.”

Impetus works with 14 charities and social enterprises, providing them with an integrated package of management support, specialist expertise from skilled volunteers, and strategic funding to build their capacity. Over three-to-five years, Impetus helps accelerate the growth of these charities so they can help many more people. Organisations Impetus supports have said that while they were initially attracted by the funding that Impetus offers, it was actually the management support and specialist expertise they received that made a greatest difference to them, and enabled them to grow at a much faster pace than they would have otherwise. Last year, Impetus-supported organisations helped over 230,000 people.