If you are a business considering supporting Buddy Bag you might be thinking “what can we really do to help?”. Let me tell you what we have done at Four Oaks Financial Services to support Karen, Chris and all the fantastic volunteers who make Buddy Bag the amazing success it is and help so many children in emergency care.
Four Oaks Financial Services first decided to support The Buddy Bag Foundation in 2016. Myself and one of our Financial Advisers took part in The Long Walk Home, walking 40 miles in one day. Half of the money raised went to Buddy Bag and half to The British Heart Foundation. Little did I know then, that our support of Buddy Bag would flourish into a very close relationship that all of our team are passionate about.
One of the first things we did was to ask Karen Williams to give a presentation to our team of Financial Advisers and our in-house support staff. She was able to educate us all about the plight of children who find themselves in women’s refuges often without any of their belongings. We were all staggered at the number of children affected in this way in the UK each year.
We have held two Buddy Bag bag-packing sessions, called Brigades, exclusively for our team. This has become a fantastic team-building experience with everyone working together very hard to pack 180 Buddy Bags. Not only does this help our business, by enabling our team to get to know each other better and learn delegation and organisation skills, but we are doing something extremely worthwhile at the same time. Some of our team have followed this up by going along and lending a hand at Buddy Bag’s monthly bag-packing sessions, taking their own children to help too. The other thing to say about this, from a commercial point of view, is we feel that team-building activities are extremely important for personal and management development. Not only do the Buddy Bag Brigades not incur any direct cost to our business, apart from our staff’s time, but the buy-in is at 10 on the Richter Scale with the number of people taking part truly phenomenal. Far higher than I would expect would take part in a “normal” corporate team-building exercise.
But we don’t just do bag-packing. As a team we have run several projects over the past two years to collect the individual items to go into the Buddy Bags. We’ve been able to donate Toothbrushes, Onesies and Teddy Bears. This is much more difficult than you might think, because you are aiming to get 180 items suitable for boys and suitable for girls and for different age groups. But take it from me, our team absolutely love raising money to buy these things or source and donate them.
We’ve also invited Buddy Bag to speak at our annual Golf Day and raised money at this event in both 2017 and 2018. We’ve supported their Awards evening in 2018, with staff and suppliers attending and we took a table at the Buddy Bag Ball, and sponsored the photo back-drop. One more thing to mention is Christmas cards. Christmas 2018 we made a decision not to spend money on designing, buying and posting Christmas cards to our clients. Instead we decided to make a donation to Buddy Bag. We sent our clients an email letting them know why they were not receiving a card. We took the view that the money we were able to donate would last far longer than the 12 days of Christmas and make a meaningful and tangible difference to the children who find themselves in awful circumstances, especially over the festive period.
And finally, one last business benefit of supporting the wonderful Buddy Bag Foundation. Many businesses struggle to find content for their website news and social media posts, again because we do so much with Buddy Bag we regularly talk about them and share links to their website to spread-the-word and encourage more businesses to support them.
If you are a business-owner or manager within a business, I hope these ideas have inspired you to talk to your colleagues and make Buddy Bag Foundation a charity you can support. I know your contribution, whatever form it may take, will be gratefully received by Buddy Bag and you will be able to help them achieve their goal of 20,200 Buddy Bags packed by 2020.