Get Involved

The Company offers a range of opportunities members can across education and philanthropy


Education

Engage with Education

This new flagship scheme allows members to volunteer for a broad range of activities with our schools. From one-off career sessions or offering advice to sixth-formers on university applications and early career progression through to long-term mentoring opportunities, the scheme supports schools by connecting members with opportunities sought by the school, and connecting students, through schools, with opportunities raised by members. Find out more here here.

Livery Schools Link

As part of the Company's ongoing commitment to educational support, Merchant Taylors' was among the first Livery Companies to sign up to this innovative volunteering platform run through the City and which connects Livery Company members with schools throughout the UK. More information can be found here.

A boardroom table is set up for a meeting with pens and papers on the table

School Governance

As part of the Company's commitment to education and philanthropy, there are opportunities to become a school governor.

If you would like to find out more about the Company's educational activities and how you can get involved in making a positive impact on the lives of young people, please get in touch here.

Philanthropy

Merchant Taylors' Company is committed to ensuring that the charities it works with are supported by the best means. As a result, the Company offers several schemes for its members to volunteer and help small charities do more great work.

The Charity Visits Scheme

Open to all members of the Merchant Taylors’ Company. Merchant Taylors' Foundation awards grants to various grass-roots charities and community-run charitable organisations. To ensure that funds are awarded where they are needed most, the Foundation must conduct due diligence visits to those charities applying for funding. Members are encouraged to help with these visits, accompanying a staff member or an experienced member of the Company to conduct a visit. The volunteer helps to form a report for the Charity Committee, who decide on the charity's funding request. This scheme forms the heart of Merchant Taylors' philanthropic activities and volunteers are always very welcome!

Due Diligence visits are carried out in order to The MT Charities Officer can do a certain amount of due diligence on the shortlisted applications based on online sources, eg the applicant charity’s most recent annual accounts filed at the Charities Commission. However, there is only so much information one can extract from those sources. It is therefore reasonably common that the MT Charities Committee will decide there are outstanding questions about the background which can only be resolved by visiting the charity and having a frank conversation with its senior management.

Company members volunteer for the Charity Visits Scheme, undertaking the visits themselves. This is a great way for people to get a first-hand insight into the tremendous impact which MTF's grant-funding has. In relatively straightforward cases the member or Apprentice would be welcome to go on their own, but in most cases, two volunteers will be paired together to conduct the charity visit.

Charity Visits Scheme members are asked to commit to giving a minimum of 6 hours per year to conduct one Due Diligence Visit.

The 6 hours breaks down as follows.

2 hours to read a briefing pack which will prepare you for the visit. This comprises:

  • General guidance about how small charities work, Dos and Don’ts about how to behave when you are conducting the visit, what you can reasonably expect from the average small charity in terms of professionalism and financial awareness, common symptoms of a well-run or poorly-run charity, and links to helpful online guidance from the Charity Commission
  • A specific brief on the charity you are visiting, including what specific issues to raise with them and why the Charities Committee is interested in those particular issues.

4 hours to conduct the visit, including:

  • Travel time to and from the charity (which is likely to be in Inner London). We also offer the option of e-visits for those volunteers outside of London
  • Time at the charity
  • Writing a very short report of the answers to the specific points which you have been asked to investigate, using a template provided in your briefing. This report will be considered by the Charities Committee to help them make their decision.

Sometimes we become aware of charities that appear to be a good fit for MTF's grant funding, even though they have not applied to us. If we are keen to know more about them, we use Charity Visits Scheme volunteers to visit them and talk to staff, reporting back to the Charities Committee. Again, you would be provided with a full written brief.

We also use Charity Visits Scheme volunteers to visit charities to whom MTF gave a relatively large grant in the last 5 years, but which haven’t re-applied for funding. This profile raises the question whether the project they asked us to fund has flourished or withered, and why. We send volunteers to investigate for us and report back, as usual armed with a detailed brief.

This helps us identify charities which perform well over the longer term.

When there is a fresh round of visits to be conducted, we will contact everyone in the Charity Visits Scheme to ask about their availability, offering dates in which the charity is free to host the visit. (If you have already done a visit that year, you shouldn’t feel under any pressure to volunteer again in the same year although of course you would be very welcome if you would like to.)

Based on the responses, we will choose two volunteers to visit the charity.

Realistically, all visits have to take place during the working day because that is when the applicant charity’s staff and trustees will be available and the charity’s activities will be happening. However, your visit will be benefitting not one charity but two – MTF, and the charity which has applied for funding – so it should definitely qualify for any CSR policy your employer has on letting employees take a certain number of hours off to do charitable things. We can provide an official explanation to your employer from MTF's trustees on headed paper, to help you arrange time off.

However, if a Charity Visits Scheme member has an employer who simply won’t give them time off for CSR purposes, we would ask them to be prepared to use a half day’s annual leave to conduct the visit.

Understandably, many City employers are persuaded to do CSR work with charities with sophisticated fundraising capabilities, precisely because those charities already have the resources to put their case very well. If you become involved in the Merchant Taylors’ Foundation Charity Visits Scheme, you can take pride in helping smaller charities who do just as fantastic work on the City’s doorstep, but don’t have a big fundraising budget.

For further information on the Company's volunteer schemes and outreach opportunities, please contact our charities department.