Supporting Young Black Women Achieve Their Goals
The Catalyst Collective is a mentoring social enterprise committed to facilitating meaningful mentoring relationships between young Black women with professional Black women who they can identify with. During their year long mentorship, the young women are supported in achieving their goals.
Infrastructure for a Growing Organisation
Founder, Chloe Lewis, knew her organisation was growing and she approached Link UP seeking support from a skilled volunteer to help ensure Catalyst Collective had the right legal and policy infrastructure in place to scale up their organisation. This would help the organisation establish firm foundations for growth, expanding partnerships, and keeping the young people and volunteers they worked with safe.
Collaboration creates a more coherent tool
Having extensive experience in Human Resources and a deep understanding of organisational development, long-standing Link UP Volunteer Myrna was the perfect match for the Project.
Originally, Chloe requested assistance with a set of policies that would cover the Collective’s compliance as they set up as an officially constituted organisation. However, once she had been matched with Myrna, they identified together that most of these policies applied to the Collective’s relationship with the volunteers, and so a Volunteer Handbook would be a more coherent and user-friendly format to compile the necessary information.
Handing over a comprehensive handbook
Chloe and Myrna worked together for three months and by the end of that time Catalyst Collective had a comprehensive Volunteer Handbook in place, detailing a number of key policies and procedures. These included essential information, such as the expected time commitment, organisational support and how to make an internal complaint, and key policies relating to expenses, data protection, safeguarding and more.
Chloe says that the Volunteer Handbook has been invaluable and has added “legitimacy” and “professionalism” to her organisation. It has meant that volunteers can feel confident that they are working for a compliant organisation that values their professionalism and time appropriately.
“Professionals have every right to expect this, they have this book which shows them everything is above board… the handbook will pay dividends down the line.” she says.
Being able to help Catalyst Collective in their development has been hugely rewarding for Myrna, who commented, “Chloe made me feel so good about my contribution to her project”. In fact they worked so well together a future project may be on the cards!
A lasting legacy that saves time and improves mentee experience
Six months on, Chloe reflected that Myrna’s help came at a critical time in the Collective’s development: their volunteer numbers were growing significantly (from 6 to 55 in just 6 months!), and the support she received helped her to onboard these large numbers more efficiently, reducing volunteer training time from 3-4 hours to just 2.5. The convenience of having all this documentation in one place has also made forming external partnerships with e.g. funders or schools much easier, and Chloe strongly believes it has also improved the experience for the young mentees the Collective was set up to help.
Link UP London is a fantastic resource for CICs, charities and any Social Good Organisation. We’ve been able to benefit hugely from the expertise and support of an experienced HR professional, who helped us get our house in order at a really crucial stage of our organisational development. I’d recommend it in a heartbeat!