552 Acres and Rising | Emma Tozer
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better.”
Corporate social responsibility is a big deal right now. Where governments are largely failing to deliver genuine sustainability, a few big corporates are leading the way. Many of the initiatives championed by the likes of Unilever are genuine game changers. But that doesn’t mean that smaller players don’t have a role to play.
CSR has been a cornerstone of our agency since we started almost eight years ago. In fact, we formed a charity partnership with international conservation charity, World Land Trust, pretty much before we raised our first invoice. Crazy? Maybe. But a strong charity partnership can reap huge rewards for any business.
The trouble is companies seem to have an increasingly Tinder-ised relationship with charities, swiping left when the novelty wears off. Many will appoint a different charity to fundraise for each year, and barely anyone actually notices who they’re Just Giving to anymore. It’s so easy to donate from a distance, but it’s questionable whether these transient relationships are giving the third sector the commitment it needs, and whether the sentiment behind them is genuine…
For us, this isn’t a casual fling. We feel part of the World Land Trust family. We’re emotionally involved. By investing time over the long-term, as well as money, in building the relationship with World Land Trust, our corporate support has much more value, not just to the charity, but to our business as well.
There isn’t anyone that’s been through the recruitment process with us over the past eight years that hasn’t had the World Land Trust speech, and the value of our charity connection in attracting exceptional talent to our business shouldn’t be underestimated.
As a result, our whole team is engaged with the cause. They’re genuinely passionate about pro-bono work to support the charity’s digital & social comms; while some have become personal donors, and one has even scaled the heights of Mont Blanc to fundraise. You’re never far from a picture of a WLT project in our office and we try to take as many staff to charity events as possible – despite the obvious scrum for tickets when WLT patron Sir David Attenborough is speaking!
Many clients too are genuinely interested that we make a donation for each project we work on in their name. And we’re not going to lie, as a smaller agency taking on the big boys, that extra tick on the procurement checklist definitely helps our cause.
You really don’t have to be a big corporate to make a big difference. We’ve helped to save the equivalent of more than 500 acres of critically threatened habitat through WLT – we never thought that possible when we first embarked on this journey. Reading to my young children, I can’t help feeling Dr Seuss’s The Lorax hit upon the right sentiment back in the 1950s; “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
World Land Trust’s latest appeal is to raise £750,000 to save land for the Mudahalli Elephant Corridor in southern India. During Big Match Fortnight, 5th-19th October 2016, all donations will be matched, meaning donations have double the impact. Find out more here http://www.worldlandtrust.org/projects/elephant-corridor-appeal