15 years of uniting professionals and charities

Passerelles & Compétences looks forward to more success in future, after helping connect volunteer groups and professionals for a decade and a half

Passerelles & Compétences is an organisation that puts professional people or those with particular talents in touch with associations needing specialist help with a specific project.

It was founded in 2002 by Patrick Bertrand, a headhunter who wanted to help charities for one-off missions. He felt a lot of professional people wanted to give help to others, but didn’t have the time to give a long-term commitment due to their own heavy workloads.

Since it was created, Passerelles & Compétences has taken part in 4,141 missions and has around 315 volunteers, “Passerelles,” who work to link up charities with the right person to help them. More than 6,000 volunteers have signed up, ready to take part in a mission - and in 2016 they helped 743 associations. There are 20 centres in major towns and cities around France, with four or five in Paris alone. The association wants to create a further 20 in the near future and more in the long term so that every department has a unit.

Spokesman  Emmanuel de Lutzel says it is a new idea in France but is proving popular with professional people who want to get involved in voluntary work: “80% of our volunteers have their own careers, but they are very happy to have the chance to do some voluntary work and our surveys show that they find it really satisfying to make a contribution. On the other hand, associations are receiving less and less public money and help and so it can be a big boost for them.”

Briton Kate de Montjoye became involved with the charity after she returned to Paris after a spell away in India: “I came to France in 1981 and worked on and off in communications and as an events organiser for Société Générale bank. When my husband was posted to India I went with him and got involved in charity work and discovered I was good at persuading people to give money for good causes. When we came back I wanted to put my talents towards something useful and so got involved with Passerelles & Compétences.

“My first mission was to organise a concert to raise money for the charity. This was a challenge as charity events are not so common in Paris. However we raised €10,000 and I made a lot of new friends and we enjoyed working together.”

She would encourage anyone who felt they had something to offer to get involved with Passerelles & Compétences. “I’m sure speaking English would be a great help as often associations would like assistance with translations. I think it is fantastic. It is a great way of doing something useful and meaningful. You meet new people out of your usual dinner circuit and it is a good way of meeting French people.”

If you are interested in offering your skills you can get in touch via ww.passerellesetcompetences.org

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