Don’t waste your New Year’s Resolution

It’s the time of your where we all become super focused on bettering ourselves – and that’s great! I don’t know about you, but my New Year’s Resolutions tend to last approximately 10 days and then the bleakness of January gets the better of me and I slip back into old habits to try and cheer myself up on the long road to spring. However, I think if I managed to find a balance between improving myself and making a difference I would find it a to easier to stick with it – it’s always harder to give up when you know other people will be affected as well.

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Here are some ideas for resolutions that will make a difference and keep you motivated:

1. Get fit while supporting the training and employment of people leaving prison

New social enterprise The Hard Yard run fitness classes designed and run by ex-offenders. The classes are all in urban spaces, require no equipment, and are really hard work – ideal for getting back on track after Christmas. Classes cost £15 each (or less with package deals), but you know your money isn’t just helping you lose weight – it’s helping to change the lives of ex-offenders by providing them with training and employment.

2. Do exercise while doing good

If you prefer to be a bit more hands on, then perhaps Good Gym is for you. You can take part in mission runs where you help older people in the community with one-off tasks, coach runs where you regularly run to visit an isolated older person, or group runs where you run together to help out with community projects. They’re all over the UK in 39 different locations, so have a look for a group near you.

3. Give your training focus by getting sponsorship for a cause you care about

Getting started with a new training routine is harder, and sticking to it is even harder. That’s why lots of people choose to sign up to an event – maybe a 10k, half marathon, or triathlon. But you can take it one step further by agreeing with a charity that you will gain a certain amount of sponsorship for taking part in the event – that way you have no chance of backing out! Most charities would be delighted to have the support, so do a bit of research about causes you care about, pick a charity, and get it all set up – all you’ll need is a JustGiving page.

4. Prepare yourself for your next promotion with some skilled volunteering

It can be hard to know how to show your employer you have the right skills to take a step up. Perhaps you’re going for your first management position and need to prove your leadership skills, or maybe you just want more responsibility in your area of expertise and need to find a way to show you can think about your role differently. Well, skilled volunteering might be the way to go. More and more employers are using skilled volunteering as a cost-effective but impactful alternative to traditional training programmes. Using your skills to mentor or coach young people is a great way to get used to managing people, and will give you great experience of handling difficult pastoral issues as well as guiding people in the right direction and empowering them to solve their problems. Using your expertise in your business area to provide pro bono support will allow you to use your professional skills in a totally different context, forcing you to think about the issues you face day to day in a different way. There are so many charities looking for this type of support. Do some research and reach out with suggestions to organisations that interest you. We’re also happy to help you find a great opportunity – just get in touch.

5. Drink more water while supporting a great cause

This one ends up on my to do list every January, but every year getting through those two litres gets quickly forgotten. Frank Water and Jerry Bottle both sell lovel refillable water bottles that will make you want to fill up and stay hydrated, and they both donate all profits to help provide clean water for those who need it.

6. Get some healthy snacks and support small-scale producers in rural Africa

Let’s be realistic, giving up snacking is almost impossible. But you can definitely make your snacks healthier – especially if you know that your money is helping to provide sustainable livelihoods for farmers in rural Africa. Check out Aduna and stock up!


I hope these ideas will help you take the first step on a path towards a better future for you and for society. Good luck!

If you have any other resolutions that haven’t been covered in this list, let us know and we can help point you in the right direction!

Doing good while having fun: can your Christmas party be ethical?

Christmas has somehow snuck up on us again this year, and I’m sure your plans for festive celebrations are already in full swing. However, it’s important to remember that ethical business extends beyond your team volunteering days and into every aspect of how you run your company. It’s possible to put some ethical considerations in place that won’t take away from the fun, but will still let your employees know that you’re serious about doing good – even when it comes to social events.

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Here are our suggestions for how to keep the true spirit of Christmas in your festivities:

1. Order your party supplies from an eco-friendly provider

A party usually ends with a whole mountain of plates, cups, and cutlery ready to be thrown away, which is a big thumbs-down for the environment. If you choose a supplier that has done all the hard work and sourced sustainable materials, you can relax knowing that you’ve minimised your environmental impact as much as possible while still providing everything your guests will need to enjoy themselves.

Why not try Little Cherry for pretty but sustainable options?

2. Choose a social enterprise to cater your event

Every year more and more social enterprises are popping up in every industry, and food is a big focus. When there are so many caterers out there who can provide delicious food at a reasonable price, why not go for one that will use their profits to help an important social or environmental cause?! It’s a no-brainer really.

There are some fabulous options all around the UK. Why not check out Good Mood Food in Manchester to support mental health services, MILK in Glasgow to help empower refugee women, or Unity Kitchen in London to help fund apprenticeships for people with disabilities?

3. Go for a veggie or vegan menu

Meat production is gradually becoming more and more linked with some major problems facing the world today – from global warming to world hunger. (Check out Cowspiracy and Food, Inc. if you still need convincing.) Cutting back our meat and dairy consumption is a great way to do a little bit of good for the planet. As an increasing number of people are looking for plant-based alternatives, the vegan food available to us is getting delicious! It’s no longer a case of being stuck with some chips while everyone else tucks into a delicious meal. You could consider choosing veggie options from a regular caterer, or even look into an all vegan option. It’ll still be delicious, and your environmental impact will be almost non-existent!

Why not try Vood Bar for some plant-based delights?

4. Change the world by getting drunk

Obviously, no Christmas party is complete with plenty of booze., but you can even turn alcohol into an opportunity to make a difference! There are a few social enterprises starting to appear in the wine industry, and it’s the perfect time to show your support so this trend can continue.

Why not try Vin2O who use all their profits to support clean water projects?

5. Pick a restaurant with a purpose

Similar to the catering options above, the social enterprise scene in the food and hospitality industries is going strong. There are plenty of ethical options out there, so have a look around and pick somewhere delicious and impactful.

Why not try The Clink for 5* food in London, Cardiff, Surrey, and Manchester that helps to reduce re-offending rates?

6. Look into charities with unusual spaces to hire

As government funding has begun to dry up, charities have got more and more creative with ways to keep themselves afloat. Plenty of organisations have great spaces that they use to support their beneficiaries and have been making extra money by hiring them out as event venues. Have a look into some options in your local area and help support a cause your employees care about as well as putting on a party that’s a bit different than usual.

Westminster Boating Base is a great example for river-side views in London.

These are just a few options to get you started – there are plenty of other ways to help society and the environment while keeping your employees happy with a great celebration. Do some research on options local to your business, brief the team responsible for planning the event on the importance of minimising waste and maximising social impact with every decision, and feel free to get in touch if you need any advice! Enjoy the festivities!

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For more information about social enteprises, check out Social Enterprise UK. If you are looking for solutions to make doing good more straightforward, please get in touch with us on 

Getting started with impact measurement

Impact measurement is a huge topic which can easily get quite overwhelming if you’re not careful. The bad news is that there’s no simple solution… But don’t worry, because the great news is that there are plenty of small ways to get started and still find some real value, and we’re here to help you take those first steps!


Objectives – what are you trying to achieve?

Start with the objectives for your projects. This is such a vital stage that is so often over-looked. How can you tell whether your work has been successful or not if you don’t know what you were trying to achieve?! We recommend coming up with at least two objectives for each project– one focused on the social or environmental impact you wish to have, and one focused on the business impact you are looking for.

Here are some examples of focus areas for your objectives to get you started:

Your business 

  • Brand awareness – more customers knowing about your business
  • HR benefits – improving your ability to hire, retain, motivate, and develop employees
  • Operations – your business running more efficiently, including waste reduction
  • Reputation or stakeholder relations – improving your reputation with your customer base and therefore standing out against competition
  • Supply chain – improving efficiency within your supply chain

Your employee volunteers

  • Behaviour – encouraging employees to change a behaviour, for example recycling more, volunteering in their own time, or becoming a brand ambassador for your company or for a charity partner
  • Personal impact – supporting personal change in an employee, for example feeling prouder of their company, improving their self-confidence, or becoming more motivated at work
  • Skills – developing employees’ skills.

The environment

  • Ecology or direct environmental impact – a direct improvement as a result of your work, for example planting trees, or cleaning up a beach
  • Human behaviour – on-going impacts because of your behaviour as a company, for example recycling, turning off lights, or printing double-sided

Charities, social enterprises, or community organisations

  • Capacity building – helping a charity to become more efficient and self-sustaining, through skilled volunteering or donations
  • Leverage – helping a charity by supporting them to gain more exposure, raise awareness of a cause, lobby, or access other support

Beneficiaries of your community partners

  • Behaviour or attitude change – changing the way beneficiaries of a charity behave, for example reducing anti-social behaviour, or working harder at school
  • Quality of life – improving the quality of life of beneficiaries of a charity, for example improving their confidence, improving their ability to integrate with their community, or improving their health
  • Skills and personal development – improving the skills and development of the beneficiaries of a charity, for example tutoring them to help them gain a qualification, helping them to improve their literacy levels, or mentoring them in preparation for a job interview


Inputs – how much are you investing?

Next, ensure you are accurately tracking your inputs so you know exactly what you’ve invested in your activities. If you don’t know these figures, then there’s no way to work out a Return on Investment (ROI). It’s also a nice way to get some headline stats to promote your work. Inputs can include donations of money, donations of items, employees that have volunteered, hours volunteered, the value of that time, money raised through fundraising activities, overheads of staff time or external software used, etc.

Outputs – what activities are you doing?

The next step is to record the activities you are doing to achieve your objectives. These are the things that you actually do during a project. This could include holding workshops, providing mentoring sessions, planting trees, incorporating social enterprises into your supply chain, running campaigns, donating money – anything that is measurable. There are likely to be multiple outputs for each objective. Try and come up with some target numbers and keep track of progress as you go along, so you have time to adjust your efforts before the end of the project if necessary.

I think it’s realistic for everyone to get at least this far – no matter what stage you’re at on your journey to doing good. Even if you stop here, that’s a great start and gives you some very useful information, as well as a great baseline to keep improving in the future.

Outcomes and impacts – did you achieve your objectives?

To take things to the next level, you need to start thinking about outcomes and impacts. These are the changes that happen as a result of the outputs of your projects, and help you ascertain if you achieved your stated objectives.

Outcomes occur immediately after the delivery and are seen as the direct changes that your activity (the outputs) have had.  Impacts are the wider and longer-term effects of a project that can go beyond the direct beneficiaries of your project. These are harder to track and measure. For example, if an outcome of your project was improved literacy skills of a group of students, this could lead to those students going on to get jobs that they wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise and, therefore, a reduction in the reliance of state benefits.

These can be measured and reported on throughout your project, based on evidence that you have gathered (e.g. from feedback, surveys, follow up work, etc.).  At the start of a project you can identify the indicators you will use to evaluate your outcomes and impacts, although you should always leave room to capture unexpected outcomes (sometimes these can be negative as well a positive).

It’s really useful to have some supporting evidence to back up these claims. A good place to start with this are surveys to gather feedback from employee volunteers, charity partners, and the beneficiaries of those charities that benefited from your projects.

Here are some ideas of things that might be useful to ask to help you prove your impact:

For employee volunteers

  • General professional skills – has volunteering helped them to improve their skills around team-working, communication, negotiating, or problem solving?
  • Management skills – has volunteering helped them to develop their skills around leadership, strategy and planning, or line management?
  • Personal development – has volunteering helped them to improve their self-confidence, sense of well-being, or empathy for other people?
  • Morale – has volunteering helped them to improve their job satisfaction, commitment to the company, or motivation?

For charity partners

  • Did they achieve their objectives for this project?
  • Did your employee volunteers contribute towards achieving those objectibes?
  • Did your employee volunteers help outside of those objectives as well?
  • Would they be keen to work with you again?

For beneficiaries

It’s best to work with your charity partners to work out what questions you would like to ask here, then they will be able to reach out on your behalf to ensure that you are compliant with data protection regulation. They also have existing relationship, so it will be much more likely that they will respond.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will help a few of you to take those first steps on the road to impact measurement. Even doing a small amount of this is important and will be really helpful for you, your company, and your charity partners. Don’t feel disheartened if you’re not ready to tackle the whole lot yet – there’s plenty of time and every little helps!


If you would like to hear about how thirdbridge’s impact reporting software can help to make this process much easier, please contact us on 

Should we be teaching our children about doing good?

The world we live in is a scary one. Society is starkly divided into two warring camps – are you May or Corbyn, Trump or Sanders? Left- and right-wing factions are becoming increasingly militant in the face of alarming and seemingly insuperable societal and environmental problems. Inequality and poverty are at an all-time high. Climate change is getting to the point of being irreversible. Corporations that are bigger than countries are taking over, often with little regard for this vulnerable planet of ours or the people living on it. In short, it’s not a pretty picture. And we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.

So what hope do we have left? The answer has got to be the next generation. We’ve got to look to the kids and try to lead them down a different path than the destructive ones we’ve taken.


In my opinion, the first step on this path is understanding and awareness. I know it’s a cliché but knowledge really is power. It’s very easy to go through life without engaging with important issues in a meaningful way. Most young people get their news from social media now, so glossing over issues that are uncomfortable or ostensibly uninteresting is par for the course. Add to this the increasingly stark divisions in society, and it’s feasible to imagine a world where people of different social classes never actually meet. Empathy comes naturally to humans, but only for people that we feel a connection with. True empathy is rare between groups who have barely had any contact, never mind any meaningful interactions.

I was lucky enough to be brought up in a privileged environment. I had the world’s most middle-class childhood with two supportive parents, enough money, food and clothes provided for me, and basically no worries. However, my parents are both fabulous and principled people. They both worked in education, teaching and working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and fighting constantly to give them the same lives they were able to provide for their daughter. This meant I was constantly aware that my delightful existence was by no means the norm. I worked hard at school but I also had no obstacles in my path – I didn’t have to have a part-time job, my parents could help me with my homework, I didn’t need to help look after siblings or care for a sick relative, I never had to worry about my parents not coming home in the evening, I was never trying to get by without eating or washing or sleeping in a comfortable bed. From a young age, I heard stories of children who had suffered atrocities that even adults would struggle to overcome, who had witnessed murder and torture, who had travelled across continents alone to escape persecution, who had to raise their siblings in the place of their drug addicted parents, who had to learn English in just two years to be able to pass their GCSEs. Overcoming those odds is no easy task, and while there are plenty of examples of incredible human beings who succeed despite everything, most don’t. I know I wouldn’t have if put in that position.


Just knowing about the existence of different sections of society is a start, but I believe that giving children the opportunity to play with and work with all of their peers is vital. Children don’t have prejudices, and with these experiences, they are far more likely to grow into empathetic adults who care about every type of person, and feel passionate about striving for equality.

As well as experiences, I think there is a place for education as well. Despite ending up working in the third sector, I never received any careers advice pointing me in that direction. Never once did I hear any acknowledgement of the fantastic roles available at charities, at social enterprises, or in CSR and sustainability departments at large companies. I would love to see these jobs celebrated as a valid and prestigious career path, rather than as a ‘nice thing to do’.

Including sustainability, climate change, responsible business, social enterprise, and innovation in the charity sector on standard school curricula would also be a hugely positive change. And I don’t just mean telling kids to save water by having a shower instead of a bath or to be nice to their friends. Children are capable of a much deeper level of understanding than that and we should be engaging with them on the real issues we face and working with them to come up with interesting and effective solutions that we can all get involved with.


Another solution is getting kids out volunteering from a young age. There are so many benefits: they will have an impressive set of extra-curricular activities to help them get into the schools and universities they aspire to, it’s a great activity to do together as a family, it’s a safe and productive way to teach your children about the issues present in our society, and it normalises actively trying to make a positive change in the world.

Being honest about the very serious problems we are all facing is essential. But rather than scare-mongering, we should be giving children the knowledge and confidence to feel like they can be agents for change in the world. Maybe then we will have some hope of getting our world back on track.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out this report


If you have any questions, or would like any support with finding volunteering opportunities, please get in touch:

Post by Rose Delfino, Community Development & Marketing Manager at thirdbridge.

Remaining impactful while volunteering outdoors with your team

I’m the first to admit that England is not a tropical paradise. However, the British people are famously resilient. The slightest glimpse of a ray of sunshine and we’re sprawled on the grass, Pimm’s in hand. For those of us lucky enough to work for a company that gives us time off to volunteer, it’s obviously very tempting to make the most of the weather by volunteering outdoors. There’s certainly no problem with that in theory, but it’s important to keep in mind that outdoorsy, group-style volunteering activities are really in demand with employers and employees alike. Often, they are resource- and time-intensive for the charity to organise, and, sometimes, they don’t really have a huge impact. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it though. Just make sure you keep a few things in mind when picking your opportunity:


1. It might come with a cost

Hosting a large group of volunteers takes a lot of time to organise and requires a lot of supervision on the day. Charity workers are extremely stretched as it is, and staff time obviously has a cost that needs to be considered. Furthermore, outdoorsy activities are often quite resource-heavy – gardening tools, equipment, paint, seeds, etc. This obviously also has a cost that needs to be covered. You can ask your company to help, pay it out of your own pocket, or raise the money with a bake sale or other fundraising activity.

2. Be upfront about whether you or your company might be able to support them with other things as well

If there isn’t a cost, it might be because the charity is hoping to engage you, your colleagues, or your company longer-term. Be honest about whether this is a possibility or not – it doesn’t have to be a guarantee! There are plenty of ways this could work. Is your company looking for a new partner? Might your colleagues want to do a sponsored run for them? Do they need skills that your company could provide pro bono? Would you be interested in volunteering with them in your free time? If not, be up front about it – they’ll probably still appreciate the one-off help.

3. Make sure they actually need this help

Check that the activity you’ll be doing is actually going to make a difference to the charity. Sometimes charities will allow volunteers to take part in ‘fun’ activities so they’re enthusiastic and more likely to encourage their colleagues or companies to work with them in the future. If you’re not sure that will happen, make sure the activity is actually going to be useful for the charity.

4. Use your skills

If you’re known for killing every houseplant you’ve ever had, then perhaps helping out at a community garden isn’t the best use of your time. Think about what you’re good at and try to find an activity that suits you – you’ll enjoy it more and it will have more of an impact.

5. Enjoy yourself but take it seriously

Volunteering outdoors in the summer with a group of colleagues is a really fun, but make sure you actually got the job done. Also, make the most of being there – take the time to talk to staff from the charity and find out about their work, get to know beneficiaries if they’re there as well, and engage with the issue they’re trying to solve.


There are plenty of great charities in genuine need of groups of volunteers for outdoors activities. Here are a few that we’ve come across recently:

The Wimbledon Guild

Groups of up to 10 people are welcome in The Wimbledon Guild‘s community garden in Wimbledon. There are plenty of tasks to get stuck into, including building raised beds, weeding, composting, and generally keeping the garden looking neat and pretty.

SweetTree Farming for All

Team-building days can be spent at SweetTree Farming for All‘s farm in Mill Hill. Tasks include building a shed together, clearing brambles from woodland areas, digging out a pond area, or planting new plants in growth beds.

Deen City Farm

Groups of up to 20 can head down to Wimbledon to help Deen City Farm and Stables continue with their activities. There are tasks all year round, including fencing, building, painting, gardening, woodwork, and mending.

Friends of Bradford’s Becks

In the springtime, your group would be able to help the Friends of Bradford’s Becks with keeping the waterways of the area clean and free from litter.

Sedbergh Youth and Community Centre

Sedbergh Youth and Community Centre are struggling with an overgrown, untidy outdoor cycle track and woodland walk. They need clearing so the centre can carry on with their summer activity schemes. Their outdoor activity equipment also needs painting and staining.

If you would like any help with finding suitable volunteering opportunities for your team, please get in touch on



Post by Rose Delfino, Community Development & Marketing Manager at thirdbridge

Social enterprise: changing the world and you don’t even know it

For something that could revolutionise the way we do business and how we interact with causes we care about, social enterprise doesn’t get a lot of recognition.

Social enterprises are businesses changing the world for the better. They operate as for-profit companies and make most of their money through trade, but the majority of their profits are invested into social and environmental good.

Cards on the table, I’m biased because thirdbridge is one, but I genuinely think that social enterprise is the future. If charities moved closer to this central ground, the alarming funding gaps they currently face could be alleviated. If companies did the same, the need for costly and often tokenistic CSR programmes disappears – the company is doing good by just going about its business.

What can you do to support the revolution?


Buy social

When you can, spend your money at businesses that are making a difference. As an individual, take the time to find out if there’s a social enterprise providing a service you already use, and switch if there is! Get your next pair of shoes from Toms, buy your chocolate from Divine, or pick up your morning coffee from Paper & Cup. At a company level, you can incorporate social enterprises into your supply chain – get your bottled water for meetings from Belu, get your stationery from Balance, use thirdbridge for your impact reports (hint, hint).

Not just charities

When looking for organisations to support, widen the net to social enterprises as well. They are often young organisations trying to juggle all the problems of a company and a charity at the same time. Skilled volunteering or in kind support from individuals or companies is so valuable. Giving an hour for a one-off advice session, or more regular help in your area of expertise could be life-changing. Just ask the wonderful Katy Cooney who is helping us with our marketing efforts at the moment.

Meet in the middle

You don’t have to actually become a social enterprise to take the principles on board. Think about what social enterprise stands for, and use that as a springboard to think about your own organisation, and how you might be able to make some small but effective changes.

If you’re a charity, think about some ways to make your organisation self-sustaining. Are there any products or services you could sell? Often charities have a vast bank of knowledge that they don’t think would be useful to anyone else, when in fact companies would pay for training in key areas – who else knows more about engaging hard to reach young people than a charity working with those beneficiaries for example?

If you work for a company, have a look at your CSR strategy and think about ways to improve it and make it a part of the fabric of your day-to-day operations. If you charge staff out by the hour, then commit to giving an hour of pro bono work for every five paid hours. If you deliver trainings, then make sure community groups are able to attend for free. The list is pretty much endless – if you’re stuck then get in touch, we would love to help inspire you.

Spread the word

Hardly anyone knows what social enterprise is. Some of my friends still think I work at a charity after almost a year! Let people know about the movement, recommend new brands you’ve discovered to them, and tell the stories of the world-changing work some of these organisations are doing. You never know, you might ignite a spark in someone that leads to a new social enterprise helping your community.

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Social enterprise is coming whether you like it or not, so get on board early and be a part of shaping the journey from the beginning.

For more inspiration check out:


Blog written by Rose Delfino, Community Development and Marketing Manager, thirdbridge



How to survive the apocalypse

2016 got a lot of bad press. Everyone was relieved to see the back of it. But now we’re in 2017 and the reality is setting in. Trump has taken the reigns. Brexit is taking shape. It’s a whole new world and we have to face it without Leonard Cohen and David Bowie.

The world is swinging further and further to the right. The political left in the UK is in disarray as a contentious leader struggles to take control. Meanwhile, UKIP select a leader straight from the Labour heartlands.

Social and environmental progress is truly in danger. Rex Tillerson’s prominent position in Trump’s regime threatens less focus on renewables. Closer to home, our beloved health service is suffering an alleged ‘humanitarian crisis’. Amber Rudd’s infamous speech about companies compiling lists of foreign workers is now being considered a ‘hate incident’ by police. Things are getting serious.

It would be easy to put our heads in the sand and just let it wash over us. But what would that achieve? Did Martin Luther King Jr. just accept the status quo? Did the suffragettes just moan over a G&T to their mates? The great opportunity of these troubling times is the hope that people will come together and rise up against it.


thirdbridge exists to tackle the social and environmental problems that our world faces. In my opinion, these political developments will only increase the need for a service like ours. Charities will have more demand, and companies will have even more of an onus to behave responsibly and address the growing need for their input.

So what can you do as an individual?

If you’ve thought about volunteering but have never got round to it, then now is the time. Pick a cause that you care about, find a charity doing impactful work to tackle it, and give them a call to see if they need help.  Volunteering is a great way to use your time and skills to make a positive difference, and it can improve your confidence and develop your skills too. Struggling to find a volunteer opportunity? Get in touch with us and we’ll help you.

Concerned about your environmental impact? Commit to making three days a week meat-free.

Are you a runner? Why not make your next race sponsored? Or check out the Good Gym to do good deeds on your next run.

Do you work for a company that already does good stuff? Get involved in their initiatives and promote them to your colleagues. Let your employer know about thirdbridge – we can help them get even better at doing good.

Not sure your company is as ethical as it could be? Put some pressure on them. Employees have a voice and you can use yours to shape your company’s social policies. Gather a group of like-minded colleagues and put your case forward. We can help – just reach out to us for support.

We may just be individuals, but together we can make a huge difference. Join us – let’s do this together.


Blog written by Rose Delfino, Community Development and Marketing Manager, thirdbridge