The benefits of making an effort for charity

News: Charity

June 07, 2013

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National charity events such as Children in Need and Red Nose Day raise millions of pounds and create huge awareness of charities at home and across the world. These televised jamborees work through a crazy mix of excitement, celebrity appeal and harnessing guilt. I’m sorry, but while I know they help, I’m not a fan.

Much more laudable, in my view, are the massive efforts made by estate and lettings agencies across the UK who, without the celeb-fest, without the TV coverage and often without any publicity at all, raise huge sums of money to support charities and facilities in their local community.

Large and small agencies collectively raise millions for hospices, hospitals, care providers, sports clubs, youth clubs…all manner of groups in need of funding and support. They do it by jumping out of planes, testing their stamina on cycle rides, swimming in freezing seas, fetes, dinners, barbecues and a host of novel activities.

Many of these initiatives begin with a personal experience; the loss of a family member or friend, a chance meeting, or a plea for help. They end, in some cases, after a single effort, but many continue, becoming a long-term partnership which, without fanfare, provides quiet, solid, trusted support.

Mutual benefit

This is all marvellous, but, without being mercenary, there is more to it than that. The element of charitable support that is sometimes seen as self-serving are the benefits that fundraising brings to a business.

I don’t see anything wrong with recognising that making an effort for charity can have a significantly positive effect on an agency. A charity initiative brings enthusiasm, competition, team spirit, fun, happiness and a real sense of achievement to an office, region or whole company. These positive vibes encourage further charitable activity, which must be a good thing for all concerned.

The Home Partnership told me that their organiser for a particular charity effort set up a spreadsheet of the sums raised each week by each staff member, driving the competitive spirit so they were all dreaming up curry nights, cycle rides, aeroplane jumps and more. The actual event really builds team spirit, far more so than a pint at the pub on a Friday night. It can reveal great, unknown strengths and skills in staff members, which can be translated into new responsibilities or roles within the business, it can, truly, show people in a different light.

Douglas & Gordon in London give up an entire day every year in early December to collect food and gifts to make hundreds of hampers for children who may, otherwise, receive nothing at Christmas. What a great way to kick off the Christmas spirit and demonstrate your caring attitude!

Another benefit that cannot be ignored is local awareness; local publicity, personal connection, word of mouth, can all be achieved without even setting out to do so, creating a very natural sense of belonging in the community, a warmth, a recognition as ‘that agency which helped save the hospice’ or ‘the one that provided kit for the local Under Sevens football team.’

This charitable involvement by agencies isn’t new, long before the mass hysteria that is Red Nose Day, busy property folk were taking time and energy to help others in their villages, towns and cities. It is an incredibly important effort on many levels – long may it continue!

What Sheila Manchester doesn’t know about the property industry, quite frankly, isn’t worth knowing. We are delighted that she continues to provide insightful articles for Moneypenny.