Give a Different Sort of Gift This Christmas
It’s not every present that can make a difference all year long. But corporate giving to Age Concern can. Here, Eric Wright Group and Barks & Recreation show that brilliant, life changing presents can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
However you choose to raise money for Age Concern, we’re hugely grateful. But at Christmas, it’s even easier to raise money for us, because you can piggyback a fantastic cause on something you were going to do anyway. Christmas sweater day? Why not make it in aid of Age Concern? Mince pie bake sale? Ditto. And if you’ve just realised you’re still short of Christmas cards, can we suggest this rather lovely range, each of which helps you spread Christmas cheer not just to the recipients, but to the elderly across Lancashire too?
Yet gifts come in all sorts of shapes, and for a growing number of local organisations of every size, supporting us is a bigger, year round commitment. We spoke to two very different businesses about how they support Age Concern, and why they do it.
Barks & Recreation
As just one of its support services, Barks & Recreation prevents isolation and deterioration of mental health among the elderly by offering the canine care and walking services that help keep more dogs with their owners.
For founder Stephen Brown, there was a natural synergy between the work of Barks & Recreation and Age Concern. “We were looking for a community partner really, just someone to promote. We wanted to support a local charity making a difference in our area and Age Concern felt a natural match for one of our services. That’s why we’ve decided to donate 5% of all our dog food sales to Age Concern.”
Eric Wright Group
Age Concern is already one of the charities supported by the Eric Wright Charitable Trust, which is the sole shareholder of the Eric Wright Group. However, the idea of a Corporate Christmas gift by the Group itself with a connection to Age Concern happened rather by accident.
“It was coming up to Christmas last year and we were arranging corporate gifts for our clients,” explains Suzanne Taylor, Eric Wright’s Marketing, PR and CSR Manager. “Last year we handed out a local gin to many of our corporate clients. But there are rules regarding the gifts we can offer some clients – for example, the public sector – yet we still wanted to give a gift.
“One of the team knew of a local brewer creating a beer especially for Age Concern (our WTF – What the Flock beer, crafted by the wonderful Beer Brothers). And because it’s linked to a charity, we could give it to public sector clients without contravening any rules.”
Beer is far from the only connection the business has with Age Concern. “Some of our divisions work with the elderly every day, providing facilities management to health centres around the North West,” explains Suzanne.
Why Age Concern?
For Eric Wright, Age Concern is one of many charities receiving substantial support every year as a part of a comprehensive CSR programme. For Barks & Recreation, we are the single chosen beneficiary. Yet for both, the question remains the same. When so many are worthy of support, why us?
“Age Concern is local,” says Stephen. “If you know you’re making a difference locally you’re more likely to see the difference it makes. And by supporting a local charity, you’re also helping to protect local skills and jobs.”
For Suzanne, local is also a powerful driver: “For all of the areas we support there’s someone in the business affected by it. Part of being a good employer is understanding the things that affect our people in their personal lives. And the challenges of old age affect us all in one way or another.”
“You never know what you’ll need when you’re older, do you?” Stephen adds. “We’ll all be old at one point. None of us want to be on our own and you’d appreciate help.”
Corporate giving and Age Concern
Each of the organisations who donate large or regular sums to us does so in a way that works for them. For Barks & Recreation, the amount we receive is directly linked to dog food sales. For the Eric Wright Group, their strategy is to support local organisations in ways that add to the work of the Eric Wright Charitable Trust in the region.
What matters is not how you give, or how much you give or even when you give (it’s a wonderful thing to receive a corporate gift at Christmas, but any time of year is equally wonderful). What matters is simply that you give, and we’ll do all we can to make sure the process is simple.
This Christmas, the woolly pully you wear, the cards you send and the corporate gift you make could make a massive difference in supporting the elderly in your area. However you choose to help, thank you, and have a very Merry Christmas.
PS Huge thanks to Eric Wright Group and Barks & Recreation for their ongoing support and participation in this case study.