How can your organisation support Westminster students, while promoting its social values? What is corporate support? Every organisation, regardless of its size, has the opportunity to make an impact on society, the environment and the economy. Having an effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme contributes positively to all stakeholders as well as adding value for the organisation itself. As Westminster’s Development Office, we’re here to help organisations deliver and achieve their CSR objectives through a number of different fundable programmes which benefit students at Westminster as well as the wider, local communities in which we operate. Why should companies be involved in CSR? Being socially responsible is not only the right thing to do, it can also distinguish a company from its competitors. According to Aflac’s research (2016), 83 per cent of investors claim they are likely to invest in companies known for their reputational CSR. Moreover, 54 per cent claim they place responsibility over profitability when making investment decisions, mainly because of the belief that not having good CSR puts companies at greater risk. In addition to increasing customer demands and expectations from the brands, employees also want to work for those companies demonstrating alignment to their personal ethical and moral values. Thus, companies can use CSR as a recruitment tool to attract the best talent to work for the company. Ashley Nixon, Head of Community Investment at The Howard de Walden Estate said: “The community investment approach of Howard de Walden is focused locally, seeking to maximise our social impact in Marylebone and the wider Westminster area. With this in mind, we are delighted to have had the opportunity to partner with the University of Westminster in recent years, providing both financial and mentoring support to a number of their students. We appreciate that this is a challenging time for those in higher education and are pleased to see that our programme of estranged student grants has helped some remarkable young people reach their full potential.” Ways to partner with the University Through supporting the University of Westminster, organisations can help enable students to reach their true potential in their chosen field through a number of initiatives, whilst helping to promote the organisation’s social values and brand. A growing number of organisations are choosing to support Westminster’s diverse student demographic, recognising our position as an institution which can truly help to create a level-playing field in today’s graduate market. The University of Westminster offers a wide range of opportunities for companies to work with. Sponsoring subject-specific scholarships, relevant to the company’s industry, can help students who face financial barriers succeed in their chosen field. Sponsoring prizes can recognise students’ academic excellence and incentivise them to achieve their best. Moreover, with access to our student pool, corporates can get the chance to recruit the best talent. Through corporate mentoring, companies can encourage their employees to mentor students and share their experiences. By participating in events such as Westminster Working Cultures, companies could host students at their offices and share their expertise in the sector as guest speakers. Laura Sanchez Hincapie, one of this year’s scholars said: “I applied for Howard de Walden’s Accommodation scholarship because I am an estranged student. I do not have any support from my family and being a full-time student has been challenging. When I heard that I got the scholarship, I couldn’t believe I was so blessed. I thought scholarships like those were not really granted to people like me. Now, because of the scholarship, I am going to be able to focus on my degree, get better grades and apply for the Scientist Training Programme.” How you can help Whether you’re a CEO and business owner or simply an employee of an organisation, you can play an important role. We rely on our alumni to act as door-openers to organisations to help broker conversations for support with key decision-makers in the company. If you think your organisation would be interested in supporting one of our programmes, please do reach out internally in your company to raise awareness about the opportunities at Westminster, and then contact [email protected] to organise an exploratory meeting with us to discuss things further. Recognising company support In return for your company investing in our students, we provide: Naming opportunities for organisations A press release shared across our social media platforms with over 90,000 active users High profile networking events throughout the year Opportunities to engage with our students from the relevant departments Membership of giving groups and invitarions to exclusive events Your company logo on our corporate giving page Get involved We would be delighted to discuss the ways in which your organisation might wish to support our students. For an initial exploratory conversation, please email: [email protected].