Charity of the Year initiatives are popular with businesses wanting to back different causes regularly. The business typically chooses a different charity to support each year, offering staff volunteering time, sponsorship and fundraising support. But how do businesses know they are providing the help that charities really need? This guide looks at how your company can build a meaningful relationship with a charity that is also inspirational for your staff.
For a company, a Charity of the Year programme is a manageable way to support the community, providing a clear structure and direction for your charitable activity. Engaging staff in pitching and voting for which charity should be supported is a great teambuilding exercise, and it is simple to communicate the positive work you are doing to customers. Charities benefit from the extra financial and moral support, as well as your company’s time and local connections.
If businesses choose to support a charity for just a year, there is a great danger of introducing instability to them, especially if they are small. The charity may invest a lot of time building fruitful relationships with you, which are then abandoned; extra money allows a charity to fund new projects, but these cannot continue beyond pilot stage. What is more, companies tend to offer mass volunteering such as labouring or stewarding – but is the charity missing out on the significant business expertise your company could be sharing, such as strategy, marketing or finance?
Top tips to help you realise these benefits, and avoid the pitfalls
- Nurture champions: Ask staff to make a solid case for a charity to support, then make them the sponsor
- Be democratic: Getting staff to vote for the charity makes it meaningful, keeping staff engaged
- Partner with others: Challenge other companies you work with to collaborate with you on fundraising
- Facilitate involvement: Provide free volunteering days for staff to fundraise or do pro-bono work for the charity
- Piggyback on events: It’s more time and cost-effective to enter organised events than run your own
- Consider bandwidth: Choose a charity that has the means to accommodate you – especially for volunteering
- Offer real expertise: Volunteer the services you know about – often much more useful than menial work
- Follow the energy: If someone is passionate about an idea, help them make it work, however eccentric
- Pass the baton: Help your charity find their next business partner, or consider a longer relationship
Resource provided by Reciprocate