How and why you should choose a Charity of the Year
A great way of showing your commitment to corporate social responsibility is to have a designated 'Charity of the Year'. This is when you pick just one charity to support for a specific length of time (12 months or more) and all your fundraising efforts are donated to this charity at the end.
If you don't have a designated charity of the year yet, now is the time to start exploring who could be a good fit for you...but what exactly should you be looking for?
I have been on the corporate side, listening to pitches from charities and picking one to support, and I have also been on the charity side, trying to show the benefits of choosing that organisation as Charity of the Year. From both sides, I think there are a few things that should always be considered...
Look for passion.
If the charity you choose to support is passionate, this really brings the cause to life with your staff and gets buy-in. Whether you ask for charities to submit an application form or you ask staff to nominate one close to their heart, always look past the big numbers and find the passion - this should shine through in the charities' communications with you.
Consider values and strategy.
All charities, while trying to make the world a better place, have different values and strategic objectives. By choosing a partnership that celebrates shared values you will find the relationship rewarding and fun throughout the year from both sides. Look at your strategies and seeing how you can support one another to achieve your goals.
Look beyond the money.
There is no doubt in my mind that it is vital that the charity you choose can demonstrate the impact your support will have. This usually shows itself immediately by how much your fundraising can make a difference financially. But it is also vital to look beyond the money and consider the longer-term benefits for both organisations. Team building, gaining knowledge and raising your profile are all fantastic benefits of a Charity of the Year partnership for you. For the charity, they can benefit from your expertise and your networks. It's win-win!
So, why bother? Well, apart from being a great way to bring your staff together and have fun, helping others is good for business. According to 'Better Business Journey' by UK Small Business Consortium, 88 percent of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society. Helping others actually helps you too.
Of course, you don't have to choose just one charity, or you could decide to take part in lots of different activities throughout the year for different causes, but personally I find a Charity of the Year relationship is really worthwhile. You often get to the visit the charity and learn about it's work first-hand and sometimes there is an opportunity to support a large national sportive, whether as a participant or volunteer, which is great fun.
However you choose to support good causes in 2020, I wish you the best luck!