As it’s nearing Christmas people are getting into the charitable mood. In this opinion piece Mauli Ryan, senior producer at The White Agency, argues why more agencies need to get involved with not-for-profits.
A couple of months ago was the annual R U OK? Day and as one of The White Agency’s chosen charities it is actually a month long initiative for us. White undertook a range of activities to help support the charity’s mission of creating a world where we are all connected and protected from suicide by encouraging and equipping people to regularly ask “are you ok?” Our involvement in R U OK? along with all the charitable outreach happening right now in the lead-up to Christmas got me thinking…
I am known as ‘that girl’ around the office. The one who is always asking for donations to this charity or that, or who is giving colleagues death stares when they throw a wad of paper in the bin rather than recycling. And that is because I am absolutely passionate about doing my bit to make a positive difference in this world. I am so sick of hearing people say that one person cannot make a difference because that is utter crap! All it takes is a little bit of perseverance and selflessness… if you really care about something that is honestly all it takes.
I think given the industry we are in and the relationships we have, both with our internal networks and our external clients, we all have an opportunity to make a difference. What I don’t understand is why more of us aren’t doing it! What is the point of working for a large company without getting any type of personal gratification? Balance is the key to any job. What I love about White is that it actually gives me the freedom to have balance in my life, through health and wellness benefits, along with the ability to be part of something that helps the community through charity initiatives.
If it was up to me I’d throw my support behind every charity possible, but I understand this isn’t feasible from a business perspective given the potential drain on resources. But if all of the agencies in marketing land chose one particular charity, or even a couple, to throw their support behind can you imagine the difference our industry could make!?
The reason for me writing this piece was not to be seen as preaching, but rather to hopefully inspire other people and companies in our industry to implement their own charity initiatives by giving a few examples of the types of things we have been doing at White.
A number of dedicated people at White have come together to develop a specific charity strategy, and I think for any person or agency wanting to get more involved in philanthropic work this is an important starting point. Our strategy involved selecting four organisations/initiatives that we had connections with or felt extremely passionate about. These are The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, RSPCA, RUOK? And the Green Team (an internal environmental initiative). We then developed activities that were simple to executive and didn’t require too many resources to raise money for these charities. We have also provided our expertise in the field of digital marketing by developing strategic recommendations for some of our partner charities, and for me this is an area where more marketing agencies can make a difference to charities because all that’s required is the dedication of some time.
For those interested in championing the charity cause but not sure where to start, here are a few tips that have helped me along the way…
if you don’t ask your employers to get involved then things are not going to get done on their own. Show them how passionate you are about saving the planet, the children, the animals or whatever your particular interest may be… and then how can they say no?
2: Utilise your strengths…
Are you experts in digital? Are you a creative agency? How can you employ your expertise to help a charity? Donating towards a charity doesn’t always mean donating money. Use your resources to help create beautiful content for higher engagement. Help define a charity’s social eco-system to assist with reaching the right people through the correct channels. As an example, at White we helped The Children’s Hospital at Westmead with their social media strategy, essentially making sure that their content was being published on the correct channels, thereby increasing engagement and prospects of donations.
3: Implement a charity leave day…
Create a program where employees can support a charity of their choice by taking a day out to work with their nominated charity. For example, our production team had a team bonding afternoon recently where we did cooking lessons at Ozharvest. All the meals were donated to charities and the cost for attending the class was donated directly to Ozharvest to continue the amazing work that they do for thousands of Australians across the country.
4: Start with a single event…
As a trial choose an already established event that would interest employees to get involved with. Once you have proved that the event is not only beneficial for staff moral but also team spirit, your employer will likely be happy to make it an annual event.
When I talk to people about my job, I can honestly say one of the things I’m proudest about is our charitable associations and the work I am enabled to do to support them (alongside my day job). I wonder how many other people out there can say the same? And if you can’t, perhaps it’s about time you did something about it!
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