With the Shared Services Model three organisations share one employee.

You have to be a jack-of-all-trades to manage a grassroots community organisation. While the work can be exciting, managers often wind up doing unpaid extra hours on tasks that specialists would do in a big company.

You’ll see them tackling everything from DIY to bookkeeping, social media and financial administration, and it can impinge on their ability to focus on the core work.

Donegal Local Development Company (DLDC) is offering a solution to this problem for social enterprise organisations in their area. Since last year they can apply to join a Shared Services Model where three organisations share one employee. (One of the three must agree to be the employer of the person serving the organisations).

Social enterprises must have a minimum of 12.5 hours weekly work and the capacity to pay for their share of the employee’s hours.

As DLDC says, “It is often difficult to justify or cover the cost of employing experienced staff and therefore social enterprises inevitably must manage without this support. Through participation on the shared services initiative, social enterprise managers benefit from an additional support staff member in a specific role which would free up some of their time.

The first such service was launched last year. “It’s a fantastic idea,” said Johnny Loughrey, whose social enterprise No Barriers Gym expanded in recent years and was struggling to acquire the level of professional services needed to support its growth. Now it shares a bookkeeping employee with Bundoran Community Development Group and the Bluestack Centre Hostel in Drimarone. “It means we keep on top of our bookkeeping and finance,” Johnny explained.

In a time when it is a challenge to find tradespeople and professional support, is this one answer for community groups across the country?

Contact DLDC if you’d like to know more about their Shared Services Model.