Working with charities: Much more than just writing a cheque
PUBLISHED: 12:21 27 April 2017
Donating to good causes isn’t as simple as rattling a collection tin. The smart money is now on a two-way relationship between businesses and charities – and there’s a great example right here
As the sun goes down on a charity-run allotment with young people busy preparing it for the spring growing season, would you be able to tell if they were homeless or had jobs at a high-flying fashion brand beloved of the Beckhams?
This polar opposite experience is something which is at the heart of the work of County Community Projects, which helps to transform young people’s lives by preventing homelessness, strengthening families and promoting independence. The Cheltenham-based charity believes everyone has the power to change their lives for the better, but some may need help along the way.
CCP has allotments at Hayden Road, in Cheltenham, which were recently tended to by staff from international clothing company SuperDry. It’s just one of the ways in which businesses can get involved with charity work which means so much more to both sides than writing a cheque.
Chris Knight, Business Relationship Manager at CCP, says: “We’re just starting to develop a relationship with SuperDry.
“It’s a really great business but it didn’t do a lot for local charities. They are addressing that now and helping some of the charities local to them.
“They came down to our community allotment and spent the day there. That’s a really great way to engage people. A lot of the staff didn’t know about CCP or what we do, so I stood up to talk about the charity and spent the day chatting about what we do and the difference we make to local people.
“I’m very passionate about it, we support local people, and it’s important that’s the message that goes out - any money raised or donated will go into supporting local people.”
As well as volunteering on its allotments, other ways businesses can get involved include donating to its annual Hamper Scamper appeal which helps disadvantaged children, young people, families and vulnerable adults at Christmas time and taking part in charity events, such as the London Marathon.
But by trying to make the relationship more of a two-way street, CCP staff can also offer their services to businesses, helping out on their fundraising committees for example and its clients can also come in for work experience, offering their time for free whilst also gaining a valuable experience themselves.
“There are so many opportunities for our staff to get involved,” says Chris.
“We also link up with businesses so they can come in and teach us to be more like a business. It’s not always about the income and the money, it’s more about the relationship and what we can do for their business and what their business can do for us.”
Every year, Endsleigh challenges its staff to pick a charity project to develop throughout the year. CCP has benefited in the past, with its clients being taken on trips to Alton Towers and Longleat and others being helped to move.
Chris says: “We’ve got some really great relationships with businesses from international, multi-nationals to very local businesses.
“They support us in varying ways from donating funds or items to us or to our appeals. Others donate their time. No one business does one thing, what we find is we are able to engage businesses on many different levels.
“It’s about the relationship we develop with them, getting them on board and seeing the difference they can make.”
CCP has a particularly special relationship with Cheltenham-based Superior Decorating Gloucestershire which has adopted it as its Charity of the Year.
Owner Gavin Smith has taken part in the Three Peaks Challenge for CCP, the Cheltenham Half Marathon and Cheltenham Challenge.
In return, homeless young people have joined Superior Decorating for work experience and Superior Decorating is now in the selection process of taking on and securing an apprenticeship for a young person from CCP – a win win situation for everyone involved.
Gavin says: “I think anyone within a few wrong decisions could find themselves calling upon the great work and support CCP offer, and whilst only being a growing local company if I can do my part whether through direct donations, fundraising or giving a young person another chance through employment is something I feel very strongly about.
“All too often it is easy to have some success in life, whether business or personal, and to lose touch with reality and how others live and lead their lives.”
For more details about how your business can help, visit the County Community Projects website.