If you’ve already signed up to my 21 Steps to Communication Success you’ll know I’m a Listening Volunteer with Coventry & District Samaritans.
(If you haven’t signed up, you might find it useful. Click here to take a look.)
We’ve just received an incredible donation from the combination of Coventry & Warwickshire First and Barclays Bank. I’m on the board of the former and we made Coventry & District Samaritans the charity for our gala FirstPro Awards. Barclays generously agreed to match fund the sum raised, doubling the income from the night in one quick step.
At Samaritans’ we’re incredibly grateful for the support. It covers the cost of running the service for over six weeks.
But for commercial organisations there can be more to it that just handing over the money and feeling warm and cuddly. Such a donation is obviously good fodder for a local news story, inclusion in the staff newsletter, popping on the website and spreading on social media. But if you really want to make the donation pay there is plenty more you can do.
Take Samaritans. By definition we have to be good at listening and are given a lot of training on how to do it well. Why not tap into this. As you’ll know if you’ve signed up to my 21 Steps, listening is an incredibly important to good communication.
Charities like Samaritans are happy to share their expertise*; the more good listeners out there the better!
Think about a more structured partnership. Coventry & District Samaritans has a shop. Working in collaboration, it could provide a tool for getting new, young employees to improve their commerciality.
Get the charity to set a commercial challenge for your young employees. It could be anything; re-structuring the service (improving efficiency in commercial parlance) or increasing donations (driving sales to you).
And, of course, each activity provides material for the media, social media, your newsletter, and internal noticeboards.
Think laterally about your charity donation and you’ll get a far bigger return on your investment.
* Calls to Samaritans are completely confidential. Information is not shared outside the organisation.