There’s been a lot of emphasis on giving to charity in the last month, with Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day – a time where we focus on those struggling with tough situations and look at how we can play our own small part to help.  

Red Nose Day got me thinking about the various ways of giving and how we connect to and interact with Charities & Social Enterprises when we give.  RND is great fun and it certainly helps bring important issues to the nations attention. Each year we see a variety of methods of fundraising, from marathon runners dressed as darth vader, sponsored silences, people bathing in baked beans and an abundance of red hair dye…

Sponsoring someone to do a crazy activity is great and donating money to a worthy cause is important. But, in my experience, this kind of giving can feel quite disconnected and unmeaningful. Perhaps because I’ve felt obliged to sponsor someone, I’m sure that I’ve sponsored people in the past and not even known what charity it’s for…sorry…

When I’ve been more connected in my giving, I became invested and my contribution was more valuable. I did a stint a few years back in a soup kitchen, just a few hours a week, cooking, serving etc… as a team, we grew to understand the mission of the charity, became passionate for the cause, got to know the diners and some of their situations. Because of this deeper connection in our giving, not only were we more beneficial to the charity but we took away valuable lessons that remain with us today.

With changing attitudes towards CSR, an increasing amount of corporations are now seeking this more connected level of interaction with charities and Social Enterprises, a shift driven not just by consumers expectations but also by employees desires to do some good.

At Tinder-Box we’ve seen first hand the rewards when teams from corporate organisations have connected and interacted on a more meaningful level with charities and Social Enterprises. Our Enterprise programme in Carole Miller’s words “involves a charity or social enterprise working with a team from a corporate organisation to get down and dirty with a pressing business issue which the charity or social enterprise needs to solve.”.  This Lloyds Banking Group case study provides a great example of how genuine partnerships can create a powerful experience for both parties.

Are you ready?
This programme isn’t for the faint hearted, it requires guts and determination, but you really do get out what you put in. Already this year we are creating new programmes for clients like John Lewis, Waitrose and Random House. There's plenty to consider before signing up to this kind of project, which is why we’ve put this short guide together.

by Helen Blackman