From rhetoric to action: why Social Business Trust helps us to live our purpose to ‘maximise our client’s investments and accelerate positive change’


There is an increasing pressure on corporations to address our society’s greatest challenges. Social Business Trust (SBT) and Schroders are working to change this in a very practical way. Schroders cares about it’s purpose to create impact, and SBT is an extra avenue to make a difference.

Over 200 Schroders employees have volunteered their professional expertise since the SBT-Schroders partnership began. In addition to grant funding, Schroders staff have donated over 1,000 hours of professional support to SBT social enterprises.


Building a community to create lasting change

Our charity partner SBT works with a committed group of corporates and business professionals, who provide practical skills and expertise in support of SBT’s 18 social enterprises. The charity plays an important role in how we channel our volunteers’ skills to best help social enterprises make an impact in resolving inequalities in the UK.

“SBT matched me to Health & Independent Living Support (HILS), an inspiring charity in my local area where I will help to mentor their executive leadership team as they expand their critical services across the country.” Ben Forster, Global Portfolio Manager at Schroders


Being strategic in how to make impact

Businesses do not have to try to solve all the world’s problems. Rather, it’s important to focus on situations where there is an intersection between a social challenge and the business operation. For example, drawing on corporate expertise like Ben’s, not only helps HILS to grow, but also Ben’s development too.

This shows how volunteering with SBT – in areas of education, employment, health and wellbeing – is important for upskilling our people’s talent. It empowers colleagues across the organisation through their actions and brings organisations, like Schroders, closer together.


Avoiding ‘purpose washing’

“I’m just one of those people who likes to start a job and do it until it’s finished” says Michael, 28.

Michael completed the DFN Project SEARCH internship programme, helping him on his way into full-time employment at the Marriott Hotel. DFN Project SEARCH support young people with learning disabilities and autism into work. SBT and Schroders have been working with DFN since 2021. Since then, Schroders and SBT’s other corporate partners have volunteered over £250,000 of professional support to DFN Project SEARCH.

Through SBT, Schroders are providing practical organisational support to DFN, ensuring they become more resilient and are able to grow.

Indeed, there is a risk of businesses becoming involved in fashioning a civil society sector that advances its own interests and leads to ‘purpose washing.’ This is because there is sometimes a degree of scepticism within businesses that prevents them from engaging with social challenges.

Nevertheless, Schroders’ collaboration with DFN Project SEARCH, via SBT, shows how SBT acts as a ‘trusted broken’ between Schroders and social enterprises builds meaningful relationships. SBT can see how both sides can work together and create tangible action.


Moving beyond rhetoric to credible action

Maximising Schroders client’s investments and accelerating positive change is embedded into Schroders’ business. The benefits of sharing Schroders volunteers’ skills and the added meaning volunteers’ derive from their jobs, by working with SBT, helps Schroders to do this. It’s a real benefit to Schroders, because those individuals come back into the workplace with greater confidence and skills. These enhanced skills enable employees to support Schroders’ clients even more.

“Everyone who takes part in this benefits.” Charlotte Wood, Head of Innovation and Fintech


Since 2021, almost 200 Schroders employees have volunteered their professional expertise to support charities and social enterprises through SBT, with staff donating over 1,000 hours of professional support, alongside delivering £600,000 of in-kind and grant support, helping 21 social enterprises become more resilient and help more people.

Together, Schroders and SBT have created a skills-based volunteering programme that is available to Schroders’ UK employees. And as a key business partner, Schroders offers practical support on projects and activities for SBT’s carefully selected portfolio of social enterprises.



By Claudia Buffini, 4th June 2024

Claudia is the Corporate Sustainability Manager at Schroders, a partner of SBT

Follow Claudia on LinkedIn

Registered Charity: 1136151 and Company: 7242976 Copyright © 2024 Social Business Trust