National property consultancy Bruton Knowles shares its corporate partnership top tips following the recent announcement of its charity collaboration with Cancer Research UK…
Businesses large and small have realised the value of charitable giving and team fundraising projects. They are increasingly supporting employees in their personal efforts, as well as local charities with which they have close links. Often these campaigns raise vital cash for organisations that provide essential services.
Find a charity and unite your teams
In the past, Bruton Knowles has followed a similar format, allowing individuals and offices to find their own causes and offer support, sponsorship and additional donations on an ‘as it happens’ basis. Last year we felt it was time for a review and discovered that over a 12-month period, individual employees had donated a significant amount of time and funds to many charities but without the full recognition they deserved from within the company and without inspiring more colleagues from across the business to sign up and take part.
Subsequently, we took the view that finding a charity, in our case Cancer Research UK, would unite the teams across each of our twelve offices and would bear greater fruit both for the business and for the charity. Our target is to raise £30,000 for our charity over the next two years.
Here are my top ten tips for establishing an inspiring regional corporate-charity partnership:
1. Spread the fundraising load across the company and across teams
Our biggest challenge was to ensure that an overall and inclusive charity campaign must be supported in all our offices across the UK, without exception. We knew that appointing a single charity coordinator for the whole company could not achieve that task we had set ourselves – at best it would be a full-time job and at worst it could be overwhelming.
Instead we put a call out for Charity Champion volunteers, one from each office, to head up the campaign, act as coordinators on the ground, channel all fundraising ideas, be an essential communications conduit, communicate with and inspire the colleagues that they see on a daily basis.
The response was amazing – our Charity Champions roles were filled within a month and getting them all together in one location to launch the campaign, share ideas, meet representatives from the charity and pick up a pack of promotional items was a very encouraging moment. An amazingly simple idea that has already produced a tangible sense of cohesion and one that could be replicated across businesses with separate departments and teams as well as those with colleagues separated by geography.
2. Communication brings its own rewards
Setting up great communication lines between Charity Champions, partners and team members has already proved to be fundraising gold at Bruton Knowles. Add to that regular contact with an individual at your chosen charity and the campaign can maintain its own momentum. Conversation is translated to support and action to inspiration. Again, a simple formula but it works so well.
To aid contact we also set up a WhatsApp Group just for the Charity Champions and their contact at Cancer Research UK for them to chat and share at their leisure.
3. Multiple giving pages can set the pace
Giving pages are the perfect way to collect funds and sponsorship. Bruton Knowles chose to set up an online giving page for each of its UK offices, to not only add an element of healthy competition, but to also allow clients, colleagues, friends and family to feel as if they were donating to a team they knew and recognised, rather than a more anonymous corporate page.
Setting up these digital donation platforms makes it easy and convenient to check how much money the company and each office has raised, providing a running total for everyone involved.
4. Strength in numbers
To kick off its programme with Cancer Research UK, Bruton Knowles held a meeting with its Charity Champions in order to brainstorm and share ideas, who are now putting these into action. Although fundraising may often take place at different locations, it can be useful to gather volunteers together regularly in this way.
Regular meetings are a great way to increase motivation within the business – one office may have already held an event that was particularly successful and wish to share it, inspiring other offices to do the same. This is a valuable opportunity to meet with the charity’s representative to update them and see if they have any fundraising tips themselves.
5. Getting the balance right
Bake sales, quizzes, sponsored runs – are all incredibly useful in involving a greater number of team members but sometimes it takes the big-ticket occasions to really unite a business. Christmas Jumper Days, Race for Life style events, essentially nationwide events organised by the main charity can be hugely inspiring.
The key is to celebrate participation rather than fundraising value. Invest time in applauding staff members that take part and that go on to inspire others.
James Bailey is Managing Partner at Bruton Knowles