“Another 2020 blog, another nod to the changing world and the not normal ‘new normal’ we’re all currently experiencing.
“But, whilst this year has certainly been a hugely difficult one for all of us, it’s been well documented and discussed how it has also encouraged greater flexibility around ways of working, with responsive and innovative workforces and workspaces emerging.
“As Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, I’m proud that our teams have been working to continue caring for patients on the front line during the pandemic, whilst also providing invaluable support and resource to colleagues in the NHS.
“But as well as caring for thousands of people at an incredibly vulnerable time in their lives, we’re also operating as a complex multi–faceted business, with high street shops, a hospice lottery, and a fundraising requirement to raise £20,000 a day to keep our services running.
“We work from three sites, plus out in the local community offering a range of extremely complex services. Our work is regulated and guided by multiple different organisations and public bodies, and we – like lots of businesses – have been striving to continue to not only survive through this pandemic, but also to thrive and where possible turn challenges into opportunities. I’m proud to say we’ve worked with lots of local businesses to help us achieve this – and to help them to achieve their goals too.
“Business owners, or people employed in local businesses reading this, may instinctively think that supporting a charity at this time is not something that they have either the headspace or the resource to do.
“But, the traditional approach to CSR, where businesses simply try and raise as much money as possible for a charity, can be turned on its head with a more partnership-led approach which strategically helps both organisations to achieve their goals. And it’s not always about the money, though we’re obviously very grateful to anyone who is able to support us financially, especially at this difficult time.”
“At the moment, more than ever, most businesses don’t have the time to spend on initiatives which don’t impact their bottom line or improve the working lives of their employees.
“But, modern CSR in this strange time, has evolved and is more focused than ever on partnerships – working together to identify how initiatives can benefit both organisations, whilst doing good for great causes too.
“Business owners we work with have cited a range of ways their company has benefited from collaborating with St Ann’s. Opening up new customer bases and communities that haven’t previously engaged with them has been a key positive, with many also noting that feedback from those new audiences is that they appreciate the support the organisation has given to local patients.
“In a world where more and more of us are embracing remote working, with some teams only connecting over the internet, projects or activities which unite a work-force are also incredibly important. Working with a charity can unite those who are working apart in embracing a cause, it can help create a buzz of excitement, or – if there’s an event or activity planned – can also give team members a new and productive focus. It can also improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, as they feel they’re making a difference and having an impact on the lives of others – despite being remote and sometimes unsettled by the changing and uncertain world around them.”
“In normal times, we’ve seen managers also use the opportunity to work with St Ann’s as a way to develop members of their team, enabling them to gain experience of project management, third party liaison, or business development we’re keen to continue to make this possible, despite the restrictions we currently face.
“The most important factor when businesses and charities are working together is to set clear goals from the start, and agree what each party is hoping to achieve from the partnership. We always welcome open and honest conversations, and will relish the challenge of helping businesses to achieve their goals and improve both the wellbeing of staff and their bottom line.
“In 2021 we’re launching a new, flexible corporate challenge, which enables businesses to choose when and how they support the hospice, giving a tailored approach which can be easily adapted to meet each organisation’s unique goals.
“You can find out more here, or give our team a call on 0161 498 3631 if you’re interested in partnering with us in 2021.
“It’s already set to be an exciting year for us, as we celebrate our heritage as one of the oldest and largest hospices outside of London and our 50th anniversary. We’d love as many local businesses as possible to join us on the journey, to not only help our patients, but also help support companies and their staff too. After all 2020 has certainly been a year we’ve all had to pull together and support each other, and that will be just as important – if not more so – in 2021.”