As a growing company, one of our values is being of service and giving back to the community. Although we had done some ad hoc fundraising in the past we wanted to do more work on engaging with charities in the community.
Charities aren’t funded by the Government and rely on the public to raise money for them so they can provide support to people going through horrific times in their life. Just to help in whatever way we can is amazing.
We put together a staff committee to run the charity awareness project and asked our corporate team to choose a charity for the year – 90% of them chose Macmillan.
After we made the announcement to our 69 hotels, the stories that came flooding in were incredibly moving. We didn’t realise how many of them Macmillan had already supported, both personally or indirectly by supporting a family member.
It helped drive home how much Macmillan do for people, not just those directly affected by cancer but for their wider network of family and friends as well. It quickly became apparent we had made the right choice.
After choosing Macmillan the first thing we did was contact the charity to say we wanted to partner with them for one year and raise money for them.
They gave us a target of £53,000 to aim towards – enough to fund a Macmillan nurse for a year. They told us what a Macmillan nurse does in terms of the support and care they provide and it seemed like a good target to aim towards.
Although initially it seemed like a daunting amount of money to raise, the Macmillan fundraising manager sat down with us and helped us plan for the year. They broke it down into quarters and highlighted events that Macmillan already hold including the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, challenge events such as marathons and so on.
Macmillan sent out fundraising packs to all our hotels and a pack about what to do if a member of staff is diagnosed with cancer. It explained the different ways in which Macmillan can provide support.
For World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, they sent out t-shirts, balloons and anything else we were looking for.
We were also able to go to the Macmillan website and download poster templates and other materials which were very professional.
We made sure that we continually communicated about the partnership to keep it to the forefront of everyone’s minds and we had a monthly meeting where we reviewed what fundraising activity was taking place in our hotels across the country.
Having a target to aim towards gave us the drive to continue our fundraising efforts throughout the year.
We had a league table to encourage competition between the hotels which really drove people to get involved. Staff held everything from bake-offs to step count challenges and we added everything to a JustGiving page as well as a charity page on our website. Staff could log on and see photos of everything that was going on, as well as the amount raised.
One member of staff trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest and walked the Great Wall of China. Another pair ran marathons like they were going out of fashion.
Individual hotels – City Hotel Derry and Drayton Manor Hotel in particular – raised fantastic amounts of money. Some hotels offered overnight stays and travel which brought in around £2,000 just from a Facebook post and an email out to people.
We also have thousands of guests coming through our hotels who donated money and bought cakes from members of staff. Even our suppliers got involved by donating things like mince pies at Christmas time.
We can reach so many different people and being able to utilise that to raise money for charity is something every company should be doing.
At the end of the year, we had exceeded our target, raising a total of £56,374.85. To be able to say we have raised that amount of money gives staff a great sense of achievement and is a boost to team morale. It is raising money for a charity that has already helped so many of them.
We should give ourselves a big pat on the back and a high five.
Donna Simpson, Project Co-ordinator and Executive Assistant at Interstate Europe Hotels and Resorts