After my recent blogs about a couple of the charities I work with, The Prince's Trust and Accounting for International Development, I wanted to take a moment to mention another charity who perhaps don't get as much media exposure, but provide real life-changing support for a number of individuals. The organisation is called PIP UK - or the Parent and Infant Partnership UK.
The mission statement of PIP is: "To promote an emotionally healthy society by focusing on the need for secure attachment in the critical period of conception to age two years, using intensive psychotherapy to help parents form a more secure bond with their babies to promote their lifelong wellbeing."
That might sound like a mouthful, but as an organisation they are giving practical help to mothers and fathers who, for any number of reasons, find the period between conception and their child reaching the age of two particularly challenging. Even admitting that you are struggling is a big step in itself, but PIP are there to provide the right psychological support to help parents in raising emotionally healthy and resilient children.
As a proud mother to my young daughter, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for those individuals who struggle to establish a bond with their baby, which is why I jumped at the chance to get involved with the charity as a Trustee.
When working with charities I think it is important for everyone to give whatever they think will enable them to make as great a contribution as possible to the cause. In my case, my years of experience and qualifications as an accountant mean I can give my time to work on the financial planning and management accounts of the organisation. While that might not be as exciting or eye-catching as doing a charity skydive or running a marathon, it is a fundamental part of running a successful organisation.
Charities today face real pressure to operate as efficiently and effectively as other commercial businesses, albeit on a not-for-profit basis. Everyone knows we are living in economically challenging times, and there are hundreds of charities out there who are all striving to help different causes, but these charities are also competing for a finite amount of funding and donations from supporters. My role as a Trustee for PIP is therefore to ensure they keep a commercial focus, and use the finances available to achieve maximum benefit for those parents who need help.
On the back of my accountancy work, I am extremely proud to have been shortlisted in the finance category for First Women Awards, which is sponsored by the Lloyds Banking Group. While much of my time is focused on my own company, Accounts Assist, I would urge others to also consider how they can use their skills to benefit charities working for causes close to their heart. Without the support of volunteers and Trustees, many charities would really struggle - and you might even find it easier than running a marathon!