The other day, a rather unassuming piece of paper tumbled through my letterbox. Intrigued, I opened it up to find a watercolour rainbow, with the unmistakable scrawl of a child underneath it, reading:
‘After the rain comes a rainbow.’
And I cried – real tears of real joy.
If there’s one thing being stuck inside all day has taught us, it’s how to truly appreciate the little things. And with this fresh appreciation of life and loved ones, a ‘giving’ culture has emerged, where people are reaching out with more random acts of kindness than ever before. In a time when people’s mental health is at stake, the positive impact of these small acts of giving cannot be overstated.
Now, with the UK charity sector set to lose over £4bn in this quarter alone, we need to pour all of those acts of kindness and this fresh spirit of giving into helping those most in need.
Each year, Hollis supports industry charities such as LandAid, UrbanPlan and the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors, as well as voting for a new charity to support and raise money for throughout the course of the year. Having raised over £8,000 for Acorns Children’s Hospice in FY19/20 through bake sales, band nights and bungee jumps, we’re now faced with an important question: in this unfamiliar world of social distancing, how can we raise money for our new Charity of the Year, British Heart Foundation, without our usual face-to-face fundraising events and activities?
Well, thankfully, we’re a business full of innovators who are always up for a new challenge; so we wanted to share some of the ways we’ve been keeping the fundraising ball rolling during COVID-19 and social distancing, in the hope of inspiring others to do the same.
Firstly, with collective gatherings largely off-limits for now, solo challenges (Captain Tom Moore style) have become a key fundraising channel. One of our colleagues has just embarked on a personal challenge to walk, run and cycle her way through 444 miles (the distance between our northernmost UK office, Edinburgh, and our southernmost, Exeter) by the end of June. And in this first week alone, she’s raised nearly 10% of our £8,000 target for the year!
As well as keeping us connected with our loved ones, video chat platforms have also offered up their fair share of opportunities to raise money. We’ve been hosting interactive games and entertainment over Zoom, with people making a donation in order to take part. So far, our virtual fundraising antics have included pub quizzes, bingo (surprisingly easy to set up using Excel – Google it), and even our own unique take on Taskmaster.
Logistically, video events can take quite a bit of planning, so we’ve been scattering in some photo-based competitions between these to keep things moving. The idea here is that people make a donation for each photo entry they submit. Having already held one to establish who’s got the best working from home set up, we’re now moving on to a colouring contest (one to keep the kids occupied for a minute or two!), followed by a bake-off bonanza – admittedly, this one won’t be quite as delicious as a good old in-office cake fest, but it’ll do for now.
Although we might be apart for the time being, we can all do our bit to raise money from a distance. It’s time to channel those little acts of kindness and our COVID-inspired giving energy into helping charities and those most in need.
Beth Garland, Member of Hollis’ Charity Committee