When the Covid pandemic hit, it affected the world in an unprecedented way. For charities, the loss in income was felt swiftly and over a sustained period of time.
Amanda Gallagher, Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser at Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) recalls how the landscape changed almost overnight.
“Before the pandemic, we’d enjoyed working face-to-face with companies – large and small – from across the south west in a variety of ways. Our corporate charity partners were coming on to our hospice sites to take part in volunteering days, we were running successful in-person events sponsored by local businesses, and staff teams were enjoying the opportunity to assist our shops by volunteering on ad hoc days. In March 2020, it felt like almost instantly, the rug was pulled from under our feet and we could no longer do any of those things.”
This sea change, which affected all facets of the charity, prompted fundraisers to look at new ways of sustaining income and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with corporate partners. Amanda said: “We had to be innovative and think outside of the box. We asked, how can we continue to make and foster the businesses relationships we’ve made in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way?” And so, in 2021, the CHSW Business Club was born.
Despite the new economic climate, businesses remained committed to giving back to the communities they felt part of. Membership to the Business Club enabled them to continue to do this. Amongst the local south west business community, National Friendly Financial Solutions (NFFS) was one of the founding members of the Business Club and in 2020, it chose CHSW as its charity of the year.
Kurtis Reece, PR & Strategic Partnerships Executive at NFFS said: “We couldn’t believe the response! The Club paved the way for like-minded companies, who were also in a state of flux, to come together and share ideas and strategic thinking. CHSW offered them a platform to navigate their way through an unpresented situation, whilst also meeting their corporate social responsibility objectives.”
The Business Club is now inviting members to join in 2022. For a single payment of £300 (inclusive of VAT), companies will see value in the new relationships they are able to build, and the exposure provided by partnering with such a well-respected cause. As well as offering online networking opportunities, membership also includes access to exclusive in-person events.
The next in-person event will be held at The Harbour Hotel in Bristol on Wednesday 9 March, from 3-5pm.
“We have been delighted by the number of businesses who joined the Club in 2021 and have re-joined in 2022. I think this demonstrates the value provided by being a member. Due to high demand, we’ve increased the number of memberships available for 2022, which allows 300 businesses to join from across the south west. The sooner companies sign up the better as they will be able to take advantage of the many benefits on offer,” added Amanda.