Whether you’re running your own charity, contributing to a larger organisation or looking to use your van’s downtime for good causes, there are many ways to make good use of your van for charity.
Here are some examples of ways you can make what is one of your most valuable tangible assets work even harder for your favourite good cause.
1. Recycling furniture and household goods
The UK has plenty of examples of successful not-for-profit organisations that exist simply to help people benefit from recycled furniture and household goods. A van with a good capacity is an obvious essential, and a storage space for keeping items until they are required is a huge help. Such an enterprise addresses the issue that people who need recycled household items the most are usually the least likely to have the means to transport them. That’s where the van service comes in, making all the difference between a good idea, and real help with a tangible benefit. There are plenty of other good causes for which a van is essential to – literally – deliver the goods, whether they are tangible items, or intangibles like support and advice services delivered by van to where they’re needed. A Renault Master Van, with its load volume going up to 17m3 on 3.5T versions, is the perfect workhorse for the tangible goods example.
2. Using your business van to support the community
You don’t even need to [set up your own mobile charity business] to use your van for community support. Even while running a profitable business, you could offer your van for a peppercorn rental to sports clubs, kids groups, and other community enterprises. Hiring out your van when it’s not needed for your core business can make a difference, and this kind of support gives you valuable social and community links. If you accept volunteer drivers, as long as they have the right qualifications, the only extra expense you may incur will be for insurance – a small cost to you, and a big benefit to your chosen charity.
3. Practical help for homeless people
Along similar lines, the well-established homeless charities are always on the lookout for contributions to move people’s possessions and furnishings when they are able to be rehoused. A contribution of your van’s capacity for removals, plus the supportive approach of you or your driver, can turn a stressful time for someone experiencing difficulties into a more positive experience.
4. Volunteering transport for the trading arm of a charity
Some charities partially fund their work through the earnings of their trading activities. Oxfam shops are one of many examples. Others include the Camden Society in London, a café run by a charity established to provide training for people with learning difficulties. Small business owners who could contribute the services of their van, and their own driving service, during their quiet time can actively support the core services of charities like these with some real practical input.
5. Supporting a one-off fundraising drive
There are always local fundraising drives on issue-specific needs, whether it’s saving an avenue of trees from uprooting or creating a new sports centre in a run-down inner city area. If you’re willing to donate the use of your van, you can support issues that are close to your heart by ferrying fundraisers to and from their destination – as well as transport display boards and other materials in support of the charity. As they say, every little helps. Your goodwill plus the practical use of a handy van can make a huge difference to the success of a local initiative.
6. Supporting an urgent disaster appeal
Urgent appeals sometimes need practical action rather than funds. In many cases, it’s a matter of being able to load supplies and relief material into your van and take it directly to where it’s needed. The kind of situation wherein your transport services will be valuable is more likely to be local than international, since international charities tend to have their resource supply routes already established. However, when disaster strikes at local level, there is often a well-coordinated appeal for help. Your van could be a practical way of making an immediate difference.
7. Lending or donating your van advertising space
You could even support a local or national good cause without doing anything besides offering the valuable advertising space you carry around every day – the exterior of your business van. Affiliating your business in this way will provide valuable visibility to your chosen charity; it will also help to identify your business as one which cares about the community where it operates. This is an example of the classic win-win situation that can come from sponsoring charities whose purpose chimes with the identity of your commercial enterprise.
Putting wheels to good use: the Renault experience
Since 2001 the Renault Foundation has coordinated and funded high-level teaching programmes which deliver innovative training in the three areas of multicultural management, road safety, and sustainable mobility. This aims to provide recent graduates from all over the globe with the path to a successful career. The foundation has 42 university and academic partners worldwide, and has supported over 1,000 students of 35 different nationalities since its inception.
The Renault Group and its subsidiaries also run many sponsorships around the world, with 230 civic engagement activities funded worldwide in 2016. Just one example is a project in partnership with local organisations to promote mobility access to school for Moroccan schoolchildren. The aim is to reduce educational drop-out rates. Another is a project in Brazil to teach children road sense from an early age through the opportunity to take the wheel of a mini-Renault Clio in ‘The Road and Me’ programme. No organisation is too small or too big to offer its support in practical and innovative ways to the community – global or local – in which it does business.