Finding the feelgood factor in our working lives can be a bit of a mission. We know that socialising with colleagues can make a brilliant difference to employee morale, but how can we help people get those relaxed conversations started? And enable your Director of Finance to have a laugh with your HR Executive?
Enter the room, charity fundraising.
A staff team coming together to help a good cause is where the magic happens. I will skim over the ‘fun’ in ‘fundraising’ cliché… but togetherness is key. “The charity challenges and fundraising we’re creating at Posturite in aid of the Stroke Association are pulling people together across the business for a common cause” says Jamie Hall, Customer Experience Director. “I think they are enhancing the team and family spirit which Posturite is best known for.”
What is team building and why does it matter?
Team building is about encouraging communication and developing trust among staff members. It aims to improve the efficiency and performance of a group of people.
You want top productivity? Invest in team building. “Teamwork is crucial to any work environment” advises Workhuman. “You need to cultivate a sense of camaraderie between your employees to ensure they’re engaged, motivated, inspired, collaborative, and ultimately, productive.”
I’d argue that charity fundraising is perfect for creating camaraderie. If the thought of waving a pompom in a pub garden with your colleagues as your lycra-clad managing director flies past triumphantly on his bicycle fills you with horror, look away now.
Why are social activities at work extra important right now?
- The popularity of working from home can mean that building relationships between employees requires extra effort and planning now. We don’t want staff to feel isolated and lonely.
- The cost of living crisis could be causing our colleagues stress. So activities that get people talking and sharing experiences can be a great stress-buster.
- Larger organisations often have staff in multiple sites and the chances to socialise with multiple department members can become limited.
“Bringing people together is really important to HSO” says their Head of Marketing, Nicola Hannay. “Not only are our 400+ employees based across three offices, the nature of the business means we have project managers, consultants and sales people on customer sites most of the time, and with more home working, fundraising for the Stroke Association is one way we are able to bring people together. It enables people from different parts of the business to get to know one another better, and those from the same part of the business to get to know their colleagues in a different way.”
Does a corporate partnership with a charity really benefit a work team?
Yes, according to Posturite’s staff survey. The ergonomics experts entered into a two-year strategic partnership with the Stroke Association in January 2023 and have already raised over £19,600 and donated £2,000 worth of ergonomic equipment. 92% of staff responded in a survey that ‘supporting a charity together benefits us as a team’ after 6 months of the partnership. (The remaining 8% weren’t negative – they simply responded that they didn’t know if it was beneficial). Feedback included:
- “We all get something from giving whether it be just the serotonin boost of a positive action or the genuine pleasure of being able to help where it is needed. The real benefit for us has been team building with everyone supporting each other in their efforts.”
- “It really created a great buzz in the office and I enjoyed taking part in the office cycling.”
- “Colleagues are open about how the subject of stroke has affected them or someone they know, and the partnership brings everyone together for fundraising and important conversations.”
100% of survey responders said they felt proud of the corporate partnership with the charity and 47% of responders wanted to be more involved in the charity partnership activities in the next year, with 53% wanting to continue the same level of participation. 100% ‘felt good’ about supporting the Stroke Association.
Nicola Hannay from HSO also finds the value of charity work for team building in her business: “Building deeper relationships through these out-of-work experiences and getting to know colleagues on a more personal level creates a better understanding of each other and a stronger working relationship when we’re back at work.”
“Creativity soared for us!” says Tim Sant, Director of Operations at Ceroc: “Our team came up with a wave of fun ideas to support the Stroke Association, from sponsored danceathons (see below!) to daily superhero dress-ups and lively flash mobs. As our total funds continue to climb, there was a sense of pride, community and a little healthy competitiveness throughout our UK-wide network!”
Are there other good reasons for businesses to partner with charities?
- 91% of businesses said enhancing corporate reputation was the driving factor behind engaging with charities, in research by NPC. In this way, you will want to prove your CSR credentials.
- Your charity partnership could enhance perceptions of your business’ brand and increase goodwill from customers. “People don’t buy what you make; they buy what you stand for” said the Adidas head of global brands, Eric Liedtke.
- Candidates for your job roles may love the fact that you actively support charities too, so it’s a big win for recruitment - and retention. “Corporate partnerships with charities helps with employee engagement as this is a high driver for many when looking for new employers” says Rosalind Perrin, HR Manager.
- Your charitable activities could help you meet your employee wellbeing objectives. For example, is encouraging physical activity part of your wellbeing strategy? Introduce some sponsored runs, dances or cycles and get your people moving!
- And last but by no means least, is the fact that it’s the right thing to do to support a charity. Good causes desperately need income from as many sources as possible, and can’t operate on fresh air.
Businesses funding vital charity work
Saul Heselden, Head of Corporate Partnerships at the Stroke Association, said: “Stroke is one of the UK’s biggest health problems. Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK, and 1.3 million survivors are struggling to cope with the effects of stroke today. At the Stroke Association, we work in partnership with Posturite and other organisations, to help us put stroke on the map, while also supporting our corporate partners’ social purpose and business objectives.”
A relationship between a business and a charity could evolve in exciting and unexpected ways for both of you. Remarkable Partnerships highlight in their article a good example of an authentic partnership built over years that benefitted both parties equally, between NatWest and the Prince’s Trust. The partnership began with financial skills training being given by the bank to young people wanting to start their own business, and then over 17 years grew significantly to fund more than 86,000 young entrepreneurs to get into self-employment. This is fantastic.
I was impressed to read in Third Sector too about the long-term partnership between GSK and Save the Children. Save the Children helps children across the world get the medicine, good food and education they need. GSK employees fundraised a whopping £3.3 million in the first five years of their partnership with the charity and this was then matched by the company.
Who else is partnering with a charity? UK Fundraising is a good resource for corporate fundraising news and examples to inspire you.
Will my staff feel pressured to donate to the charity from their own pockets?
It’s important to respect that your staff members will have very different amounts of disposable income and differing abilities to support a charity, as much as they’d like to.
Make sure your requests for sponsorship are clearly optional and encourage alternative ways to contribute by volunteering and helping out, to avoid excluding those who can’t donate.
You can also involve your suppliers and other partners, so that a big chunk of your fundraising income can come from other businesses and not from cash-strapped individuals. Incentivise your partners with PR opportunities in return for their donations.
How can remote teams carry out corporate fundraising?
I’d urge you to hold some of your corporate fundraising activities in person face-to-face if you can, as that human interaction and fun is probably what you’re after.
But you can carry out the planning in online meetings – and as you can see from the photo below, these can be very relaxed and informal!
In addition to organising sponsored events such as cycles, walks and dragon boat races, you can get your remote workers inspired about your chosen charity by:
- Inviting a staff member from the charity to give online presentations to you all
- Encouraging staff to support the charity’s social media activities – so they see personal stories and celebrate the charity’s successes and empathise with their challenges
- Share inspirational videos about how the charity is changing lives
Whydonate has a useful list of virtual fundraising ideas too.
Positivity at work
I’ll leave you with thoughts from Recruitment Adviser Trish Riley:
“A charity partnership gives staff something positive to focus on; it encourages team participation and gives a warm feeling to help others. I’m proud to be part of a company that supports a worthy cause.”
Posturite is proud to be a partner to the Stroke Association and is supporting the charity by donating money, products and services, volunteering, fundraising and raising awareness of stroke. We are a sponsor of UK Stroke Forum 2023. Discover more about our charity partnership and why we chose the Stroke Association.