I took part in this year’s 10mile Great South Run along with twenty-five thousand runners donning their charity vests, costumes and running kit, and managed to not only complete it but also raise over £300 for Pancreatic Cancer, in aid of a dear friend’s wife who died at the beginning of the year.
When I hobbled back into the office the next day, I was reminded that other members of the team had completed marathons this year, taken part in the summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge and also in industry-related activities to raise money for charity.
For the last couple of Christmas’, the Mash Media office has taken over the festive season at St Mark’s Family Centre in Mitcham that specialises in children and families’ services. As the biggest mismatched group of people, we somehow manage to pull together to put on a big Christmas spread for families and children, including a Christmas dinner, presents and games around the tree and also a Santa – the whole works. And it’s times like these that make us realise how worth it is doing something for someone else, without wanting to gain something back. And at last night’s #Mashquerade event at Gibson Hall, we raised awareness for the Honeypot Children’s Charity that looks after vulnerable children and young carers.
If you look around our industry as a whole, you’ll see that whether it’s reduced venue rates, added extras thrown in, or choosing a charity partner for the year, those involved in the events industry are certainly a charitable bunch.
My colleague Zoe Vernor was researching a feature on charity events recently and said she was amazed at the sheer number of charity initiatives that our industry is involved in. “Not a day goes by when I don’t receive an email about an organisation having raised funds for charity, and among the masses of spam emails these charity emails can really lift your mood; knowing that the industry is one that is actively reaching out (and on a regular basis) to help those in need.
“Having a charity partner is now the norm for associations and companies such as the HBAA, Compass Group UK & Ireland and a host of venues around the country – the SECC’s charity partner this year is the Beaston Cancer Charity, while the NEC has been raising money and awareness in aid of HelpHarryHelpOthers. These are just two of the many examples out there.
“Fundraising events across the industry have ranged from bake sales and quiz nights, to sponsored bike rides or runs, charity auctions and even sleeping rough in Zibrant’s car park (good effort CN editor Paul Colston). Fellow agency Grass Roots also supports the Willow Foundation championed by ex-Arsenal goalkeeper and broadcaster Bob Wilson.”
From the team at Southwater Event Group raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support, the Ricoh Arena on a 24-hour fundraising bike challenge, to the Business Design Centre staff taking part in a six-day bike ride from Newcastle to the north London venue, and Brand Events’ two CarFest events raising money for BBC’s Children in Need, it certainly feels like a good industry to be in.
There are also charity days throughout the year’s calendar that organisers, suppliers and venues come together to raise money, including annual charity golf day, In the Rough, cricket tournament Sticky Wicket, and ASP’s infamous bowling night. Earlier in September, the generosity of the exhibition industry helped push fundraising for the Events for Namuwongo project past the £500,000 mark.
“And, of course, in this era of social media, it is easier than ever before to bang the virtual gong for support for direct individual action, via such platforms as JustGiving. There are great tools for personalising the appeal and really targeting your message,” Zoe adds.
“Making a charitable difference is something I’m sure we have all been involved in in some form or another during our lives, but it is heartwarming to see a collaborative industry working to help those in need. Charity may begin at home, but the events industry has clearly taken the baton and winning the charitable race.”
What do you think fellow #eventprofs? Do you or your company have any fundraising stories to share?